FEARLESS: NOT THE MOVIE

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In 1995, Jamie Lamm had a problem. Everything was in place for his new music company; people, studio, equipment. Everything, that is, except a company name. Lamm couldn't come up with just the right one. Then, in a dream, a voice told him to look for a name in his record collection. Lamm did, and was somehow drawn to the soundtrack from the movie Fearless, the '93 Peter Weir film starring Jeff Bridges and Rosie Perez as air crash survivors. But this Fearless -- the music company -- is more along the lines of "a bridging together of old and new technology," Lamm explains. "I'm a real advocate of old-school music and recording techniques, and merging that with sampling and computers and digital editing and all those things."

Lamm, 44, was a longtime session bass player in New York, and he worked at the East Coast office of Who Did That Music before opening Fearless. The four composers at the company -- Steven Brown, Theo Eastwind, Adonis Tsilimparis and John Wiggins -- are all accomplished musicians, he says. The 'working musician' tag is important to Lamm, the better to keep his finger on the music industry's pulse."Of course, we try to take what's popular and integrate it into what we do here, but I think rather than following a trend, we're trying to create a trend." It should be no surprise that everyone at Fearless is working on a solo record, and two Lamm-produced discs -- from Eastwind and Tsilimparis -- are about to be released on indie labels. "Eastwind plays what I like to call the next alternative," says Lamm. "He has folk, alternative and pop influences, and it's all mixed together with dense harmonies. I think his record will do really well. I would imagine that when people will hear it, they'll want to emulate that." Tsilimparis "samples and loops with Greek- and Spanish-influenced guitar on top," says Lamm. "He's a fine guitarist and singer, and he's taken a hip-hop undercurrent and added his own flamenco style."

Lamm plays bass on most Fearless tracks, and he's featured to great effect on the current Fearless reel in an acid-jazzy HBO boxing promo he wrote. Other standouts on the reel include a bossa nova for Ting soft drinks, written and sung by Tsilimparis, which makes an intriguing contrast with the visuals, which seem to be set in the more reggae-ish Caribbean. "It just evolved," Lamm explains. "It started with some temp music from Harry Belafonte singing about being in the islands. The islands just changed."

A spot for a fragrance called Catalyst features the alternative pop writing and vocals of Eastwind, which indeed sound alterna-chart ready, with richly overdubbed vocals.

The old-school philosophy is prominent in an MTV promo called "Fly," which features a sampled Buddhist monk chanting, accompanied by an actual musical saw. "No sample -- we brought in a guy who plays the saw," says Lamm proudly.

Besides the trends he hopes Fearless will launch, what does Lamm find fresh on the current music scene? "The mixture of spoken word with sampled music and live players seems to be the most interesting thing going on right now," he says. "Lauryn Hill is the most popular example of that. It's the new R&B." In light of the predictable time-lapse between what is hot on the popular music scene and its appearance on Madison Avenue, "maybe it'll catch on in commercials two years from now," Lamm laughs. "We're all limited by what our clients are ready for and what their clients are ready for."

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