- THE SWIMMER
- JOY OF BRASS
- LONDON PARK HOTEL
Phil France has announced details of the release of his debut solo album. The Swimmer will be released through 26-2 Recordings on October 21 2013.
The track listing of the album is as follows:
- The Swimmer
- Joy of Brass
- London Park Hotel
As the principal collaborator alongside Jason Swinscoe in the Cinematic Orchestra, Phil France is responsible for some of the most heartrendingly beautiful music created in recent times. Co-writing, arranging and producing on the Cinematic Orchestra albums including Everyday, Man With The Movie Camera, Ma Fleur and also the triple award winning soundtrack for The Crimson Wing nature documentary, France's skills have always extended beyond his bass-lines.
Born Elland, West Yorkshire in 1971 and raised in Huddersfield where he met Jason Swinscoe and introduced him to the music of Charles Mingus he began as principle bassist in Kirklees Youth Orchestra and Huddersfield Philharmonic before studying History at Newcastle University and later going onto post graduate course in Jazz and Studio Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. He would then join the newly formed Cinematic Orchestra in 1997 having reconnected with Swinscoe through mutual friends.
Now living in Manchester, he initially made the move back to his native Yorkshire a couple of years ago after some time in London, where he set to work teaching himself the finer details of programming and began work on The Swimmer. Deeply emotive and epic in scale, it draws it influences from the great second wave of film composers including John Carpenter and Vangelis, as well as minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
France's skill, in this album, as well as his work with The Cinematic Orchestra, is in soundtracking human emotion - it is full of heartbreak and recovery, strength, honesty and frailty, it is meditative and hopeful.
First Chop Brewing Arm, SALFORD
- The Swimmer is the debut solo album from Cinematic Orchestra double bassist Phil France. Having taught himself programming skills, France takes the lead on this 28-minute respite from the hurtling world of one-click culture. In the title track's calm serenity, nothing much happens, but it has a vibrancy that distinguishes it - like the rest of the album - from run-of-the-mill ambience. The music evokes tranquillity, underlined by a cover image of a swimmer diving against a backdrop of a city's detritus. London Park Hotel has urgency and December goes positively over the top in comparison to the other material here, but does so with an understated grace-fulness. Taking its reference points from Philip Glass, John Carpenter and Vangelis, The Swimmer is sweetly captivating and suggestive of Mogwai without the noise or the very best of the Windham Hill label.
MOJO * * * *
- To swim is to submit to a silent solitary sport with a hallelujah of exhaustion, and perhaps clarity. Phil France`s music here follows this pursuit. The repetition of strokes, length after length of cold tiled blue. A focus on nothing but movement and breath. The world cleansed away. Forgotten. Muscle forging forwards with power and grace. Poppy Ackroyd piano, cymbals rise and fall. Electronic figures dance in synchronicity within cinematic orchestration. Midnight (in a perfect world) drums crash against your body in waves, until you`re left with lungs that hurt and legs that won`t stand. On all fours, reaching for air. The way I cried the day my grandmother died. To swim is to lose distraction and worry. All that matters is style, which in turn determines survival and speed. How you fall has to be important, even if others will notice only where you land.
- A great film score is one of the most beguiling and amazing works of art to me. It exists as a work of art designed to work in concert with (and support) another work of art. It has to subtlely emote a truth about the thing, without overwhelming any given moment or cheesily phone in some obvious emotional signifier. And after all that, it should still be listenable on it’s own terms without the picture. A really great score will remind you of a feeling, not necessarily a definitive image. That’s why although I can appreciate the epic swooning of a John Williams or Hans Zimmer score, if I want peaceful inspiration I’ll reach for Cliff Martinez’s music for Soderbergh’s “Solaris” or “The Limey”. The Cinematic Orchestra’s Phil France has a new album called “The Swimmer” that works like a stunningly gorgeous score to a film that doesn’t exist, but would be a Cannes phenom if it did. As deeply immersive as it’s sport namesake, France has created a work that is engrossing, meditative and intensely emotive stuff. Triumphant and lonesome, focused and passionate…it’s insightful and precise on a minimalist scale. This is Steve Reich/Phillip Glass territory where you go into it and the space in the music is just as powerful as any given note and the music envelops, reflects and reveals you on the other side.
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