Best of Narada New Age (2-CD Set)

November 6, 2014 - Comment

The term New Age has received more than its fair share of derision over the years, and not without reason. Much of the genre offers passionate instrumental music, but much of it is also watered-down, easy-listening variations of other genres and forms. This two-for-one compilation of music released by Narada over the last 20 years

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The term New Age has received more than its fair share of derision over the years, and not without reason. Much of the genre offers passionate instrumental music, but much of it is also watered-down, easy-listening variations of other genres and forms. This two-for-one compilation of music released by Narada over the last 20 years presents both sides of the schism. Ironically, the best music here is more of the international variety than contemporary instrumental, including Greg Ellis’s percussion and voice tapestry from his solo album, Kala Rupa, Axiom of Choice ‘s modern Persian fusion on “Parvaz (Flight),” and Kazu Matsui’s atmospheric Asian soundscapes. Some more-traditional pieces stand out as well, including the title track from David Arkenstone’s debut, Valley in the Clouds, and Jonn Serrie and Gary Stroutsos’s dreamy, ethnoambient “Hidden World.”

The 22 tracks compiled here are a 50-50 proposition, however. Many entries–like the neo-flamenco of Jesse Cook, the piano stylings of Michael Jones, the smooth jazz of Budi Siebert–lean toward the syrupy side of the genre. Further, some of the label’s best artists–specifically, Peter Buffett, Peter Maunu (who released a memorable solo album in 1990), and Vas (drummer Ellis’s main project)–are not represented here, although that may be because releases by those first two artists are, sadly, out-of-print. This is a decent Narada sampler, but certainly not the best the label has had to offer. –Bryan Reesman

Comments

Steven E. Blake says:

The compiler did not read the album title 0

dallas says:

Soothing 0

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