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Anything But Quiet: New Age Now

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It’s official: New Age music has been out of fasion for so many years that it is now trendy again. Influential webpage Pitchfork.com has a big interview with Douglas Mcgowan, the man who compiled I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music 1950-1990 for Light in the Attic Records.

Like “serenity” or “self-help,” “new age” is a term that can conjure weak-minded people desperate to console themselves for having somehow failed at life. Even as a kid browsing the bookstore where my mom and I bought our tapes, I had the terrible feeling I was in the presence of losers. Yoga, alternative medicine, astrology, tarot, inter-dimensional travel, allowing one’s body to be a conduit for angels: The new-age spectrum that starts at self-improvement ends in what some people would still call mental illness.

Mcgowan’s relationship to these ideas is complicated. He avoids overtly spiritual terms and apologizes when they slip out. He refers to his life as a “search” and thinks that listening to new age can be a healthy way to detach from a culture that constantly bullies us. He fantasizes about what life would be like if new age was piped into American nursery schools or used to interrupt the broadcasts of late-night talk shows. “I think transformation is necessary,” he says, and when he says it, I take him to mean the transformation of the world, or at least the way we perceive it.

Read it here. It’s awesome!