Music Review: James Dooley

Untold, Veiled Nation, Wonderstruck: Position Music by James Dooley  (all MP3 downloads, purchased by reviewer)

Position music, sometimes called epic music, is short orchestral compositions, with or without vocals, from movie trailers or written for movies that have yet to be filmed. Two Steps From Hell is probably the best-known group in the genre, although Epic Music, Trailerhead, Future World Music, and others have produced a number of albums. James Dooley’s three recordings are nice additions to the epic music library.Untold has the most variety, and in fact at first I thought it was piano compositions: not bad, but not epic. Actually, it has the most interesting selections in terms of shifting moods and building into scenes and emotions. The album is more than the usual heroic-trumpets and bass usually associated with the genre. It is great for scene building, although if you are in a mood for battles and non-stop action, this is probably not the recording you want to put on the top of your play list.

Veiled Nation is pretty much your basic super-heroes and action recording. Very good blending of orchestra with other instruments (electronic synth on some tracks, voices), it tends to be dark and motion heavy, far more so than Untold.

Wonderstruck: Position Music has a choppier feel because of the shorter lengths of each piece. I listen to it the least of the three, but it is not bad. It also predates Veiled Nation, and there is a difference in the polish and mood complexity of the pieces on the two albums. Of all three, if you have a limited music budget (and who doesn’t?), I’d say skip this one.

Epic music/ position music is a sub-genre that has grown enormously over the past four years or so. Two Steps from Hell and Trailerhead are still my two favorite “buy-on-release” groups, but James Dooley’s work holds its own, especially if you are looking for a calmer recording. Untold has much of the sensibility of Audiomachine’s Tree of Life.