J. Swinscoe’s the Cinematic Orchestra have been among the fabled Ninja Tune label’s foremost purveyors of ornate jazz funk since 1998. Thankfully, their name is not misleading in the least.
I recall seeing them perform at South by Southwest in the late ’90s or early ’00s, and was shocked by how much they evoked something of the Sun Ra Arkestra—not something you expect from a mostly white British ensemble. They were that telepathically in synch, that uproariously uplifting, that in love with density and elegant chaos.
The Cinematic Orchestra’s 2019 album, To Believe, is loaded with guest vocalists and flirts with Hollywood sentimentality and a Sigur Rós-like spaciousness, but you can’t fault the exquisite skill and care with which it’s constructed.
Cinematic Orchestra plays Neptune Theatre tonight. Some media below.