Cinematic Orchestra’s performance sounds timeless and futuristic
After a 12-year hiatus, several transcontinental moves and various literally cinematic projects, the founders of The Cinematic Orchestra (Jason Swinscoe & Dominic Smith) felt compelled to reconvene the moody British nu-jazz outfit for a recorded effort. The resulting album, To believe, was released on Ninja Tune in March and has been touring KCRW playlists since its release.
Despite this hiatus, The Cinematic Orchestra is no stranger to the station and its listeners. Their vibrations are classic KCRW sounds. Their is that elementary nightly playlists stuff alongside Groove Armada, Thievery Corporation, and Massive Attack. And when the Orchestra took to the stage at legendary producer Bob Clearmountain’s Apogee Studio in Santa Monica, that nighttime vibe came to life in a big way. Having only had a few live dates To believe on huge stages in Belgium, Amsterdam, France and the UK, the intimacy of the performance and the audience’s admiration was palpable.
Before a brief interview with DJ Garth Trinidad, the band took to the stage and embarked on an armed set for longtime fans with dazzling renditions of the first tracks “Man with a Movie Camera” and “Channel 1 Suite” . Some people were swaying and others were stepping in two, some cats were holding their ladies close … the spellbound audience members were definitely feeling the vibe.
Listening to the Cinematic Orchestra playing live, in this space, really crystallized what makes them so special. As rooted as they may be in the late ’90s trip-hop, which is rooted in John Barry of the late’ 60s, they sounded remarkably fresh and immediate. They sounded like now. The timeless power of the double bass.
After a solid opening series, Garth had a brief conversation with Jason and Dominic in which he tried to understand why they had taken such a long break, as well as understand the meaning behind. To believe. Their response, something about “being busy” with other things and not really feeling the “pressure” to make a new album might have sounded a little elusive, but my feeling was frankly that time did. was not essential for a group that at its base the traffics in “the timeless.”
After the interview, they brought out their longtime singer and collaborator Heidi Vogel and new hires LD Brown and Tawiah. The band embarked on a track from the new album, “Wait for Now” with Tawiah, which was honestly one of the most mind-blowing performances I’ve seen or heard in quite some time. She delivered a perfect voice, and speaking of the weather, you could feel him stop in the room. There was nothing other than this moment. It was mind blowing.
Knowing they had everyone called out, they performed “To Build a Home” with LD Brown on vocals and Heidi Vogel brought the A-game diving drop to her performances of “A Promise” and closed with a ” All That You “crowd-pleasing. Give it away, ”which sent everyone home with a mega Kool-Aid smile as if they stepped off a movie screen in real life and that was 1969. Or 1999. Or 2099.
The Cinematic Orchestra will return to Los Angles next fall (23/11), with a scheduled date of Walt Disney Concert Hall.