These four albums from very early in Aeoliah's career - the early to mid 1980's - offer some superb new age ambient music. They're examples of just how good the early American new age music could be, before the bigger record labels caught the wave in the late 80's and the sounds dissipated into bloodless relaxation muzak.

artist:
Aeoliah

country of origin:
Germany/USA

style(s):
New age, ambient, sacred, ethno-ambient

decades active:
80's - 10's

essential releases:

  • Inner Sanctum (1981, Helios/Oreade)
  • The Light Of Tao (1982, Helios/Oreade)
  • Majesty (1984, Helios/Oreadde)
  • Angel Love (1985, Helios/Oreade)

Reviewed by Mike G

Walk into any new age bookshop or browse an online healing music store and you'll see loads of album titles with covers like these. If the packaging of Aeoliah's albums is anything to go by, it would be easy to dismiss them as the work of just another new age troubadour with his hands on a keyboard and his head in the clouds.

And yet, appearences can be so very deceptive. These four albums from very early in his career - the early to mid 1980's - offer some superb new age ambient music. They're examples of just how good the early American new age music could be, before bigger record labels and talentless hucksters caught the wave in the late 80's and the sounds dissipated into either commercial blandness or bloodless relaxation muzak.

Like all the best new age, these albums put the music itself on at least an equal footing with any alternative health or spiritual angle. The composer is smart in his choice of collaborators on these releases; respected names from the early scene such as pianist/synthesist Don Robertson and the Californian flautist Larkin. Aeoliah himself plays synthesiser, piano, zither and other assorted instruments. Some of the tracks are floating, delicate, melodic drone-based pieces while others have distinct chord progressions.

His debut album Inner Sanctum (1981) positively glows with a soft, enveloping light from layers of synthesiser and organ, often blended with Larkin's flute or Don Robertson's lovely tinkling piano improvisations. “Mahariva” from the followup The Light Of Tao (1982)  is stunning, an unusual and awe-inspiring combination of church organ and Indian sitar. A couple of other tracks from the same album recall the drifting piano and electronics of Harold Budd, though with a quality more luminous than eerie. The third album Majesty (1984)  is the composer's haunting take on Christian choral music, while Angel Love (1985)  is luscious, ascending chords of pure synthesiser and organ.

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