THE MOTION ORCHESTRA / ALL ONE / BATHURST – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

There is beauty here, real beauty. Twelve languid, sonorous pieces that straddle the classical / jazz divide – tipping a healthy nod to precursors such as The Cinematic Orchestra for sure, but also expertly staking out their own enchanted isle. Perfect music to lull you through the soporific holidays, washing over your midwinter blues: a whispered balm for the soul-weary. Team it with Bremer McCoy’s wonderful Natten that I highlighted recently and – bingo – you’re halfway to paradise without even trying.

From Dust tiptoes in as the opener: the musicians – Alexander Bednasch on double-Bass, Mark Matthes on violins, Andy Sells on drums and David Hanke on electronics and production – gently announcing themselves. Mournful, mindful, beautiful: heartache and longing, regrets written on tombstones – cry yourself to sleep, why don’t you?

Everything We Are keeps the same hushed dynamics, brushed beats gently push the keening violin lines, lilting keys weeping alongside, like the soundtrack to a thousand forgotten French arthouse films. The midpoint breakdown drops it down even further: a wonderful soft staccato reprise for humanity’s strife. There is a poignancy here, an elegant acknowledgement of life’s brief span. Powerful moments in the headphones guaranteed.

The Windsleeper’s great title signifies another piece of expertly-judged depth – you can hear many, many hours of craft behind the music – the pinpoint precision of musicians listening and responding, the notes cascading free, melodies unleashed, harmonies echoing through the ages. Art. Beauty. Truth. Call it what you will – it is outstanding.

Taken together the twelve pieces coalesce into a super-satisfying whole, a considered, curated, polished paean to the joys of music-making and concentrated listening. Perhaps it’s an age thing, or even a pandemic thing, but more and more for these ears the albums that take their time, that unfurl slowly and gently to reveal their inner sanctum, are the ones that I keep coming back to – the ones I sink into, half-expecting never to resurface. Submerged and sublime.

The Motion Orchestra`s All One is out now on Bathurst Music. 

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