Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Live at the Royal Albert Hall

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by The Cinematic Orchestra
     
 

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As a venue, the Royal Albert Hall in London is the stuff of legend. It is so elegant it inspires greatness in performers no matter the discipline, as well as rapt and supportive attentiveness in audiences. Some of its past performers have included Frank Sinatra, a double bill by the Beatles and See more details below

Overview

As a venue, the Royal Albert Hall in London is the stuff of legend. It is so elegant it inspires greatness in performers no matter the discipline, as well as rapt and supportive attentiveness in audiences. Some of its past performers have included Frank Sinatra, a double bill by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dylan, to name a few. It therefore goes without saying that the weight on Cinematic Orchestra mastermind Jason Swinscoe to pull off something grand for a recording and video document of this CO performance was considerable. In order to accomplish this feat, he swelled the ranks of his group to over 40 members, including the entire 24-piece Heritage Orchestra! Vocalists Heidi Vogel, Lou Rhodes, and Grey Reverend are all present to reprise their roles from various selections on studio recordings. Original Cinematic Orchestra turntablist PC returned to the fold for the evening as well. The sound is as lush, lively, and beautiful as one could possibly imagine. Vogel's performance on the set opener, "All That You Give" (it originally appeared on 2002's Every Day), is just gorgeous. After Swinscoe announces her with a beautiful string intro, her soulful croon comes on full: sultry, emotional, and smooth. The dynamics and textures Swinscoe assembles with the strings and horn sections are as lush as a Gil Evans arrangement but as tight as Manny Albam's. There are truly expansive and adventurous moments here, as on "Flite," introduced by a Rhodes piano with the rhythmic pulse set in play by rolling drum breaks and a skeletal but beautifully articulate upright bassline. Solo space is accorded sparingly while incorporating the entire orchestra -- the brass section (killer trombones), which becomes a bedrock for reining everyone in, is itself sassy and swaggering, holding the fort against edgy funky guitars and those dreamy piano chords. This gives way to the spidery beginnings of "Familiar Ground," which seem like minimal soundscapes for single instruments abstractly lilting and disappearing in the ether until nearly the three-minute mark when the piece comes into view with its body. When the choral vocals announce themselves so wordlessly and surreally, the effect is complete and it goes on for another five minutes or so before Vogel turns in a stellar performance. Soloists are allowed to let fly in places and let abstraction into the fold for a bit before Swinscoe calls everything back to a lush and disciplined order. In concert, the track "To Build a Home," sung by guitarist Reverend with backing from Vogel, was more conceptual than arresting -- seemingly owing much to Coldplay (God forbid) and the Moody Blues. Here it becomes a true Cinematic Orchestra offering, with a languid, sad, dramatic kind of tension without being overwrought. The appearance of the nearly 12-minute "Man with a Movie Camera" jam is wonderfully noir-ish and puts on display all that this group has to offer instrumentally. This ambitious composition and difficult arrangement, which walks a line between film music, late-era jazz improv, classical, and cabaret music, is still grounded -- even with the cracking extended drum breaks; distorted turntable scratches; soprano, tenor, and alto sax flights; and guitar noise. The closer features Rhodes bringing her unique plaintive voice to "Time and Space." Its melancholy is heartbreak personified but balanced by a glimmer of hope, borne out by the dreamy, gauzy strings and countered with the ominous sampler and turntable sounds. As cellos and grand piano stretch the middle to accommodate both ends of this spectrum, the feeling of sadness and resolve is almost unbearable -- not for the emotion, but for its indescribable beauty -- before Rhodes is drawn back out to bring it, and the evening, to a close. The album is a truly moving demonstration of this group's amazing gifts; the DVD presentation will no doubt leave you open-mouthed in a quiet kind of awe.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/22/2008
Label:
Domino
UPC:
0801390017520
catalogNumber:
175
Rank:
141609

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cinematic Orchestra   Primary Artist
Paul Greenwood   Flute
Nat Jones   Violin
Patrick Roberts   Violin
Everett Martin   Double Bass
Phil France   Synthesizer,Double Bass
Jason Swinscoe   Keyboards,Leader,Voices
Finn Peters   Flute
Luke Flowers   Drums
Tom Chant   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Eska   Vocals,Background Vocals
Patrick Carpenter   Turntables,electronics
Bob Dowell   Tenor Trombone
Lewis Edney   Bass Trombone
Stella Page   Viola
Antonia Pagulatos   Violin
Lou Rhodes   Vocals
Heidi Vogel   Vocals,Background Vocals
Jote Osahn   Violin
Gavin Broom   Trumpet
Chris Kelly [Choir Practice]   Double Bass
Grey Reverend   Vocals
Stuart McCallum   Electric Guitar
Vula   Background Vocals
Nick Ramm   Synthesizer,Piano,fender rhodes

Technical Credits

Stephen Hodges   Engineer
Dominic Smith   Concept
Phil France   Composer
Jason Swinscoe   Composer
Patrick Watson   Composer
Luke Flowers   Composer
Tom Chant   Composer

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