Why new age music is more punk than you think

New Age wasn't always associated with spas and elevator rides. In the '70s, it embodied a DIY ethos as non-conformist as punk rock.
When you think New Age, do you think of the scenery on the cover of this album? (Which happens to be called: I Am The Center.) (Light In The Attic Records)

There is perhaps no style of music more mocked and loathed than New Age. The smooth synths, the wind chimes, the pan flutes — New Age has become synonymous with affluence and pampered indulgence. 

Maybe it doesn't help that the biggest star in the genre, Yanni, has the word "yawn" right in his name. 

But New Age wasn't always associated with yogis and sentimental yuppies. Back in the 70s, New Age embodied a DIY ethos every bit as non-conformist as punk rock.

Today Patrick McCarthy, project manager for Light in the Attic Records, joins Shad to remind us of the genre's radical roots. Over the past few years, his label has been reissuing forgotten New Age classics.

q: Be honest: do you have a New Age favourite? Do you think the genre deserves all the derision, or is there something special about the style?

WEB EXTRA | As clipped on air, here's Constance Demby's Om Mani Padme Hum.

Plus, here's Millennial Harbinger by Memphis guitarist Gimmer Nicholson, from the 1968 album Christopher Idylls.


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