I know that the term “New Age” is a little bit…hipster, to say the least..but, I want to talk about a style that is totally different from the others I covered so far,
A style that incorporates delicate sounds, sweet strummings, arpeggios, melodic textures, and often the use of chorus and/or flanger effects…
In this article I don’t want to follow the “timeline-history” logic, but I prefer to write as the ideas come to my mind, especially because I think that this style is limited to just a few important bands, one of them being Cocteau Twins–
a Scottish band who, in the post punk-new wave years, emerged from the others, developing something unique: ethereal voices on a texture sound, liquid, with Robin Guthrie giving us thousands of good vibes with his Maj7, Maj9 chords, played in a simple, but effective way…listen to Pandora and the soft, warm tones that come out of that guitar…a few effects, the right chords, and we’re in heaven..
Listen to Carolyn’s fingers delicate arpeggios- a song that influenced many musicians, who started a band, and contributed to create new subgenres like “Dream Pop” or ElectroLounge…bands like Dubstar, Sigur Ros, Boards of Canada …
The subgenre Electronic Lounge Music, popular thanks to the famous Buddha Bar in Paris, Cafe del Mar (Ibiza) and a few others trendy Lounge Bars in big cities, inspired many musicians and producers (including myself) to create the most diverse music heard from the late 90s to present day.
They are also influenced by Impressionism, (a movement among various composers in Western classical music, mainly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries)- and this example, Gymnastics (Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie)
Althought they often add some darker moods in their compositions, we can find more than one example of “chillout music” ante-litteram, coming from a mix of Folk and Country: listen to the wonderful textures created by different guitars : A Pillow of Winds, with both acoustic arpeggios and single lines played with the slide technique (I suppose with a bottleneck or a steel guitar-but there’s work with the volume knob or volume pedal, in order to modify the attack of the notes and obtain a “violin”-like effect). On a different note, check also the lyrics of this beautiful song, it’s pure poetry in music.
We can also find this kind of serenity in the first part of the song Us and Them with its wonderful arpeggios based on chords that change, while the bass plays a “pedal point” in D (in other words, it remains the same)