About a year ago Seattle label Light In The Attic released the compilation I Am The Center – Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990. It got a massive presentation in main stream media, and suddenly New Age music was hot again. Then the question is; has something happened? Is New Age music more popular now, than before this release? The answer is; yes and no.
Here is something might be an effect of I Am The Center. Here is an interview with singer songwriter Ernest Greene:
I wanted the last record to feel live, to try to really work with the live band setup. Having done that, my instinct is sort of to do the opposite, so I’ve been making new songs with a ton of samples and stuff that performance wise – I’m not sure how we’ll end up performing them. But I’ve been into a lot of less poppy stuff. For example, there’s a period of New Age music when it was first starting out that I find really interesting. I think when most people hear New Age music they think of ‘80s synths and 15 minute songs that are kind of like soundscapes. But there was some really cool early stuff in the mid-70s that’s straddling the line between jazz and rock. So I’ve been using some ideas from that, but I still haven’t figured out what the record can be.
Read the complete interview here.
This is most likely a result of I Am The Center.
Here are some of the most prominent reviews of I Am The Center:
The compilation was mentioned in The Guardian:
[Meanwhile], a stunningly beautiful compilation on the Light In The Attic label called I Am The Center showcases the outsider art of privately released new age music, while a reissue programme of music by new age/ambient oddballs such as Laraaji, Space Lady and Harold Budd gives you all the levitational sound you could ever need.
There is a style of music more feared and vilified than death metal, murder rap and even the complete works of Miley Cyrus: new age. Long associated with the most woolly and self-indulgent aspects of spirituality, new age has become a byword for unformed ideas and interminable washes of sound. [Subscribers can read it here.]
New York Times in their Holiday Gift Guide:
Among the most spectacularly odd and transfixing historical anthologies in recent memory, “I Am the Center” collects widely in the too often neglected area of new age music. This is soothing, sometimes disorienting music, from the dynamic harps on Joel Andrews’s “Seraphic Borealis” to the giddy flutes on Joanna Brouk’s “Lifting Off” to the breathtaking “Formentera Sunset Clouds” by the genre elder Iasos, who is also the subject of his own new stand-alone collection, “Celestial Soul Portrait” (Numero Group).
But according to Google Trends, the “New Age music” search term is falling drastically – and I Am The Center did not fix this;
So the conclusion is that I Am The Center did little to boost the popularity of New Age music in general – but it got a lot of press and it has had an impact on how music insiders look at the genre.
If you want to sample I Am The Center, go to the label’s homepage here.
Also, in order to end on a high note; here’s the Google trend graph for “Relaxing music” – which is much more positive: