This welcome return for Jason Swinscoe and his band of imaginative cohorts starts out with a typically stylish TCO backdrop overplayed with live drum-work that’s joined by a string quartet. So far so typical of this London based outfit’s fine work. But then things change and it becomes apparent that this is not just the work of Swinscoe and his band but a series of pieces by different artists who have been given a string quartet and asked to write a piece about a given silent film. Films of the same Ilk as Man with the Movie Camera that the Cinematics produced a soundtrack for a few years back, so the titles here will be new to anyone that isn’t a connoisseur of avant garde 20th century silent movies. Some are vintage classics while others are more recent. Luckily most if not all are on a certain online video site and free to watch in tandem with these new soundtracks.
The musicians involved include pianist Austin Peralta, Austrian dance act Dorian Concept and TCO sax player Tom Chant, alongside Swinscoe and Grey Reverand these artists have produced seven pieces for seven visual experiences. Swinscoe has chosen his musicians and his films well, the result is very strong and quite unlike regular fair from this artist, more than one piece for instance is devoid of a drum beat and there is at least one that is within spitting distance of appearing on a classical radio station. There is also a lot here for those familiar with the group’s early work, the diversity of artists brings a refreshing variety but does not undermine the cinematic feel. Thanks to the presence of acoustic instruments it also sounds good, not quite audiophile perhaps but pretty decent given its intended audience. This collaboration takes us into deeper musical waters than anything previously released by Swinscoe and gets closer one suspects to where he is coming from, and that my friends is no bad thing.