Now here’s a great read for you! Spin Magazine has just reposted their December 1985 feature on New Age Music. Complete with Youtube videos, it is even better than the print version.
The article starts like this:
“What is “new-age” music? Is it music that’s made for meditation, stress reduction, and massage? Or is it whatever California’s post-hippie generation or the yuppie crowd happens to be listening to at the moment? “New age” is a difficult term to pin down, and you certainly don’t want to ask the artists themselves, because they tend to describe their music like this:
“Spatially enhanced flamenco guitar channeled via electrocrystals thru deep digital reverb into the spaciousness of a thousand and one reflections.”
Excuse me? New-age music may be hard to define, but it’s easy to spot; words like “deep,” “cosmic,” “harmony,” and “bliss” in the liner notes are a dead giveaway. This particular gibberish is from an album—an enjoyable album, actually—by guitarist Gino D’Auri.
Ray Lynch, another purveyor of music meant to expand your mind, quotes from a new-age book in the liner notes from his lovely but uneven recording Sky of Mind. This presumably explains where his music is coming from: “the mind is like a cave of bats.”
Nice, huh? But wait, it gets better: “Countless eyes are suspended in darkness, with sharp feet clinging to the convolutions of the brain, hiding from light” (or, as Monty Python says, “the human brain is like an enormous fish. It’s fat and slimy and has gills through which it can see”). This is not only to get you worked up about hearing the record, but also to prepare you for the enlightenment the recording supposedly will deliver.”
Read the complete article here. Highly recommended!
Perhaps the most interesting part is that we have not come any closer to defining what New Age music is all about. The “what is New Age music” question is as relevant today as it was back then…
The above cover is taken from the December 1985 edition of the magazine.