Often times I find it difficult defining labels for types of music. It’s pretty funny considering I worked in music retail for 10 years. Although in thinking about it, it might not be so much of an inability to define a musical sound as much as me personally bristling at attempting to apply super specific labels to music that can preemptively dissuade someone from giving an album a listen, or give up trying to find it in a store. I prefer broad strokes; rock, rap, country, classical, dance, etc., etc. What is really accomplished by going crazy with the genres? Can’t we safely say that alternative, punk, and heavy metal are rock? Do I really need to see a bluegrass mini section within the country music section? Should I have to wonder if Simon & Garfunkel are rock or folk? And what does that mean for finding Paul Simon as a solo artist? I think you get what I’m trying to say here, right?
I started thinking about all of this when I decided that I was going to mention friend of The Buffet, Paul Avgerinos’ new album “Bliss” here on the site. Paul Avgerinos creates “New Age” music. I began to wonder if all it took to be classified as New Age was that the music was relaxing. Is my Sa Ding Ding album New Age? What about the Atman cd? Surely the “Pure Moods” cds I own are New Age. But wait! Those albums have songs from Moby and Peter Gabriel on them. Those two artists aren’t New Age, are they? All of those artists, albums, and more (including Paul Avgerinos) live in my “Relaxation” playlist on my iPod. Is that enough for them all to be New Age?
Like all matters such as these I turn to the anonymous peeps at Wikipedia to help a sister out, “New Age music is music of various styles intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, and reading as a method of stress management or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments, and is often associated with environmentalism and New Age spirituality.
The harmonies in New Age music are generally modal, consonant, or include a drone bass. The melodies are often repetitive, to create a hypnotic feeling, and sometimes recordings of nature sounds are used as an introduction to a track or throughout the piece. Pieces of up to thirty minutes are common.
New Age music includes both electronic forms, frequently relying on sustained synch pads or long sequencer-based runs, and acoustic forms, featuring instruments such as flutes, piano, acoustic guitar and a wide variety of non-western acoustic instruments.
Vocal arrangements were initially rare in New Age music but as it has evolved vocals have become more common, especially vocals featuring Native American, Sanskrit, or Tibetan influenced chants, or lyrics based on mythology such as Celtic legends or the realm of Faerie.” And that sounds as good as I could hope with regards to defining New Age music.
All of this is just a really wordy, rambling lead in to me telling you guys that Paul Avgerinos has a new album out called “Bliss” and if you like “New Age” music or just music to relax and reflect to, you should consider checking it out.