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The New Wave of New Age

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Factmag.com’s Adam Bychawski has posted an article called “The new wave of new age: How music’s most maligned genre finally became cool”. It is an interesting presentation on how the sound of New Age music has been re-discovered by artists and producers such as Matthewdavid, Deadboy and Sam Kidel. If you didn’t know it; New Age music is finally cool again! 

Bychawski writes:

“For years a derided mainstay of yoga studios and health stores, new age music has enjoyed a resurgence this decade as producers and crate diggers re-evaluate a maligned genre. Adam Bychawski speaks to producers Matthewdavid, Deadboy and Sam Kidel about how they fell for new age’s soothing tones, and argues that in age of precarity and political turmoil, these records are far more than wallpaper music for hippies. ” […]

Few genres have been the subject of as much derision as new age. In the mid ‘80s, as new age crossed over to the mainstream, it became an easy target for critics who scoffed at “music for hot tubbers” which was “numbing to both mind and palette”. That did little to dampen sales: in the space of a decade, new age had risen from a mail-order cottage industry into a major label cash cow. But by the end of the century, listeners’ appetite for the music had waned. Generic compilations with cheesy titles like Pure Moods flooded the market, and new age gradually disappeared from record store racks, banished to holistic shops and garden centres.

Yet despite the enduring stigma, new age is having a revival. Not long after the genre faded from public consciousness, it had an afterlife in the electronic underground, attracting converts from the post-noise scene: analogue synth noodlers Emeralds, stargazing composer Stellar Om Source and electronic conceptualist Oneohtrix Point Never. More recently, its influence has worked its way into dance music and found itself recycled, like so much cultural detritus from the ‘80s and ‘90s, as vaporwave. There are further signs of new age’s continuing legacy across various genres and geographies, from Max Richter’s neo-classical sleep tapes and Yamaneko’s grime explorations to labels like Vancouver’s laid-back house specialists Mood Hut and eclectic cassette hub 1080p.”

Read Adam Bychawski’s fascinating article here