Orchestrating an Acoustic Riot

The Cinematic Orchestra creates complex, vibrant music. Although their most recent effort, Ma Fleur pales in comparison to their previous stuff, this does not stop it from being great music.

They miraculously combine an at times Lynchian obscurity with a film noir, polished savoire faire. They evoke both the words "camp" and "refined" simultaneously. These are confusing descriptions, I understand, but I insist that this confusion arises inevitably from their work, which is pluralistic and vast, at times ironic, at times erotic, at times chaotic, at times meditative. Imagine Humphrey Boghart in a Michel Gandry film. CO flirts with John Coltrane funky freneticism, Miles Davis calm, classical composure, and ties it all together with the smooth drum and bass sensibility of electronica and hip hop. And the beautifully rich vocals of Fontella Bass don't hurt.

As awesomely put together as their recordings are, the CO are also a true pleasure to see perform live, as they did Sunday night at the Phoenix, here in Toronto. It was definitely the best live show I have experienced in the last year, which is saying quite bit, given that that comparison includes TV on the Radio, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, and The Arcade Fire. For me, the most notable thing about their performance was their obvious sheer delight in each other's abilities; their enjoyment of one another's capacity to excel. They looked like they were having a great time, playing old tunes together that allowed each of the very talented musicians to jump in there and have a blast.

Also interesting is that although the project is obviously guided by the 'band leader', J. Swinscoe, there seems to be absolutely no resentment, which is not always the case. Just judging from their onstage interactions, it seems to be a wonderfully collaborative environment, mutually beneficial to all the members of the group.

Photo by El Dudero


Opinions Are True

It should be noted that this isn't about anyone in particular - its about the question of when opinions become fact. And of course all kinds of other things, like shoes, and goo.

She claims her opinions are true,
and I don't know what to do.

And my fresh bouquet is now askew;
I can't find my way out of this political zoo;
I'm looking for answers, but there are not a few,
and the baddies never seem to get their due!

And she claims her opinions are true?

And in the end its a Nike shoe;
we'll see how much honour a man can accrue;
if you're looking for the wealthy, they already flew,
and the seat that you offer's all covered in goo!

I completely forgot to close the flu,
and there's hundreds of banknotes,
and they all smell like poo.
The fat bearded doctor has a bagpipe tattoo,
and this lovely fresh bouquet is breaking in two!

And she claims her opinions,
mind you not a few -
are true!

And the sky has turned green,
I see trees of blue,
and my communist cousin has fled for Peru,
and Winnie and Piglet, and
Kanga and Roo,
All stare with amazement at this murky stew.

And the answers keep coming -
they are not a few;
the judge and the jury, paralyzed by the view,
have thrown out the old, to favour the new.

But in conclusion, although all this is true,
I can relax in my hammock without feeling too blue. . .

I mean,
at least my opinions are true!