From Issue 8: Umbrella editor Anthony Teasdale on how The Cinematic Orchestra’s Every Day album seeps deeper into our consciousness with every passing year
Some records seem to get better, and often more popular, with age.
It’s like we’re not quite ready for them when they first come out, but over the years snippets seep into the public consciousness through films, television programmes and the playlists of tastemaking DJs until the truth of their greatness finally hits us.
Perhaps the best example of this is The Cinematic Orchestra’s Every Day, released in 2002 and still sounding as vital today as it did back then.
In the 15-year-long burst of creativity that followed the dance music awakening of the late 1980s, bands like The Cinematic Orchestra received more press than they could have hoped for thanks to the open-mindedness that house music brought in.
House was – is – like that. On the foundation of that relentless 4/4 beat anything can be hung, whether it’s rock, new wave, disco ambient or jazz. In fact, especially jazz. In 1995, the French producer Ludovic Navarre released the album Boulevard under the St Germain tag, a smokey collection of deep house clothed in the most atmospheric of jazz clothes.
Add to this the ground that had been made fertile by trip-hop (oft-derided as a term, but actually perfect ) and groups that would have never got any further than the racks of Ray’s Jazz Shop had an audience a world away from the serious – and they were always serious – jazz fan.
Into this came The Cinematic Orchestra. If ever there was a band in search for a film to soundtrack the er… Cinematics were it. Their first album Motion released in 1999 was certainly well received, especially in the “downtempo” reviews sections of the dance music press, but it was 2002’s Every Day that defined them, in particular the track All Things To All Men, the epic slow-burner with a rap from unthreatening London MC Roots Manuva.
You may have no idea who the Cinematic Orchestra are, but you’ll know All Things To All Men, specifically the opening two minutes, which have been used on films and TV shows like Kidulthood, Wonders of The Solar System and somewhat improbably, Hustle.
With its gentle opening and catchy horn refrains, the tune is sofar, so soundtrack, but that doesn’t prepare you for The Big Fuck Off Beat that comes in at 1:42 – bum-bum-ba-cha, it goes, bum-bum-ba-cha!
If you’re making a documentary, drama or advert and you’re filming a section where the pace changes, this is the bit you use. It’s absolutely awesome.
Sadly, most TV producers or ad directors never get to Roots’ lyrics, which is a shame as they’re as evocative an autobiography as you’ll ever hear on record. But no matter, those first two minutes alone are reason enough to seek out the track, and in truth, the whole album.
Since 2002, The Cinematic Orchestra have released constantly great records, but it is only Every Day that has transcended from the narrow world of the head-nodding muso to the casual TV viewer who turns to her partner and says, “What’s this music, it’s really good?”
Two minutes is all it needs. Two minutes.