2020 has been a different kind of year, no doubt about that. But when it comes to New Age music, this year has been amazing! The age of Covid19 has given us some truly extraordinary albums. Enjoy this list of top five New Age music releases from the first half of 2020!
The list has been compiled based on the popularity of the releases on Newagemusic.guide, your votes on our request page, and review ratings. At the end of the year, we will publish our usual Top 10 Albums list (here is the list for 2019) – where the below albums for sure will play an important part.
But rest assured, 2020 has plenty of more excellent music in store for us!
Michael Whalen – Sacred Spaces
When the pandemic started, Michael Whalen’s “Sacred Spaces” was like an answer to a prayer. The album is also profoundly existential in nature, dealing with the search for a higher power. The French expression tour de force comes to mind many times while listening to the album – partly because of the highly creative soundscapes and partly thanks to Whalen’s exceptional melodic talent.
Last year Michael Whalen released the solo piano album “Cupid Blindfolded“, to high acclaim and great reviews. About this year’s album, Michael says: “Over the past decade, I realized I am 100 percent responsible for whatever my relationship with a higher being might be. When I first had the idea to do an album about the search for a higher power, I was imagining an orchestral project — a symphony. There was a point where I ran out of gas, maybe because part of me didn’t really want an answer. A couple of years ago, I revisited some themes I’d written and thought that maybe I should do this as an electronic project.” The result is “Sacred Spaces”.
It sounds like a cliché, but “Sacred Spaces” is what the world needs right now.
Nicholas Gunn – Pacific Blue
In a recent video presentation of his new release “Pacific Blue”, Nicholas Gunn says: “I believe that we all have the same kind of life journey, that we all exist within the same parameters. It is our Pacific Blue“. When you listen to the album, you’ll experience that Gunn’s statement has both depth and substance. His unique melodic talent and Alina Renae’s expressive vocal guide us into the deep, blue ocean – which at the same time is a metaphor on life itself.
“Pacific Blue” is a new pillar in Gunn’s discography, an essential release on par with his classics of the 1990s. The most striking is perhaps Gunn’s perspective; In the lyrics, we meet an “I”, a living, breathing human, that we all can relate to – and, on the other side, the enormity of the life-giving and life-taking ocean. This fascinating duality, plus rock-solid melodies and arrangements, are the cornerstones on this fine album.
Enjoy “Pacific Blue” and see where the music will take you. It will be a profoundly personal experience, guaranteed.
2002 – Celtic Fairy Dream
“Celtic Fairy Dream” by 2002, the follow-up to the group’s highly successful “Celtic Fairy Lullaby” (2016), couldn‘t have been released at a better time. Taking a break from negative news has never felt better. Indeed, 2002 has always been one of the best New Age music bands, but today it is more apparent than ever that Randy and Pamela Copus’ daughter Sarah lifts the band to incredible new heights. Take my word for it: Even Enya would be amazed by “Celtic Fairy Dream”. It has musical magic dust sprinkled all over.
The fairy theme aside, “Celtic Fairy Dream” is really a down-to-earth release with many classical inspirations that will give joy to new and old fans alike. It is a great installment in 2002’s Celtic Fairy series, and the songs “Castle of Dromore” and “The Green Fields of Autumn” are destined to become New Age music hits.
It is tempting to ask; When will 2002 release an “Orinoco Flow”, “May It Be” or “Caribbean Blue”? My answer is simple; It is a matter of time. “Only time.”
John Adorney – A Silver Thread
“A Silver Thread” is the follow-up to John Adorney’s highly successful 2017 album “Toward A Gentle Place“. As with the previous release, “A Silver Thread” takes the listener on a memorable journey towards a peaceful and harmonious place. Listening to the album feels like taking a break from everyday life. Adorney has yet again delivered a heartfelt and accessible release, which will please both old fans and people who have never listened to a meditation album in their life.
About the album’s layout, Adorney writes: “Iʼve based the sequencing of the music on something called the iso-principle, which is a concept applied in the practice of music therapy where the music played by the therapist matches the energy level or mood of the client, and then is gradually altered to help guide the person toward relaxation and, ideally, a more peaceful state of being.” If you already own the first installment in this series, you already know this effect very well.
J. C. Ryle, an English evangelical Anglican bishop, is famous for the quote: “Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct.” This silver thread of love seems to be present on Adorney album too, from the beginning and until the very last note.
“A Silver Thread” is a rock-solid album and a confirmation that “Toward A Gentle Place” is an essential series in today’s New Age music. “A Silver Thread” is a release that we all can benefit from, especially now in a time of uncertainty and rapid change.
Masako – Hidden Flowers
There’s something genuinely fascinating about a hidden flower. Perhaps it is the element of surprise or the fact that we are used to flowers being highly visible. “Hidden Flowers” is the name of Masako’s new album. At first, her music seems uncomplicated and straightforward. But give it a little more time, and you’ll discover that “Hidden Flowers” is a symbol of the beauty that you’ll find while listening. It is a phenomenal album, and yet another confirmation that Masako is one of the finest New Age music artists of our time.
Masako was born and raised in Japan and started piano lessons at age four. She worked for Yamaha Music Foundation as a certified instructor. Years after Masako moved to the US with her family, she asked Will Ackerman to produce her first album, “Masako (2012). She has since released the albums “Call of the Mountains, (2013), “Piano Sanctuary” (2017), and “Underwater Whisperer” (2019), all to great acclaim.
“Harajuku Memoir” and “Remember the Rainy Day” are destined to become Solo Piano hits. If you only add one album to your playlist this year, “Hidden Flowers” is an excellent choice. You will find yourself looking for the replay button every time it comes on, guaranteed.
“Hidden Flowers” by Masako is her best album to date, and easily one of 2020’s best New Age music releases.
Above picture by kai Stachowiak – License: CC0 Public Domain