By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Composed by Swinscoe and featuring the voices of Patrick Watson (whose hauntingly diaphanous whir smacks of Antony & the Johnsons), Lamb's Lou Rhodes, andmost notablysoul diva Fontella Bass (lady sang "Rescue Me"!), Ma Fleur is a gorgeous wash that never loses its way. While earlier efforts veered toward jazzier techniques like brushed drums and even the odd 5/4 tempo, these tracks are gauzier, with themes and instruments floating in and outhorns, woodwinds, strings, pianos, acoustic guitars, and that trustworthy stand-up bass.
"This is a place where I don't feel alone/This is a place where I feel at home," sighs Watson. "I've built a home for you." These lines bookend the record, most appropriatelySwinscoe's vision is truly otherworldly. The group has always aspired to write music for imaginary films, and Ma Fleur is the Orchestra's most cinematic achievement to date.
Cinematic Orchestra play Central Park Summerstage July 7, and Joe's Pub July 8, summerstage.org and joespub.com