Jamie Craig grew up with the same enamormant as me—progrock—so his approach is informed by a higher order of composition and arrangement. When Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord, Robert Fripp, Ian Anderson, and such artists are your touchstones, you can't help but dig deeper. However, like Mo Foster, Steve Joliffe, and an array of others, Craig chose to pursue the New Age grail rather than the harder edge of pure prog, resulting in a release that occupies a mid-zone between the two, much more heavily skewed to New Age than otherwise.
His debut release hit the Top 10 in New Age Reporter / Zone Music Reporter radio charts—I'm not sure what that means but I can just picture John Diliberto's and Chuck van Zyl's reviews—because it followed the kind of higher levels the Private Music crowd laid down, a team populated by ex-progheads (Peter Bauman, Jerry Goodman, Patrick O'Hearn, Pete Bardens, etc.). Craig, on the other hand, has chosen to incorporate Gandalf and Bo Hansen elements into his work, not intensely but enough so that the structural narrative is a good deal more intricate than just about any Private release. Every instrument here is wielded by the guy, and he's a pretty good hand on all axes, especially for a gent who started out as a bassist. Like all such CDs, though, expect the keyboards to dominate.
Mirage occupies a very cool Ibiza zone while other cuts look to Jean-Michel Jarre, Kitaro, latterday Tangerine Dream, and so on. What wasn't looked after, however, was the board work quite as much as should have been the case, resulting in a bandwidth eschewing emphatics, a chief sin of the New Age movement. Too, the composer's still-growing aptitude with all the instruments employed becomes a shade apparent in key and non-key passages: a fumbled lead here, a glitch there, but nothing too serious. Overall, Illumination is a better-than-average New Age CD, somewhat in line with Verity's Digital Planet and other bedroom enterprises, but keep in mind my cautionary repetition: New Age.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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