One of Ninja Tune’s most celebrated acts release downtempo wonder ‘A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life’ feat. Roots Manuva
Cai Trefor
14:07 15th January 2019

Downtempo jazz-electronic band The Cinematic Orchestra – founded by Jason Swinscoe and long-time partner Dominic Smith – have today released a soaring new track featuring sublime vocals from London's Roots Manuva. It's plucked from To Believe - their first album in 12 years.

The track is the six and-a-half minute album version and you can listen to it on Gigwise below.

Opening with a euphoric dawn-after-comedown key part; drum pads, synths and oscillating harmonic tones soon swirl around Roots Manuva’s poetic verses.

A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life’ soon switches into a haunted baritone sung part - also by Roots - that's backed by majestic symbol splashes. It flips between this, the more spoken verses with scatty rhythms, and wigged-out instrumentation, making for a diverse, ambitious arrangement that grips the listener.

The news is welcomed by fans with zeal today because The Cinematic Orchestra were steadily releasing music in the noughties but have since slipped away from doing so.

And new album To Believe makes for an eclectic proposition since they’ve drafted in an impressive list collaborators - old and new. 

The most notable of the new ones is Moses Sumney, whose track ‘Rank & File’ is a big favourite around these parts. Sumney takes on the album’s opening track, and having such pride of place on the album for a newcomer hints at the level of esteem that he's now held. Sumney's not even close to how massive he's about to become.

The album's praised by the label as the band's definitive album and they make the point in saying their influence around us is more palpable than ever.

Indeed, alongside Amon Tobin and Bonobo, The Cinematic Orchestra are part of what’s made Ninja Tune such an influential label in 21st Century music.

The label’s influence is heard on jazz scenes both sides of the pond. The likes of Kaytranada, Sons of Kemet, and BadBadNotGood are - not long since forming - riding the crest of a wave where the mainstream acknowledges this highly original melding of electronic music, jazz and other more traditional forms of instrumentation .

The Cinematic Orchestra, by comparison, spent a long time in the shadows. But how much of a seminal band they is surely to be recognised in the mainstream throughout the course of 2019.

We look forward to hearing the album in full.

To Believe Tracklist:
1. To Believe (feat. Moses Sumney)
2. A Caged Bird/Imitations of Life (feat. Roots Manuva)
3. Lessons
4. Wait for Now/Leave The World (feat. Tawiah)
5. The Workers of Art
6. Zero One/This Fantasy (feat. Grey Reverend)
7. A Promise (feat. Heidi Vogel)

2019 live dates:

20 - London, Roundhouse
21 - London, Roundhouse
22 - London, Roundhouse
25 - Dublin, Vicar Street
26 - Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
27 - Newcastle, Sage Gateshead
29 - Birmingham, O2 Institute - TICKETS
30 - Manchester, Academy - TICKETS

Photo: Press