This is one of the few times where I have been more interested in the artist than his material, which is decent, I might add. Jamie Craig has quite an interesting philosophy that can spark debate in some circles yet bring about consensus in others. The very concept driving his latest release, The Lost Dream, might raise one’s eyebrows or cause another to nod in complete acceptance.
Craig is a former rock bassist who’s since morphed into a keyboardist of significant proportion. He specializes in the synthesized and computerized sounds and effects of modern music, specifically that of hybrid forms such as fusion, new age, and jazz subgenres. The Lost Dream features the sounds of eight, count ‘em, distinctively different bass guitars, all synthesized. The effect is nice, but not as impressive as the "old style" bass-in-hand technique at which I and millions of others marvel, especially considering the skill, deep-seated funk, and power that artists display today (and have always displayed to some extent, in my opinion). I happen to be one of those old-schoolers who thinks that the Motown sound on which Craig grew up was comprised of some of the purest, most natural, and inspiring music ever. Then came the rock of the 70s with its raw and naked power, although often toyed with by synths at more times than I care to count (yet that took little away from the feel and texture). While there are gazillions of artists who play with synthesized and homogenized music, I still personally love the raw display of talent on good old-fashioned instruments in good old- fashioned ways. Just play the instrument well. That is exhilarating to me. Toying with diffrerent sounds has its place but shouldn't overshadow the basics, in my opinion.
Now, having said all that, let me make it clear that I find Craig’s skill at what he does to be remarkable. His playing with synthesized sounds is no less competent than that of Yes, Edgar Winter, and the hundreds of rock and new age acts that formulated and still formulate tasty pieces out of nothing.
Also (sorry another shortcoming, in my opinion), the tunes on The Lost Dream, while very mellow and fluid, are also a bit monotonous in beat and melody (as sweet as the melody often is). The concept is also one that Craig himself admits is a bit melancholy and cynical. As he says, "The title tune captures the painful feelings an individual has when a dream dies for example, marriage and family plans ending in divorce or failure to reach a career goal." Hmm.. I would personally dislike being reminded of such things as they bring about even more pain. To his credit, he goes on to say that, "After all you have been through, it is important to keep your head up and go forward." That helps. Still, this concept is an amazing contrast to the music on which he was raised. However, as monotonous as it may get, if competent synth work with a decent beat is what you seek, this does have a nice touch. "Happy it up," though, I’d suggest to Craig. Let the smiles in your music come through more abundantly. That’s as good a cure for melancholy as anything.