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The Cinematic Orchestra
MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA
BY ELIOT WILDER
Stars graphics

In 1999, Cinematic Orchestra leader Jason Swinscoe was commissioned by Portugalís Porto Film Festival to score Dziga Vertovís Man with a Movie Camera, a 1929 silent that documents the day in the life of your average Soviet Joe. Much of the music Swinscoe wrote for the one-time screening would influence his bandís second album, last yearís hypnotic and trancy Every Day, a recording that saw the group ditching much of the sampled electronica that was at the center of their debut, 1999ís Motion. Now that Man with a Movie Camera has been released in its entirety, itís evident that Swinscoe is a first-rate experimental composer capable of creating music that has force and depth and yet is also tastefully understated.

The album begins with the low-toned moan of "The Projectionist," which fuses techno grooves with jazz instrumentation and somber string arrangements. "Russian Record" blends a loping funk rhythm with breezy horns and a fuzztone piano; pizzicato strings, eerie oboe, and dense beats come together in "Postlude." The Cinematic Orchestra proves capable of handling a wide range of styles, from the í50s swing of "Voyage" to the more contemporary turntablism of "All Things to All Men." "Cinematic" has been perhaps overused to describe the postmodern instrumental hip-hop of artists DJ Shadow, Lemon Jelly, and Four Tet, but in this case, the word applies.


Issue Date: September 19 - 25, 2003
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