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Genres musicaux : Ambient - New Age - Spiritual - Classic - World

The Cinematic Orchestra: "Les Ailes Pourpres".

During this week from the 13th to the 19th of June, at 12:00 AM and 12:00 PM (Madrid Time), you can listen to excerpts from the album of The Cinematic Orchestra " Les Ailes Pourpres" .

The Cinematic Orchestra
"Les Ailes Pourpres"



 Review from www.thesilentballet.com

The Cinematic Orchestra has been around for over a decade, slowly working its way into the mainstream, from early jazzy affairs on the Ninja Tune label to inclusion on Gray’s Anatomy. And now the ultimate crossover: a Disney soundtrack. Before you run screaming for the doors, wondering if your favorite post-rock band will be defecting to Pixar, I’ll tell you upfront – this album is surprisingly good.

The Cinematic Orchestra is no stranger to soundtracking, a side career inherent to their name. Their breakthrough composition (and some say their finest moment) was their re-written score for the 1929 Russian film The Man with a Movie Camera. This new film, produced by Disney Nature, is a French documentary about the lives of flamingoes on Northern Tanzania’s Lake Natron. While this may not seem like the best idea for a documentary, it follows in the footsteps of La Marche de l'empereur (re-dubbed and re-presented in English-speaking countries as March of the Penguins) and Winged Migration. The score, meanwhile, falls less into the realm of Bruno Coulais (Microcosmos, Winged Migration) than that of George Fenton (Planet Earth), thanks to orchestral augmentation. On Les Ailes Pourpres, founder Jason Swinscoe and bassist Phil France are assisted by the London Metropolitan Orchestra; this lends the project an elegant, sweeping tone, a non-saccharine accessibility. Only on one track, “Exodus,” does the sound veer embarrassingly into Enya territory, thanks to a string theme redolent of “Sail Away.”

A gentle guitar plays over the “Opening Titles”, while violins rise melodically in the background. A peaceful pianist begins to play, the strings soar, and we begin to think of meadows, flowers, sunsets and all manner of happy Disney things. “Arrival of the Birds” is a buffet of major keys, sprightly and upbeat; a synesthete might even call it “pink.” This positive vibe continues throughout the album, which unwinds at medium tempo – nothing slow and mournful, but nothing overly playful either.

The bass is showcased for the first time on “The Dance,” which begins with castanets and is the first track to actually sound like The Cinematic Orchestra, with a flavor more jazzy than classical. The xylophone and bongos offer welcome tonal contrast. The interlude’s discussion between birdsong and percussion sounds like a natural duet, even though we know it has been artificially produced. “Maribou” features bass clarinet and separates two lighter pieces. “Hyena” brings back the bongos, which lope forward, drooling, until they encounter a brassy blast. Let me guess: in the film, does a hyena eat a flamingo?

The closing track is called “Crimson Skies”, a nod to the movie’s English title, “On Crimson Wing". (Wouldn’t “pink” be a better translation?) This song features the return of Lou Rhodes, formerly of Lamb. Rhodes’ solo career has, for the most part, distanced her from the orchestral sounds that made her famous – solo guitar is nice, but it’s no “Gorecki”. Bright, soaring strings are a better contrast to her distinctive, smoky alto, and this track – basically “Opening Titles” with vocals – returns her to her former glory. This is the only track to overtly imitate another track; the other pieces reference each other without overplaying any of the film’s themes. This helps the album to work as a whole, because it keeps listeners from feeling that they are hearing one or two hummable passages stretched ad infinitum.

Last year, the film and score for Les Ailes Pourpres each won first prize at France’s Auxerre International Festival, but little has been heard of the project since. One can clearly see the Disney imprint on the back of the CD, but Disney’s website – even in France – is still promoting “Bolt.” This disk has made me eager to see the film, and I hope that it hasn’t been lost in the shuffle. In the meantime, we’ve got The Cinematic Orchestra to keep us excited.

Richard Allen

Posted on 2011-06-13 00:14:27.463