Agharta wrote:Someone who hates a whole genre of music is not someone who's opinion I give much weight to.
As for New Age music itself like most genres it will vary a lot in style and perceived quality.
Some New Age music can be like some Ambient music in that it requires a different way of experiencing it so it's not so much foreground as background.
I think some people probably just don't get that.
Not that I'm exactly clear on what is New Age music anyway.
I listen to some meditative music some of which is very minimalist and some melodic music both of which might fall into the New Age camp.
I don't really worry about the labelling.
I wonder if some people reject New Age music because they see it as being Spiritual so linked to Religion in some way?
That might well explain your friend's reaction as much as anything.
I decided to check Wikipedia for their definition of New Age music and I found some interesting quotes from some of the artists I found there, most of whom I've heard before:Harold Budd commented how "When I hear the term 'new-age I reach for my revolver... I don't think of myself as making music that is only supposed to be in the background. It's embarrassing to inadvertently be associated with something that you know in your guts is vacuous".
Vangelis considers it a style which "gave the opportunity for untalented people to make very boring music".
Yanni stated that "I don't want to relax the audience; I want to engage them in the music, get them interested", and that "New age implies a more subdued, more relaxed music than what I do. My music can be very rhythmic, very energetic, even very ethnic".
Andreas Vollenweider noted that "we have sold millions of records worldwide before the category New Age was actually a category", and shared the concern that "the stores are having this problem with categorization".
Peter Bryant, music director of WHYY-FM (90.9) and host of a New-age program, noted that "I don't care for the term... New-age has a negative connotation... In the circles I come in contact with, people working in music, 'new-age' is almost an insult", that it refers to "very vapid, dreamy kinds of dull music... with no substance or form or interest", and that the term has "stuck".
Well, as one who began listening to "new age music" at age 17 (after listening to country music and "KISS" from about six years old until I was 13, and after starting to listen to pop from 13-17), all I knew from a consumer's standpoint is that I *loved* what I heard in the new age genre, especially the high-energy music, whether the artists found there liked that label or not. And also, whether the artists liked it or not, most of the music moved me like no other music has before. Most of my CD collection came from the New Age genre.
The person who got me interested in new age music back in 1987 also happened to be a bit of a new-age spiritualist herself. She was into Ruth Montgomery, quartz crystals, meditation, etc.... I explored New Age topics for a while, but never I never put stock in physical objects as anything that could "focus your energy" or bring you anything special. At the same time, the music I heard in the new age genre did elicit from me a vision of a kind of "new age" for the world. I think what appealed to me is that what I mostly heard was musicians using only musical instruments for expression rather than relying on a vocalist; when a vocalist is present, most of the expression comes from them and the music becomes something happening in the background. New age music allows me to focus ONLY on the music without the interference of a vocalist. And with no vocalist, the music can become more personal because what the music means can change from one person to the next. A vocalist's lyrics forces the definition of the music down your throat and you have no choice but to accept it.
New age music is engaging enough to keep me awake when I'm driving. Sometimes the constant throb of something like dance music can put me to sleep, even if I like it, but the constantly changing movements of new age music keeps me awake. And I think what fasinated me the most was the fact that the music might move along dreamily for two minutes until the beat kicks in. Anyway, I didn't know any of these artists as "contemporary instrumentalists". They were "new age", maybe because I didn't know about their disdain for the genre's name. The term stuck with me. And as I've begun getting into writing my own instrumental music, I find myself proud to think of myself as one who writes new age music because, as I said above, I've always enjoyed so much of what I've found there, whether those artists like it or not. And the ideas I have do include a beat, not just 16-bar chords with crickets, birds, and ocean waves.
Some high-energy examples are:
Mars Lasar - "Mount Olympus" and "Victory" - from Olympus
John Tesh - "A Thousand Summers" - from Tour de France
Yanni - "Street Level" and "Point of Origin" (Amazing) - from Out of Silence
Tangerine Dream - "Rockoon" - from Rockoon
Those are hardly selections that would disappear into the background.
Agharta wrote:To say that the whole of a genre is a lie is just silly to me and you could ask him what he meant.
Words can lie but how does music lie?
Well if you are feeling shitty and cynically play a happy song through gritted teeth is that a lie?
Maybe he can't believe that the people who are creating relaxing New Age music are really chilled so thinks it's a front!
lol! Well, I did once offer him a selection from Bill Douglas who did some work with Eric Stoltz (sp). He said it wasn't bad, but Bill Douglas is categorized as new age. But yes, new age, to me, encompasses many styles of music. I think if one listens to hard rock, they expect to hear lots of guitars and drums. If you listen to new age, you will also hear guitars and drums -- even distortion guitars, though there will usually be synthesizers, lush ambient chords, maybe a flute, a pennywhistle, and a harp playing along with them.
Dynamic Mike wrote:Maybe it's the fact that some of it relies upon tonality & timbre rather than composition? Much like a train running along a track is a pleasant sound, it isn't necessarily musical just because it's enjoyable to listen to. Not saying I agree, just speculating.
Yes, it almost seemed as if he was emulating some of the quotes above. It's hard to believe that music which moves one person to tears of joy can be seen as vapid or vacuous to another. I remember reading a long time ago about a guy who was on the edge of suicide until listening to Yanni's CD Keys to Imagination
, and that stopped him from killing himself. And to me, Keys to Imagination
is quite amazing!