The Cinematic Orchestra: In Motion #1

cinematic orchestra, in motion 1, ninja tuneThe Cinematic Orchestra: In Motion #1
Because there just isn’t enough time in the day, I’ve become a frequent multitasker. With most activities, multitasking comes easily and it lends added enjoyment when juxtaposing leisurely activities against drudgery. But I’ve always struggled in marrying two of my favorite activities into one seamless event: listening to music and reading. It almost never works and, without fail, either the music or the words fail to register in the mind. So as I continued on my far-too-long summer reading list, I tried to listen a bit more to this new Cinematic Orchestra album and it actually worked. The music complemented the novel fairly well and I actually achieved a pleasant multitasking balance. Although the album was triumphant in this instance, the anecdote helps underscore both the enjoyable aspects and the flaws of this album.
Cinematic Orchestra displays a variety of modern classical and jazz arrangements on this record, and much of it is very well-crafted. “Manhatta” is a gorgeous track, that basically sums up the album as a whole. Its lush strings and grand scope give it a grandiosity that is both undeniable and somewhat exhausting. Over its 11 minutes, the track inevitably drags a bit. Even if the music is passable standing alone, it thirsts for its cinematic counterpart to give it the fullness and drama that it deserves. Frankly that’s the case with the entire album: as a standalone album, it has trouble achieving depth or something beyond superficial beauty. “Necrology” leads the album and it is just about the only song that truly is able to stand on its own two feet. It’s a bubbly track, fit with a slowly building mix of drums. The rest of the album isn’t capable of following suit. “Regen” has a darker vibe to it, but it struggles to appear like anything more than background music. A background to what? Well, each song was made as a counterpart to a certain short film, with the songs acting as an orchestral accompaniment to each cinematic piece. “Entr’acte” is the album’s longest track at a sprawling 20 minutes. When paired with its cinematic counterpart, the song rises up from its general mundaneness due to the added context. Watching the film with the song, you get a whole range of feelings and mood that are absent when simply listening. The film is freakishly enthralling, as many silent black and white films are, and the music only enhances that mood.
Still, the various musicians who make up the Cinematic Orchestra on this record take their time. While the nature of this music may demand this slow place, it still almost appears as though they are daring you to genuinely enjoy these drawn-out pieces. When you take away the cinematic aspect and look at this album as a singular work of art, the music lacks the capacity for inspiration and wonder that it so needs in order to appear whole.
Rating: 5.5/10
MP3: The Cinematic Orchestra “Necrology”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl