Monday, March 29, 2010

New Age and Electronic Artists That I Like

I may be a guitar player, but I do not limit myself to listening to guitar music. I have long enjoyed listening to what is “new age” or “space” music. The kind you may hear as the soundtrack for an i-max film, or being played as background music in a store. This is not the pop –leanings of Yanni or John Tesh kind of music.
(I don’t mean to pick on Yanni. I met him when he was still in a rock band in Minnesota. He was a nice guy to chat with. I just don’t care for what he has done musically ever since.)

This is the kind of music that can take your mind to other places and give you inspiration.

Many years ago, PBS radio had a program called “Music from the Hearts of Space.” I taped many of those shows. Some of the artists I like are:

Steve Roach – a long time favorite, who has collaborated with many artists and has an exstensive catalog of music. From his website: Recognized worldwide as one of the leading innovators of contemporary electronic music, his body of work is approaching 75 solo and collaborative releases since 1981, including the 1997 award-winning live-studio masterpiece ON THIS PLANET (Fathom), 1998's critically acclaimed THE MAGNIFICENT VOID (Fathom), the time-traveling EARLY MAN (Projekt) and a number of albums that are considered classics of the genre, most notably the ground-breaking double CD DREAMTIME RETURN (Fortuna, 1988). Many of Roach's early works have stood the test of time, drawing a new generation of fans who are only beginning to discover the vast territory of sonic innovation of this uncompromising artist. Roach's music often shape-shifts into many forms, from serene sound meditations to what is described by critic Dwight Loop as "techno-tribal music for the global village", blending the visceral sounds he designs on synthesizers and samplers with the primordial rhythms of ethnic percussion and other exotic instruments, including the Australian didgeridoo.

Jon Jenkins – a recent discovery on LastFM.  His "The Calling" is the number one spot on the LastFM site. All of the songs are there to enjoy. Wonderfully relaxing music.

Jonn Serrie - one of the more popular new-age artists. I have many of his CD’s, with Flightpath being my favorite.I would listen to this on my long bus ride to work and hear lyrics going through my head, which were forgotten soon after.

From his website: "Jonn Serrie's visionary compositional skills have revolutionized today's contemporary electronic music. He creates a unique approach by combining the timeless depths of space with spiritual musical vision, spanning the universe."

He does wander around with styles, from spacy to romantic jazz to religious-themed releases.

Brian Eno – been listening to since “Music for Films” came out in the 70’s. Put on “The Pearl” and find yourself in a whole different dimension. The Pearl is his collaboration with ambient/avant-garde composer Harold Budd.  “Music for Airports” was very well known as was “Apollo  (Atmospheres & Soundtracks)” which was used as a sound track for "For All Mankind.".

Lately, “An Ascent” was popular on the web when Maya Lin used it as a soundtrack for "Chopping a Tree", a short video that is part of her  "What is Missing" campaign.

Lastly, here is one of my favorite musicians in the world, Mark Isham. Mark has done many soundtracks for films, including “Crash”,  "The Cooler", "Majestic", "Little Man Tate", "Never Cry Wolf" and many more. In addition, his solo disc, Castalia, is still one of my favorites today. Mark is probably not in the new age category, but his music comes close and I felt like writing about him.

He is well-versed in many types of music, and has worked with David Torn, Michael Shrieve, Andy Summers, and many others. You have probably heard his soundtrack music and did not even realize it.

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