In most cases, soundtracks are produced in conjunction with a movie, or after the movie has been mostly completed. They're made to complement the movie and allow the listener to re-connect with the movie after they've seen it. But imagine, if you will, a soundtrack being made before the movie. Ma Fleur, the latest album by The Cinematic Orchestra is such a production.
It's been five years since Jason Swinscoe (the heart of The Cinematic Orchestra) produced his last album, Everyday. Since then he's moved from London to Paris, where he started working on the songs that would become Ma Fleur. It's a sweeping piece that immerses you within in itself and carries you along until the end. It's the kind of album that you lose yourself in and when it does end, you wonder what you have been doing for the last hour. While known for their jazz tinted accents, The Cinematic Orchestra has moved beyond the genre into music that sounds like audio emotion and life compacted into an hour.
To assist the music convey that emotion, Swinscoe has brought in three unique woman: The remarkable Fontella Bass (the woman behind both the legendary soul number Rescue Me as well as some of the Art Ensemble of Chicago's finest moments, and who also worked on the group's last album) was an obvious choice to voice the parts of the elderly protagonist in Ma Fleur that Swinscoe envisioned, Mercury-nominated Lou Rhodes who is not only a fantastic singer but also a young mother, which made her the perfect fit for the mid-life singer, and the as-yet unheralded (in the US) Patrick Watson, a remarkable vocalist from Montreal, became the youngest of the trio.
As a final step in the creation of the album, Swinscoe recruited NY photographer Maya Hayuk to take ten pictures to represent the ten tracks of the album. The picture at the top of this post is the one from the second track on the album, Familiar Ground (available below), which features Fontella Bass. You can see all of them here, as well as add your own pictures that the songs connect to for you.
The Cinematic Orchestra - Familiar Ground : Ma Fleur
The Cinematic Orchestra - Prelude : Ma Fleur
The Cinematic Orchestra - Child Song : To Build A Home Single