"New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.
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Ambient / Downtempo Discussion of music similar to Brian Eno, Sigur Rós, FSOL, The Orb, Biosphere.

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Old 24-05-2015, 01:12 AM   #1
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"New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

To explain myself a bit better I'll use an example everybody should understand, new age being Tim Hecker-esque stuff and old school being Brian Eno/Aphex Twin(?)-esque stuff. I don't think it's fair to call one inherently better than the other, but in your own personal opinion which one do you prefer and why?

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Old 24-05-2015, 01:58 AM   #2
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

I like both styles, as they offer a different listening experience to each other. I tend to play / listen to and compose / produce "Hecker-esque stuff" late at night, while anything like Eno or Mr. James' work I listen to / play / compose / produce during the day..it's always been that way for me, as those two styles seem to fit my frame of mind bes tat those times.

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Old 24-05-2015, 02:11 AM   #3
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

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Originally Posted by A.M View Post
I like both styles, as they offer a different listening experience to each other. I tend to play / listen to and compose / produce "Hecker-esque stuff" late at night, while anything like Eno or Mr. James' work I listen to / play / compose / produce during the day..it's always been that way for me, as those two styles seem to fit my frame of mind bes tat those times.
Funnily enough it's the other way around for me haha, I have a playlist with a bunch of SAW2 type stuff I tend to play at night. But yeah, I can definitely enjoy both equally as much depending on whatever kind of mood i'm in at the time.

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Old 24-05-2015, 03:45 AM   #4
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

I like the stuff that came after both, like Spacetime Continuum's Sea Biscuit type of stuff. Or Moby's ambient album or the Chillout album by KLF or other "chillout" compilations done in the early 2000s like the one Jo Bogaert piloted.

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Old 24-05-2015, 05:01 AM   #5
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

New age has been around for just about as long as ambient has. And to this day, there's still no difference between the two.
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Old 24-05-2015, 05:15 AM   #6
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

I dont know, is Enya ambient or is Enya New Age? I'd say Enya is New Age.

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Old 24-05-2015, 09:38 AM   #7
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

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New age has been around for just about as long as ambient has. And to this day, there's still no difference between the two.
Well I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but 'Music for Airports' sounds completely different to 'Virgins' right?

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Old 24-05-2015, 10:44 AM   #8
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

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New age has been around for just about as long as ambient has. And to this day, there's still no difference between the two.
New age tries to carry some kind of 'spiritual' meaning maybe?
I prefer no meaning whatsoever
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Old 24-05-2015, 12:09 PM   #9
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

i don't what's the usage of this particular dichotomy , but yes there are these different schools of ambient music. I've never been quite much fan of new age, though i have a deep profound passion for ambient like Steve Roach, Alio Die, stars of the lid, robert rich, Boc Scadet etc...

with the right intent applied, music like that turns to be something much more than just musical listenting experience, rather a psychosomatical tool for mediation and contemplation. , it's my agent for altered psychedelic states, a sonic entheogen of its zenny way

any way,

i trully love Steve Roach' music,

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Old 24-05-2015, 07:31 PM   #10
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

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Originally Posted by Unlike Noise View Post
New age tries to carry some kind of 'spiritual' meaning maybe?
I prefer no meaning whatsoever
"Ambient" and "New Age" are two terms that emerged from the late 1970s, one coined by Brian Eno and the other derived from some of the musicians that were tied to the actual New Age spiritual movement and making music according to those principles.

I actually think "New Age" is somewhat of a dated term -- it was even in the 1980s, where all the Windham Hill stuff etc. were lumped into the "New Age" category, even if they had nothing to do with the spiritual movement whatsoever. (Enya included -- she really is more of an atmospheric Celtic pop style.)

Now, a fair bit of the early guys *were* definitely aligned or at least thought in the same direction as that movement, hence the reason for the name -- Paul Winter, for instance, was a big pacifist / environmentalist type; Ray Lynch followed Adi Da Samraj; Steve Halpern marketed his minimal, healing music specifically at the yoga and health food store crowd; the "Mind Body Spirit Festival" that Steve Hillage recorded Rainbow Dome Musick for is very much a New Age aligned festival (that still exists today); etc.

I don't know too many newer ambient musicians with explicit ties to the New Age movement today.

For Tim Hecker, I Googled and the only consistent name people have come up with Tim Hecker's style is "drone". Which isn't quite right to me, but okay. He kind of doesn't fit a clear genre to me: a little bit of the minimal side of IDM to the left, some of the so called "post-rock" influence and more ambient counterparts like Stars of the Lid on the right.

Ambient would fit. The nice thing about the term "ambient" is that its become a pretty generic term and can accommodate a lot of styles. The closest named "New Age" artists I can think of to Hecker are either ones more appropriately lumped in the "space music" category (like Rich and Roach), or some of the earlier New Age artists that went off in a deeper direction than typical (Iasos for instance). By "close" I mean "sort of", no older New Age artist has that IDM/lo-fi/glitch/minimal/new experimental mindframe the current new wave of ambient musicians has. While also not terribly close, Hecker's way closer to Aphex Twin than most of the other older New Age artists.

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Old 25-05-2015, 03:49 PM   #11
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

Drone has always been the worst tag for music. Anything ambient is going to have drones.

