New age is an umbrella term that combines music with relaxing and positive sound. New age music is typified by instruments that typical for electronic and ethnic music. The music intended to create artistic inspiration and relaxation. New Age artists often address themes of nature, self-knowledge and national culture.
Birth: 1964 Bloom: 1990
Firstly new age music was created by jazz musicians, but the continuity between new age and jazz is impugned by many musicologists. The first musician who played new age was an American jazzman Tony Scott. In 1964 he recorded his first album in the new age style – «Music For Zen Meditation». Almost at the same time (independently from Scott) another American jazzman Paul Winter began to play music resembling new age. Unlike meditative and concentrated Scott`s music, Winter`s tracks were positive and debonair. That can be explained as its proximity to such directions as bossa nova.
Subsequently the new age sound has lost the connection with jazz traditions. In the 70s new age became mostly electronic music; musicians began to use Japanese synth that was able to simulate the sound of ethnic musical instruments. The movement music concrete greatly influenced new age. In the early 80s, during the crisis of industrial, many ex-musicians from industrial bands began to use the new age aesthetics in their compositions. That`s how styles like dark folk and enigmatica have emerged.
From 1968 to 1973 German musicians Holger Czukay (a former student of Karlheinz Stockhausen), Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream released a number of works featuring experimental sounds and textures built with electronics, synthesizers, acoustic and electric instruments which were referred to as cosmic music; their music, defining as space, can be attributed to ambient or new age. Later Brian Eno`s defining explorations in ambient music easily combined styles of many musicians such as Robert Fripp, Jon Hasell, Laraaji, Harold Budd, Cluster, Jah Wobble from the end of 70s until now.
Besides, early electronic music, European classical music and ethnic music influenced new age a lot. The music by minimalists Terry Riley and Stephen Reich (Indian influence) also had an impact on new age, together with such musicians as Tony Conrad, La Monte Young, who utilized drones since the early 1960.
Connected to the creation of new-age music is the resurgence of interest in Gregorian chant during the second half of the 20th century.
Considered that solo performances by artists like Keith Jarrett (especially his record «The Koln Concert»), Ralph Towner (especially his records «Blue Sun» and «Solo Concert») and Lyle Mays's first eponymous album influenced new age.
Popular themes in new-age music include space and the cosmos, environment and nature, wellness in being, harmony with one`s self and the world, dreaming and journeys of the mind or spirit. For instance, producer G.E.N.E released a number of compilations, which had musical descriptions of Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean and special compilations with records of ocean sounds. The team Software has several albums, in which electronic music takes the main part: «Chip Meditation», «Electronic Universe» (both in two parts) and «Digital Dance». Titles of new-age songs frequently describe natural and esoteric phenomena, for example: «Principles of Lust» (Enigma), «Purple Dawn» (Anugama), «Stepherd Moons» (Enya), «Straight` a Way to Orion» (Kitaro), «The Quiet Self» (Gregorian), «One Deep Breath» (Bradley Joseph).
Also read: Chillout, Downtempo, Lounge
Umbrellate style: Ambient
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