The brilliantly named Cinematic Orchestra is led by composer/programmer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Swinscoe, who formed his first group, Crabladder, in 1990 as an art student at Cardiff College. Crabladder's fusion of jazz and hardcore punk elements with experimental rhythms inspired Swinscoe to further explore the possibilities of sampling, and by the time of the group's demise in the mid-'90s, he was DJing at various clubs and pirate radio stations in the U.K.
The music he recorded on his own at the time melded '60s and '70s jazz, orchestral soundtracks, rhythm loops, and live instrumentation into genre-defying compositions, as reflected on his contribution to Ninja Tune's 1997 Ninja Cuts 3 collection and his remixes of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Coldcut tracks. The Cinematic Orchestra built on this musical blueprint, letting a group of live musicians improvise over sampled percussion or bass lines. The Orchestra included saxophonist/pianist Tom Chant, bassist Phil France, and drummer Daniel Howard, who also recorded the Channel One Suite and Diabolus EPs for Ninja Tune with Swinscoe.
In 2011, the group curated a series of events at London's Barbican Centre, where classic silent films were shown with newly commissioned soundtracks. Highlights from the series were collected on the 2012 release The Cinematic Orchestra Presents: In Motion #1. The following year, bassist Phil France released his debut solo album, The Swimmer, which preceded years of relative quiet from the group as a whole. They made a brief appearance in 2016 upon releasing the single "To Believe" featuring Moses Sumney; however, the single turned out to herald a new album much later down the line, namely 2019's To Believe. Their first official album since Ma Fleur, the atmospheric electronic journey featured the aforementioned title track alongside guest appearances from Roots Manuva, Heidi Vogel, Tawiah, and Grey Reverend. ~ Heather Phares