New age is pretty much the christian rock to rock music, if rock music were ambient. Dogma, karma, occult, whatever stupidity had been consuming people at the time.
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Old 28-05-2015, 07:26 PM   #12
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

enya is god tier, like GOD tier
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:44 AM   #13
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

the difference is usually drugs , hate to say that but much early 90's ambient was acid and tripping music or for stoners , new age stuff or early stuff was more about meditation and relaxation music and written for those scenes , there was some cross over ....still is.You then have in betweens , someone like Harold Buss or eno's early stuff , David Sylvians deeper stuff , more contemporary art scene music or a little bubble of its own.

I personally relate newage music to that really bad themes shit like celtic stones and dolphins or magic stone circles , real bland and sacarine music , newage early on was actually quite interesting , usually very harmonious but way less superficial than the later stuff which just went more and more ' how cna we theme releases and sell them ' .....when new age music started selling in garden centres it was done
but the early early stuff or some is stll more ' ambient ' , less themes , somewhere a little off enos On land at times or some of his work , less depth.

Maybe depth is the key ?i tend to think of ambient as music with some depth and sense of genuine space or imagination , sometimes trippy sometimes stoner music , often some colour and both harmony and dissonance and extreme newage music as none of those things , superficial , bland , just to sweet all the time and like a fake iced cake with dolphins on the top and a sponge thats made of hot air.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:00 AM   #14
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

I think it's a bit silly to split ambient into old-age and new-age.

Look at Brian Eno's Apollo Soundtrack, and compare that to Tim Hecker's Ravedeath 1972.
The former is the soundtrack to a space landing, and the latter is the soundtrack to the "death of music".
Is it really right to say that there are obvious artistic differences between the two? That one has more 'depth' than the other? I'd say that's a pointless discussion.

Even Eno's Music For Airports can be interpreted as having equal artistic depth to conceptual 'new age' ambient music.
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Old 11-12-2015, 04:58 AM   #15
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

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Originally Posted by LoudestLaughter View Post
I think it's a bit silly to split ambient into old-age and new-age.

Look at Brian Eno's Apollo Soundtrack, and compare that to Tim Hecker's Ravedeath 1972.
The former is the soundtrack to a space landing, and the latter is the soundtrack to the "death of music".
Is it really right to say that there are obvious artistic differences between the two? That one has more 'depth' than the other? I'd say that's a pointless discussion.

Even Eno's Music For Airports can be interpreted as having equal artistic depth to conceptual 'new age' ambient music.
To each their own..the OP asked, ".. but in your own personal opinion which one do you prefer and why?"..everything said here is in that light..we each expressing our personal opinion..which is a totally different thing from "a pointless discussion". As you said yourself, "Even Eno's Music For Airports can be interpreted as having equal artistic depth to conceptual 'new age' ambient music", which is your opinion.

I don't think any of us who have posted have tried to define anything in absolute terms or imposed any sort of hard and fast rules about what is or isn't ambient music. It is what it is to each of us..the various genres and sub-genres already exist..and will continue to be, long after we're all dead and gone.

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Old 11-12-2015, 05:10 AM   #16
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

I just want to chime in and say that I am always amazed at just how intricate Ambient music really is. For a style that is minimal in terms of production, It's design is anything but mundane. I would have to say the older stuff that borders on the fringe of drone. Like this:


And just to throw this out there: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]

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Old 11-12-2015, 09:28 AM   #17
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

I had not heard of Tim Hecker before, so had to listen to Ravedeath. I was aware to Robert Rich, Stever Roach, Brian Eno, and Tangerine Dream.

I have to say that I like the atmospheric stuff more, but it's really hard to draw firm distinctions. Apollo is a great artistic piece of music that captures the awe of the time. In general, I am drawn to Ambient for its introspective feel and the calm, slow serenity it takes me to. There are more rhythmic versions, though and I would consider Atom Heart, Pete Namlook, and Gas in that category. That's some of my favorite ambient. Mostly because of the sounds they use. When it comes to more serene stuff, Biosphere or Frank Bretschneider come to mind. Sparse instrumentation to me is key and if there is rhythm, it should be gradual, slow and mellow. As in Pete Namlook Phantom Heart Brother or Arc/Mystical Appearance on Air.

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Old 11-12-2015, 10:21 AM   #18
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

isn't new-age that pseudo-meditative music, sometimes with beats, that is very inspired by hinduism, South Asia and Middle East culture? I'm thinking about Delerium, Conjure One and Enigma. This is where I saw "new-age" labeled as a separate genre for the first time. That and that thing called "worldbeat". If you go to youtube and search for new-age music you will get hours of such "relaxing/meditative" mixes with pictures of people doing yoga. It's pretty much EXACTLY the same synth-based "old school" ambient and I don't see any much of big difference of what is what. Let's call new-age "yogambient" for now on.

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Old 11-12-2015, 10:23 AM   #19
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

old-school:

new-age:


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Old 11-12-2015, 06:02 PM   #20
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Re: "New Age" vs "Old School" Ambient music.

Yep it's all marketing, and the thing is I can see like 50 years from now that Eno's fashion affectations in the photo above will look just as ridiculous as the photo below...

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