I will rarely be found at vegan store or a health food emporium. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with beetroot leaf yoghurt or paying $20 for an aubergine. No, it’s because it’s usually frequented by self righteous new age hippies and middle class parents – moaning on about how they weaved their own trousers from fluff they found in a gutter whilst listening to new age music that re-centred their chakras.
Fortunately the tracks on Light in the Attic’s ‘I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America 1950-1990′ are tracks you’re not likely to hear playing in your local Whole Foods store.
I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America, 1950-1990 is the first major anthology to survey the golden age of ‘New Age’ and reveal the unbelievable truth about the genre.
I Am The Center, is a reverberation of psychedelic music, and great by any standard. This is analog, handmade music communicating soul and spirit, often done on limited means and without commercial potential, self-published and self-distributed. It is the domain of outsider artists, eccentrics and experimentalists. Before it became big business and devolved into the spaced out elevator music we know and loathe today, this was the real thing.
This album is a beautiful example of lovingly compiled homemade ambient music. You will even find the second track featuring in the soundtrack of Bladerunner. Ambient music is having a resurgence and rightly so. In recent releases from The Black Dog, Oneohtrix Point Never, Kompakts pop ambient series, Emeralds, there are similarities to 80s new age music, and chillwave artists, although the likes of The Orb and Thomas Fehlmann would argue that ambient’s popularity or relevance has never gone away. The Black Dog’s ‘Real Music for Airports’ challenges Eno’s original utopian vision and is in many ways more effective in realising and expressing the sounds and feeling of airports.
In this time of information overload and rampant technological overstimulation, new age music has been making a modest comeback. People are finding that it helps them disengage from the chaos of everyday life and re-focus on the internal. To just plain relax. From a therapeutic as well as a historical perspective, I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America 1950-1990 couldn’t have come at a better time.
I am the Center is beautifully packaged in a 3 LP box set.