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An A-Z of New Age artists
From Wiki – New-age music is broadly defined as relaxing, even "meditative", music that is primarily instrumental. Unlike relaxing forms of classical music, new-age music makes greater use of electronica and non-Western instrumentation. There is some debate on what can be considered "new-age music"; for example several musicians in Celtic music or Smooth jazz have expressed annoyance at being labeled "new-age musicians". For more on that debate, see the article on new-age music. In addition, several musicians object to the label because they fear it implies a connection to the New Age movement.”

I have been listening to Kitaro because I’m in a so-called ‘New Age’ mood – everything else is making me feel out of sorts right now. I have listened to some other stuff but it’s just not working - must be the flu! I realise that while I do know a good few of the artists Wiki lists as New Age (some very obviously), there are many that I don’t.

This is a good time to do some exploring, methinks, so here goes. I’ll work through the list of artists from A – Z (as per Wiki) and choose an album (or more than one) to listen to that has a good rating although I won’t read the reviews. I think random album picks would be illogical and might put me off unnecessarily – besides, life’s too damn short! I’m wanting great, imaginative sounds with a bit of substance and look forward to some cool discoveries …

Philip Aaberg is up first – the album, Out of the Frame from 1988 (listening to it now). It’s his second release and is on the Windham Hill label. AMG gives the album four stars and if I like it, I’ll try his Live from Montana which also seems to be well regarded. (His Wiki -

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Out of the Frame – very listenable – he’s a classically trained pianist and you tell right from the start that this is a highly accomplished and versatile keys man. There are a few other instruments that chime in now and then along with a little vocalese so it’s not altogether solo piano – percussion, violin, and oooohhh – Michael Hedges’ guitar on one track. A little, and sometimes more than a little jazzy, and not just pretty, which is a good thing IMHO – not too noodly either with the odd sonic surprise (as on “Call and Response”). Music that opens up inner worlds – it must paint a picture. All written by himself with the exception of the last track which is Abdullah Ibrahim’s “The Wedding”.

I quite like the bright optimism here, and the breadth that he seems to have infused these pieces with - not to mention the mastery (when the piano sounds like a band) so I will take the time to listen to Live from Montana which was recorded many years later – will be interesting to hear what happened next! It’s an auspicious start.  

That track with the incredible and sadly gone far too soon Mr Hedges – it’s the opener “Walking Through Walls” … ( not able to insert the links, sorry) ...

and “Call and Response”
"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
i have a couple of new-age albums on cd somewhere and i find them quite relaxing for a change of pace.

i love that album cover BTW.
They were big in the 70s....for five minutes,on a Saturday,after lunch..."  -  Me 2014.

^I'm looking for the ones that aren't just sonic wallpaper - there's a lot of that about and maybe that is why our next artist feels the way he does about the New Age label.  

It is someone with whom I am familiar and rather than reinventing the wheel, I have been very lazy and copied my post from the BOTD thread - it will be his birthday on the 16th of November.

"William Ackerman was born on this day in 1949, in Palo Alto, California. He is a composer and guitarist with around fifteen albums to his credit and was the co-founder of Windham Hill Records (along with his then girlfriend, Anne Robinson), an independent label specializing in acoustic instrumental music. This seems to have been something that happened to him purely as a result of his passion for what he was doing, and was not planned at all; it began with a group of friends clubbing together to finance him and persuading him to put an album together, and therein lies a universal truth which is played out time and time again.

He does not like the “New Age” moniker and has been known to threaten physical assault on those who suggest that that is what he does - in jest, I suspect, especially since he won a Grammy in that category for his Returning: Pieces for Guitar 1970 - 2004, although I am inclined to agree with him to some degree; just because something is gentle, acoustic and melodic, it shouldn’t necessarily be defined as New Age! Don’t we just love labels?!! Can’t understand things otherwise.

