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It's not "new age", but what is it?

10/23/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music

Over the last number of years, a new stylistic movement of music has come of age. It's rock influenced, but not rock. It tends towards being instrumental, but not exclusively. It has aspects of worldbeat, but it's not part of that either. It's sometimes described as "electronica" but that's truly more of a harsher, less organic sound, albeit reliant on synthesised instruments too. It's not prog-rock but borrows elements of that too. It's not trance even though it adopts some of the beat.

My usual standby of allmusic.com seems to be as confused about it as I am as it sticks the related groups into all the different categories. Even those who create it seem uncertain -- one of the albums says on the back "file under pop."

Invariably it gets shoved under the generic catch-all of "New Age." Alas, to me, that conjures up images of ambient sound washes (y'know, the endless CDs of nature sounds like whales bellowing, bird calls or waves crashing to some aimless harp music.) It's not; it's just too restless a group of music for that.

Here's the list of bands I throw into this category. Maybe you have a better idea.

Afrocelt Sound System
Billy Currie
Sacred Spirit
Tom Vedvik

On the edges, I'd toss in some the more recent Mike Oldfield, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre, traditional electronic artists heading towards a less harsh synth-based sound. I'd be inclined to throw the KLF's "Chill Out" in here too even though it sits as uncomfortably with this lot as anywhere else.



Comment from: Bryan Ewert [Visitor]
Bryan Ewert

For a while I was tagging these artists with the genre “Enigma.” For me it all really started in 1990 - or rather “MCMXC A.D.". I was later drawn to Moodswings (1992’s “Moodfood") and Delerium ("Semantic Spaces,” 1994) specifically because their style closely paralleled the musical experience introduced with Crétu’s Gregorian chants. And hey - “enigma” really does fit as a description, doesn’t it?

10/29/06 @ 10:56
Comment from: Adam [Member]  

:) Oddly enough, I’d agree with that statement. Any other bands that you would slot into the general category that I didn’t mention?

10/29/06 @ 18:02
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