Tell them it’s the New Age

Tell them it’s the New Age

By Matt Love

I have always had a bit of affinity for new-age music. I like the pretty melodies and relaxing arrangements. I’ve always loved harps, for example. I have been undertaking composing my own relaxing music (there are hundreds of examples here: https://soundcloud.com/egregious) but I make no claims that listening to this music will improve your health or your spiritual life. Indeed, I don’t know what a spirit is, I rather feel like I’m a sack of meat (getting more past its pull date all the time) with a lump of chemical drenched fat inside my head that compels me to do things I don’t understand, and that have no value that I can discern (composing hundreds of pieces of relaxing music, for example). I’m not much of a joiner, so I’ve never tried to be part of the New Age music community. I think of my music as “easy listening” or perhaps “neo-easy listening” so they surely wouldn’t want me.

Still, I am fascinated by this community, so I welcome an opportunity to present an overview of the field by a guy who has inside information, but also an outside perspective. I really enjoyed it, and I hope you do too.

The Dawning of the Age of Asparagus

By Thus Elf

Guest writer

Harmony and Understanding, Sympathy and Love Abounding, Dig it!

What is known and agreed to about New Age music is that those who are playing it know they are playing it, and those that are listening to it know they are listening to it. There is but one rule: Thou must groove most mellow.

That is about it, you can be electronic, you can be an acappella fellah, you can chant with your drum, you can just hum with the cosmic light, you can sing with the whales, you can ring your bell once and let it reverberate for a thousand years, you can take a crystal sound bath, you can play your sitar or your banjo, you can throb with the mellow heartbeat, you can have absolutely no pulse or beat (for the ambient textural soundscape thing), you can sit on your zafu and meditate in your ashram, and you can party with the elves and satyrs in the deep dark forest. That is not all, the list of the New Age has no end, the only thing that makes it New Age is that you must groove mellow. That means quiet meditation. It must help you to slow your pulse down in a healthful way and help you to overcome your natural anxiety, which is naturally generated by becoming increasingly aware of your eminent doom. New Age music has many physical health benefits going for it, it has peace, it has clarity, and it has the peaceful easy feelings, man.

It started in the 1960s, man. The New Age was groovy and mellow in opposition to The Man, the war, the pigs, the ogres, the straights, the squares, and all the bad guys. You know who I mean, those others who are not us. This really pissed off The Man, the warriors, the pigs, the ogres, and all those bad guys, and lo, this was immensely satisfying for the New Age crowd. They still smirk: “Take that! You uptight so-and-so, watch me live with love in my heart for all my good long life and grow older, much older than thee!”

Scholars can tell you that New Age isn’t really new. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, occultist influences including the work of Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer, as well as the ideas of Spiritualism, New Thought, Theosophy and the UFO religions of the 1950s, all did their part in preparing the way for our Astrological Cycles and the Age of Aquarius New Age. So let’s get back to that defining musical mellow groove.

In doing his part in defining this sound, Lee Underwood has said that this music is known to yield “emotional, psychological, and spiritual nourishment. It offers peace, joy, bliss, and the opportunity to discover within ourselves our own highest nature.”

Steven Halpern took many a turn at defining New Age music, here is my fave: “True New Age music will take you out of yourself, evoking a different spectrum of responses than other music. You won’t necessarily see colors more vividly or hear more acutely (although some listeners have experienced this), but your body may feel lighter and your general mood will be uplifted and refreshed.” (from The New Age Music Guide by Patti Jean Birosik)

Yea, Wikipedia saith: New-age is a genre of music intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. Music for yoga, massage, meditation, a method of stress management, to create a peaceful atmosphere in the home or other environments, and is associated with environmentalism and New Age spirituality. Tony Scott’s “Music for Zen Meditation” (1964) is considered to be the first new-age recording. New Age is a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that rapidly grew in the Western world during the 1970s. Despite its highly eclectic nature, a number of beliefs commonly found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age typically adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self.

Thus this causes every other established form of religion to scream BLASPHEMY! FRY YOU PAGANS…

Thus once again, many New Age musicians and music lovers often shun the moniker New Age.

So, there is The New Age movement and the New Age music. No, wait, what I meant was that there is The Music and the Nude Age. No. Wait! Wait, what I really mean is there is the new old spiritual rebirth and there is a soundtrack for it.

Thou must be mellow. Other than that there are no rules, you can be a new wiccian or an ancient silent bald monk, you can have hair down to your knees, get it caught in the trees, make a nest for fleas, a home for birds, there ain’t no words…

There ain’t no hard line, by that I intend to say that there are no absolutes. You can pick and choose from the smorgasbord of world religions, salvation a la carte. How about a little more of the “love each other” and some of this flavorful “thou shalt.” Oh, you don’t like the shalt? Well, we have plenty of shoulds and coulds, and woulds. Mix and match, pile high your plate and be your own priest, bless this mess. If it feels good, do it. What could possibly go wrong?

(That might be a good subject for my next essay-diatribe-testimonial-message-rant.)

To dig the New Age, you just gotta get your mellow on. This is before punk rock, before The Stooges, before the Sex Pistols, before the angry angsty rock stuff that came in the 1970s 1980s 1990s… Those later fellers got off on being angry, destroying passers-by, and otherwise venomously venting. They have their youthful reasons. They came along and left their mark. Now they are all old too. Smirk.

