Oh, did I have fun listening to Les Paradis artificiels by Cinephonic, the brand new project by Pierre Chrétien of Souljazz Orchestra and Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays. The guy, hailing from Ontario, is first pianist, vibraphonist, mellotronist and leader/composer.
All nine irresistibly groovy and mellowy tracks on the album are as many neo-vintage strolls through a certain kind of seductive French cinema music of the ’60s and ’70s. But not only! Chrétien brings in his own ingredients, of orchestral jazz, of colours and rhythmic swings that would have suited the likes of Isaac Hayes or Bobby Womack, and all that with circa big, fat, juicy instrumental hip-hop beats.
Of course, the pioneering inspirations in the genre are recognizable: Air, Cinematic Orchestra, Jocelyn Tellier, Saint Etienne. Les Paradis artificiels doesn’t reinvent the wheel of instrumental pop, but, when it works so well, why bother? In this case, it means playing it over and over, and just enjoy life!
Chrétien benefits from the services of two other great musicians, Robert Biesewig (Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah, Alchemist) and Marielle Rivard, percussionist brought from Souljazz Orchestra and the Mar-Kays. Concerning the orchestral arrangements, without any money for a real orchestra (thanks for nothing, Ontario Arts Council!), Chrétien played everything himself (strings on mellotron, and then flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, etc.)! Kudos and hats off for that!
Press play, and let it go on repeat the whole day! Be it while reading, contemplating the outside world on a rainy day, or going out for a walk or a quick jog through city streets. It works, whatever you’re doing, and it plunges you into a bewitching atmosphere with wonderfully evocative and imaginary panoramas.
Cinephonic’s Les Paradis artificiels, it’s like being the hero in your own personal movie.