Cinephonic, spleen on the city

Everything is predicted from the cover and the name of this project led by Pierre Chrétien, also main composer of the Souljazz Orchestra: Cinephonic has the ambition to set to music a road-trip in the heart of the city, a form of spleen through a series of imaginary scenes as suggested by each of the nine titles that compose it. Dawn over the city, the Little Cemetery, the Crows, Bitumen flowers, Lost illusions and to finish, After the flood – to name just one explicit selection: the orchestral climates thus trace a narrative thread, more or less tenuous, which leaves the listener free to make his own cinema, as he sees fit.

Supported by a pair that maintains rhythmic tension while having the flexibility to provide space for well-measured digressions – hip-hop drummer Robert Biesewig (Wu-Tang Clan, Havoc, Alchemist), as well as percussionist Marielle Rivard (The Souljazz Orchestra, Slim Moore and The Mar-Kays) -, the pianist and vibraphonist (also on the mellotron) is inspired by his own terms “Mainly French film music”, citing Michel Legrand, Francis Lai, François de Roubaix and Jean-Claude Vannier. Of course, this is not wrong, but it is even more in the wake of the seminal David Axelrod that this album fits, combining with relevance but not without grandiloquence the influences of baroco-classical writing and esoteric groove. -magnetic.

As examples, Awakening of the city like the one that follows, Artificial paradises, or Concrete And Scrap Metal, would not have mismatched in the discography of the American arranger who died on February 5, 2017: there is the same dreamlike vein, embodied as much by the keyboards as the orchestral arrangements (flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, etc. , all passed through the “filter” of the mellotron), coupled with the outbursts of post-psychedelic soul jazz, which considerably opens up horizons.

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In the end, failing to revolutionize the genre, largely marked out by the masters cited and so many others, Pierre Chrétien manages to deliver his own version, although we sometimes border on the periphrasis here and there, and make you want to listen again the incomparable original. This is not the least quality.


Jacques Denis

Cinephonic Artificial paradises (Marlow Records).

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