And You Thought New Age Music Was All Schlock

Various Artists
I Am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America, 1950-1990
Light in the Attic

New Age music is often associated with spacy sounds and pseudo-mystical hokum, but the intriguing I Am the Center offers a more nuanced perspective. While this two-disc, 20-track set doesn’t entirely escape the slack blandness of New Age clichés, there’s startling diversity to be found in the self-released efforts of these intrepid souls, most of them dating from the ’70s and ’80s. Employing everything from synthesizer and harp, to violin and electric piano, to autoharp and (of course) flute, the oozing songs range in length from two to 13 minutes and may well induce a state of altered consciousness in receptive listeners. Among the highlights: Thomas de Hartmann’s spooky piano sonata “The Struggle of the Magician Part Three,” written by the guru Gurdjieff; the unearthly tones of what might be guitar on Wilburn Burchette’s “Witch’s Will”; and the mind-melting analog synths of Don Slepian’s “Awakening.” Even the lesser entries on I Am the Center testify to the admirably enterprising spirit of idiosyncratic artists who value self-expression above commercial potential. Now where did I leave my mantra?

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.