Naturally, when there is a movement, there are counter-movements. To some, New Age means sleepy vanilla noodles. BORING!!! In the old record stores (remember record stores?), New Age meant everything that is not rock, jazz, classical, or something you can dance to. (Actually, there are New Age forms of rock, jazz, classical, EDM and all that, etc. stuff too.) New Age is an umbrella under which you place the mellow music that does not fit anywhere else. Except please, none of that syrupy sticky slimy artificial stuff. No Muzak allowed?

New Age is not agreed upon within itself, except for the mellow. Many who are found in the New Age legion eagerly reject the name New Age, and they each have their own genre to distinguish their music from the others. This is tolerated. Let them be mellow and come up with their new names. Earth Music. Ambient Spiritual Music. Healing Music. Hippy Music. Kosmische musik.

Since the philosophy is too ambiguous to provide perfect definitions, let us turn to science. The mellow groove has lots of science, man. This was before the concept of gender neutrality became popularly understood. Everyone was called “man.” Now everyone is called “dude.” The more things change, the more they say the same. Dig it.

Dr. Gervasia Schrekenberg, a neurobiologist, and Dr. Harvey Bird, a physicist, explored the premise that disharmonious music might affect any mammalian brain, including the human brain.

The Acid Tests: what does LSD uh, mean? Did I just say that out loud? Did you ever look at your hands, man? I mean really look into your hands, into the skin at the little tiny cells, deep into your hands…

Weed – it’s legal now! In some places, it is more legal than others. Check with your local authorities. The thing about music when you get high, EVERYTHING sounds GREAT! What was I talking about? Oh yeah. New Age science.

The 1973 San Francisco Comet Kohoutek Fest brought together another wave of eager new minds to absorb the cosmic message of peaceful love and lovable pieces.

Dr. Hans Jenny documented in his book Cymatics, the effects of sound on solids, liquids, and gases. One can actually see photographs of the effects of vibes.

Psychotronic Research Group: John Diamond, M.D., and Patrick Flanagan, among others, have shown that the “vibrational” (emotional or physical) state of the artists when composing or recording can affect your response to the music.

Science confirms the fact that the dominant resonant frequency of our planet – approximately 7.83 to 8 hertz (cycles per second) – is also the natural resonating frequency of a human body at rest or in a “balanced” state.

Music of the Spheres: The metaphysical principle that mathematical relationships express qualities of energy that manifest in numbers, visual angles, shapes, and sounds–all connected within a pattern of proportion.

Schumann Resonance and the 8 Hz groove: Schumann resonances, named after physicist Winfried Otto Schumann, are global electromagnetic resonances, generated and excited by lightning discharges in the cavity formed by the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere.

Space music has no other home, and it sure has no use for all those chanting hippies and religious types, but it does fit in with the “anti-frantic” vibe. Stephen Hill founded the new-age radio show Hearts of Space in 1973. Other new-age-specialty radio programs included Forest’s Musical Starstreams and John Diliberto’s Echoes. Today, new-age music flourishes on streaming sites like Spotify and Tidal. Thus, “space music” belongs in the New Age rodeo.

THE NEW AGE CLASSICS: Kitaro, Andreas Vollenweider, Vangelis, C. H. Deuter, Klaus Schulze, Paul Horn, Suzanne Doucet, Steven Halpern, Brian Eno, and Paul Winter. Dean Evenson. Irv Teibel’s Environments series. Windham Hill. Lawrence Ball, Karunesh, Krishna Das, Deva Premal, Bhagavan Das, Snatam Kaur. Yanni, Enya, Clannad, Enigma…

NOWSVILLE IN THE NEW AGE:

Shunia – https://shuniasound.com/

Simrit – https://simritkaurmusic.com/

Mirabai Ceiba – https://www.mirabaiceiba.com

Steve Roach – https://www.steveroach.com/

Robert Rich – https://robertrich.com/

Michael Stribley – http://leela-music.com/

Who else am I leaving out?

FOOTLINKS FOR A DEEPER DIVE

Emanuel Swedenborg

https://swedenborg.com/emanuel-swedenborg/about-life/

Franz Mesmer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Mesmer

Spiritualism

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/20/seances-and-science

New Thought

https://www.newthoughtwisdom.com/about-new-thought.html

Theosophy

UFO religions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO_religion

Lee Underwood

http://lu.zee-whiteddesignery.com/LU-Remote/Home.html

Steven Halpern

Tony Scott “Music for Zen Meditation”

Punk Rock (open for argument here)

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/40-greatest-punk-albums-of-all-time-75659/

Muzak

Dr. Gervasia Schrekenberg and Dr. Harvey Bird

https://www.essays24.com/essay/Music-Programs-Should-Be-Kept/8457.html

Acid Tests

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_Tests

Festival in Honor of Comet Kohoutek in 1973

Dr. Hans Jenny, “Cymatics”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Jenny_(cymatics)

Psychotronic Research Group

Music of the Spheres

http://www.sensorystudies.org/picture-gallery/spheres_image/

Schumann Resonance

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/gallery/schumann-resonance.html

Steven Hill “Hearts of Space”

https://www.hos.com/shbio.html

Forest “Musical Starstreams”

John Diliberto “Echoes”

https://echoes.org/

Egregious Entertainment

Matt Love — Chief Executive Officer

Michelle Rules — Vice President

Haruna Paul — Producer

Jude Garcia — Editorial Assistant

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