I have followed the Late Night Tales series over the last 10 years and was waiting in anticipation for this latest release, compiled by the magnificent Cinematic Orchestra. Finally the wait is over and I have to say that this is an absolute masterpiece and one of the strongest in the series.
From intimate torch songs to swinging jazz, via lush strings and orchestration to the intricacies of modern electronica, the Cinematic's take us on a journey through the music that has inspired them, whilst dipping a cap to some of their contemporary peers. By doing so, they have also managed to reflect their unique sound that is hard to pin-point, but also present in the work of these varied artists: a wonderful balance between laid-back and sweeping but with a subtle underlying brooding tension. The result is an epic and varied journey through some of the finest music by some of the greatest artists of all time.
From the opening track, Flying Lotus' `Auntie's Harp' recalls the opening harp strings of `All That You Give' from their `Every Day' LP, while Thom Yorke's `Black Swan' would have sat comfortably nestled within their `Ma Fleur' album. Elsewhere, Sebastien Tellier's well known masterpiece `La Ritournelle' and Bjork's Homogenic-era `Joga', showcase some of the finest music under the wide umbrella of `chillout': all loping beats and heart-tugging strings that make you feel like you're soaring above the clouds! More obscure noodles from the likes of Burial and Imogen Heap also make a welcome appearance.
The golden oldies come from the much-loved Nick Drake (my favourite track from Five Leaves Left, `Three Hours'), to some wonderful undiscovered gems from Burt Bacharach, Shuggie Otis and of course, Terry Callier, with the highlight for me on this collection, `You're Goin' Miss Your Candyman'.
Also, special brownie points if you can spot the sample behind The Orb's `Little Fluffy Clouds' nestled in here as well.
If all this wasn't enough, the last track is a unique cover version by the Cinematic's themselves of Fontella Bass' `Talking About Freedom'. Fontella has been a guest vocalist on several Cinematic Orchestra tracks, so this is a fitting tribute to the classic singer.
The very careful and clever sequencing and blending together of these tracks wraps up this astounding collection into a complete listening experience.
Listen with your mind and heart open and I promise that you will love and cherish this timeless CD for a long time to come.