New Age music can refer to a lot of things: spacey ambient music, Gregorian chant and even whale noises. Fans of the genre say it helps them mellow out or fall asleep.
Singer and guitarist Dylan Baldi says it’s more exciting than that.
"It’s like a journey," he says. "Not like the band Journey, but a trip. It starts in one place and you can follow it or not to the end of wherever it’s going."
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Baldi fronts the Cleveland band Cloud Nothings. He calls the band’s latest album -- “Life Without Sound” -- a New Age record.
Cloud Nothings' music is aggressive punk rock. But he says the album is designed to take listeners on a journey.
"It starts with piano," he says. "Which is the most New Age instrument I could think of. It starts soft and slowly builds. The whole record is a crescendo."
The album does get louder and louder and it goes along. And it ends with Baldi screaming at the top of his lungs.
Baldi made some big changes to his songwriting this time around. He wrote and recorded the band’s previous album, “Here And Nowhere Else,” at breakneck speed. He sometimes finished songs in just one day.
“Life Without Sound” was a lot different. He wrote it over the course of a year. He says that helped him view the album as a whole.
"I just wanted to make a record that was more thought out," he says. "I like ‘Here and Nowhere Else.’ But it’s very one-dimension to me, which is cool. It's a cool dimension. But there’s other dimensions."
“Life Without Sound” has a slower pace than anything else the band has released.
Baldi's lyrics were also a new priority. he says that came from listening to other bands -- and not liking what he heard.
"When a band has stupid lyrics, I don’t like it," he says. "I had thought that I didn’t really care about our lyrics either. So I was like, 'I’ll just write them the day before, go in the studio and sing them. Whatever.’ But slowly I was like, 'Wait, maybe I should care about them, and take some time and work on these if it bums me out when other bands have bad lyrics.’"
Baldi says tinkering with his formula is what keeps the band going. And it’s vital that no two Cloud Nothings albums are alike.
"If we didn’t make a record where we try new stuff it would feel pointless," he says.
That new stuff might not be New Age music as most people might define it. But Baldi and Cloud Nothings create a musical journey of their own on “Life Without Sound.”
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