New age music: a genre despised and misunderstood by untold numbers of music fans. Its time has finally come. Douglas McGowan’s 2013 compilation record, I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950–1990 (Light in the Attic Records), recontextualizes the genre brilliantly and has managed to catch the attention of many who previously overlooked it. Simply put, the lifestyle and content associated with new age have acted as a roadblock for secular and serious listeners. Nevertheless, if there has ever been a time for new age, it is now.
I first got into new age by exhaustively scouring every other genre that was of interest to me. In the mid 90s I was dealing in rare records, long before the internet made every obscure but substantial title in every cool genre a known, digitized collectible. My digging partner, Tony, and I would learn what was of value and quality through experience and judgment rather than social media and blogs. We eventually fell into a working relationship with an influential Japanese record dealer who introduced us to thousands of little-known but exemplary titles over the years. Before the internet, there was no easy way to procure the knowledge it took to distinguish a record that should be worth $40 from a $4 one.
Read it here.