New-age music was made mainly as a way to help the listeners have a relaxing experience with a standard tempo, without any changes or abrupt interruptions. One could listen to this music and get lost in thought. This ambient music was also played in places like stores and airports to set a pleasant ambience. But where is it all begin? How did New-age music come into existence? Was it the need for peace within that lead to the emergence of a new genre? Let’s find out.
In the 1960s, there was a movement where the metaphysics of religion and spirituality gained traction. Theosophy edging towards the east to study about Hinduism and Buddhism brought in many schools of thought about consciousness and reality. People sought spiritual fulfilment and started practising meditation, yoga and other methods as alternative healing of the mind and body. These activities needed a soothing background track to help people get into the zone and relax. This was when it all started.
At first, New-age music did not get the attention it deserves. The artists were forced to start their production and sell these tracks to small shops and stores as ambient music tracks. This is how this genre gained demand, and the recording companies began promoting the music. New-age music has inspired artists from various genres like Folk- instrumentalists, classic avant-garde, minimalists, jazz artists etc.
‘Music for Zen meditation’ is regarded as one of the first recordings of this genre. The followers of Osho were into meditation, and there were music albums made exclusively for this purpose. ‘Aum’ is one such popular album that had the mixture of the sound of the waves of the sea and electronic and acoustic instrumental music. ‘Missa Gaia/Earth Mass’ celebrates the sacredness of the sea, sky and land, it is considered a masterpiece of this genre.
New-age music became more popular in Japan. For the kind of instrumental music Japan could produce, it could be termed as ‘relaxing’ and ‘healing’. The first New-age music concert was held in LA in 1989. A radio show exclusively for New-age music was founded, and the other employees were asked to refer to them as ‘mood service’ as their music helped everyone there.
New-age music has no barrier
New-age music is often misunderstood and criticised only because it is considered as a genre of music itself. Even some artists have disregarded it as a genre as they think that it is effortless and easy. They say music has no language and it should be loved for the very nature of it. This holds good for new-age music as it can be made by all cultures as peace is a universal language.