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Ma Fleur

28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 5, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The stunning new album from The Cinematic Orchestra.

Featuring "To Build A Home" (w/ Patrick Watson). As heard on ABC's
Grey's Anatomy.

A "stellar piece of work . . . Just try to make it through the
closing "To Build a Home" without losing your breath." SF Chronicle

"Yet another brilliant release . . .Solid beats, lush arrangements,
great vocals - what more can you ask for?" **** URB

Soul Power at its deepest and most profound. Capable of real
wonder. **** Mojo

A Remarkable album. **** Uncut

Cinematic Orchestra's fourth studio album, Ma Fleur soars from start to finish. The disc opens with the all-too-brief "That Home" which showcases a new guest vocalist brought into the Orchestra clan, Montreal native Patrick Watson whose Coldplay-meets-Jeff-Buckley fragility fits inside the folds of the sparse melody perfectly; his contribution to the sweeping soundscape of closer "To Build a Home" proves equally spectacular, adding an increased vulnerability and richness to the music. "Time and Space," featuring enigmatic Lamb frontwoman Lou Rhodes, offers the perfect combination of vocal ache with the lushness of cello and violin, eventually expanding into a full contemporary-classical-meets-downtempo vibe. Former contributing vocalist Fontella Bass once again brings her timeless soul to the mix ("Breathe" and "Familiar Ground") which will delight longtime fans of the U.K. band. Fans of Cinematic Orchestra's more upbeat hip-hop and jazz numbers from previous releases will discover that there is nothing especially uptempo on this disc; in certain respects, the evenness of Zero 7 discs may provide a more apt comparison, contextually. While that may frustrate some, the power of Ma Fleur from beginning to end is a holistic package of sensuality and softness that makes for a nearly perfect, perfectly timeless release. --Denise Sheppard
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,151 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By PGH on June 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
There have been plenty of professional reviews of this album that have either loved the new direction that TCO has taken or lamented the passing of a torch-bearer of new jazz. I have to say that I feel both ways. I must pre-condition my review by stating that I am a huge fan of TCO. I own Horizon (a little known release) and have multiple copies of live performances through the years, including their Solid Steel works that are excellent. My interest in them stems from a love of the symbiosis of jazz and downbeats that they perform better than anyone.

When I first heard the single "To Build a Home", I thought it beautiful. I eagerly wanted to hear the rest. When I heard the rest, which is a significant departure from their earlier work, I was a bit let down from the perspective of "jazz and downbeats", but willing to give the album a real listen. My overall impression is that the album is good, but not great. Event the tracks that are closest to the old-TCO style are not as strong as previous work (and sometimes is previous work). Most of the album has replaced the jazz with vocals and replaced downbeats with sparse orchestration. As a result, the album leaves you a bit cold.

1. "To Build a Home". Beautiful track featuring Patrick Watson and piano. My initial reaction has faded into disinterest due to its simple structure and sparse orchestration.

2. "Familiar Ground". Is basically a rehash of their Solid Steel work with the exception of the sweeping sax in the original is gone, losing some of its flare. Fontella Bass is still here, which is great.

3. "Child Song". Closest song to "jazz and downbeat" TCO. Great.

4. "Music Box". Sparse acoustic guitar, with Watson and Lou Rhodes which remind me of a song you would hear in a spa somewhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lokey on September 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After having heard all previous albums, I was surprised to hear the vocals - but they mesh so well with the Cinematic sound. Each song flows well from one to the next, and from the last to song back around to the first... if put on's a fabulous concept album; a short story or perhaps a novel put to music. Listen to it forward and over again. If you like their previous outputs, and you can get into both the pop/ethereal and RnB/hip hop vocals you get here, you just may get into this.... a la Fila Brazillia's jump leads or Jazzanova's latest series of Secret Love compilations. And I love the photos included with the CD - must buy for fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christopher P. Dotson on April 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I was out shopping for music and was looking for something new when I ran across this album. The cover of the album caught my eye. I'd never heard of The Cinematic Orchestra (...or I should say, that I can't ever recall hearing of them.)but I decided to take a chance on this album based on... well nothing really. (...but the cover I guess. Which is rather strange, because something with a cover that serene would not usually make me take a second glance.) I felt drawn to "Ma Fleur". I felt that there was perhaps something special about this album and I was correct.

This album is inspired, almost as if it was channeled! You get the sense that "Ma Fleur" was out there, somewhere in the vastness of time and space, waiting for someone to come along and discover it! As a concept album, it feels complete. Every song seems to seamlessly flow into the next like water through a tranquil stream.

At no point does "Ma Fleur" ever demand your attention... well at least not in the typical sense. It never tries to dazzle you with it's arrangement or production aesthetics. "Ma Fleur" feels like it was made for the pure satisfaction of the musical creation, and not necessarily for the entertainment of an audience. (...or album sales for that matter.)

That being said, I found the album hypnotic and the music seductive. The music lulled me into a place of vulnerability and openess, which made it difficult to passively listen. I wanted to approach it with a present state of mind and really absorb it all. I didn't want to miss a single moment.

"Ma Fleur" never feels forced. Every moment of the album feels like it has a purpose and the use of silence contributes to this. The silence of "Ma Fleur" is it's strength!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By WallyJac on September 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This album has been out a couple months now... I've been a Cinematic fan since Everyday and have picked up everything they're released with excitement and delight. Never have I been let down, nor do I expect to be. I didn't jump on this album the day of it's release because I had read mixed reviews and maybe that is why I got a pleasant surprise when I decided to put my trust in the musical genius of this fantastic group of musicians.
Ma Fleur is great. The problem is, very much like Air, their new albums have a more simplified sound whereas their earlier releases nearly exhausted the instruments they may have had at hand. Air's Pocket Symphony took this path and Cinematic's Ma Fleur did as well. The rich orchestrations and complex movements found in Everyday are traded for a simply beautiful arrangement of more simplified tones and movements. This CD in its entirity is not a let down, to me at least.
The first time I played it, I thought it was pretty good, but I was somewhat unaffected by it. The second time I played it, I couldn't have picked a favorite song if I tried.
The lesson being, Cinematic Orchestra has not failed to disappoint us at all. You just might find yourself looking for something that isn't there - and you don't slay an album just because of expectations...
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