In the age of mixing genres comes a CD that purports to be many things. Jazz, rock, new age, acoustic, electronic, etc. While you can call your music anything you want, marketing and niche defining being all about moving units of product, the final decider is what hits the ears. Eliott James’ CD Cinematic Life is really just trance music. Without any discernable improvisation, all of the tunes are basically drum grooves with repetitive bass lines and little in the way of melody.
James, a self described musician, composer, poet, photographer and author, first performed as a singer-songwriter in the 1970s at clubs and colleges. In the 1990s, he opened his own recording studio. The author of three books on spirituality, his first CD was a collection of five songs in singer-songwriter form.
As music, this self-produced and released CD has some good tunes. "(Day On The) Fast Track" is a dance-trance styled cut reminiscent of the dance mix material DJs were working with in the late 1980s in clubs. "Say It," without the long introduction, is a good electronic groove begging for an over-layering melody.
Some of the tracks, however, don’t really go anywhere, even when defined within the New Age style. "Dolly" is nice and thankfully short, but the repetition wears a bit even though it’s less than three minutes in length. By the time one gets to "Dolly (Part 2)" you’ve really heard it all before.
Overall, the repetitive nature of the music doesn’t really qualify it as New Age, melody being an important aspect with the standard bearers of the genre - David Lanz and Liz Story. As trance music, however, it’s a decent CD. In this style of music, the necessity of melody, memorable or otherwise is not a dictate and James is careful to not allow the grooves to go on too long (the longest cut clocking in right under four-and-a-half minutes).