He was responsible for discovering Michael Hedges and himself adopts very similar timings in his own work. I know, that when I find something with the Windham Hill label, it’s probably going to be worth listening to. Look out for it, anyone who might be interested it’s quite distinctive. The label was bought out by Sony Music Entertainment in the early 90’s and now falls under their Legacy Recordings sector, no new music being released.

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Will, as he is known, is still producing music, now as the proprietor of Imaginary Road Studios, all of which seems to be going along swimmingly."

Today, I have listened to his Imaginary Roads album, and who should be playing on one of the tracks that made my ears prick up? None other than Mr Aaberg … there’s going to be an intertwined New Age genealogy I can tell! Ackerman is essentially a guitarist but there are other instruments here too including violin (courtesy of one Charlie Bisharat - noteworthy, I'd say), fretless bass, oboe, shakuhachi, lyricon and some synths - piano too obvs - considering Philip Aaberg's presence. It was a bit of a slow burn to begin with, but became progressively more enjoyable. I'd listen again - there's a lot to like, IMHO. On the list. 

"Floyd's Ghost"

"The Prospect Of Darrow's Barn And The Blossoms Of An Apple Spring On Imaginary Road" to give it its full title! ... and

"Brother A Teaches 7" -

"Innocent Moon" -

"If You Look - Version II", for the fiddle especially -
"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Acoustic Alchemy 

This is an ensemble that debuted in 1987 with their most recent recording in 2018 and line-up changes along the way.

It’s smooth jazz, to me – not a genre of which I am particularly fond, personally. I listened to the debut album which gets a good rating, and I can understand why from a skill and presentation point of view but it’s just not my thing, with the exception of one or two tracks and the occasional flashes of brilliance. The jolliness gets a bit wearing for my ears – the relentless salsa vibes – that sort of thing – way too cheerful for my tastes – it’s the beat and tempo, I think, that become blah blah blah eventually. And I’m not sure I would have pegged it as New Age. However, that is not to say that they are in way poor musicians – definitely not – perfectly competent and slick, and obviously there a gazillions of people out there who love this type of music and who are not curmudgeonly, unlike yours truly!

From that debut, Red Dust and Spanish Lace, “The Colonel and the Ashes” which I liked because it was not so busy – had more feeling and some nice little key changes towards the end - gotta love a well placed change of key …

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
Paul Adams - I couldn't get to grips with. Could not sit through a whole album of cheepy chirpy watery breathy sounds. It would be absolutely fine in the background at a wellness centre or something, but for me there's a limit before boredom sets in. I would imagine that this was the category together with which William Ackerman was protesting about being lumped. (Not ending a sentence with a preposition is sometimes tricky! Big Grin

So now I know - Mr Adams is well meaning, earnest, and no doubt a beautiful and spiritually advanced person - way too nice to have the likes of me commenting negatively about his creations which obviously derive from good intentions. There's a place for this type of music, for meditation etc., for sure - and someone has to devise it I guess. 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
a good way to discover new music Ruby
the a to z I mean

^Yes it is ... and maybe even some rediscovering too!

Adiemus – the brainchild of Karl Jenkins – oops make that Sir. I’d be very surprised if there was anyone who’d not heard the much played first track from the eponymously titled debut released in the name of Adiemus – Miriam Stockley’s vocals. Sir Karl uses an invented ‘language’ or vocalese for his works which seems to resonate universally – the intention, I’m sure. Oh – ok – I see now that the words, such as they are, were written phonetically so as to fit in with the orchestra and become another instrument. Music for an airline advertisement originally – it became so popular that he decided to expand on it - .

I listened to the Adiemus IV – The Eternal Knot – there are five releases in all. Very Celtic sounding album which follows, considering the title … random pick …

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
AeTopus is Bryan Tewell Hughes and I'm listening to an album he released in October this year titled Cup. What an absolutely gorgeous album cover! Wow ... love it ... 

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Oooooh - I like this - lots of electronica - could become engrossing I do believe. Going to investigate his catalogue methinks. From the sounds of it, I might have to pick up this album ... blips and beeps and all! For ease of future reference - ... 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson

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