Some consider new age to be heresy. In which case, former Stone Roses singer Ian Brown may well qualify as the most compellingly, even shockingly, heretical artist of the day. See, heretics break rules and shatter cultural norms. As such, they can be demons — or they can be prophets. Now, you may ask yourself, why is the new age guy at eMusic writing about some elfin English rocker dude from the '80s? Good question. But Brown's 2004 release, Music of the Spheres, could be the most fully realized transformation of a rock frontman into a cosmic bard since Van Morrison got starry-eyed on Astral Weeks. Locking into a decidedly celestial vibe on Music of the Spheres, Brown destroys forms and creates new ones — a new age principle in action.
Taking a page out of Paracelsus'cookbook, Brown alchemizes right away with "F.E.A.R.," transmuting the word into an acronymic state packed with powerful and empowering memes. Over a bed of synths/strings a la the Verve's “Bittersweet Symphony” and a coolly shuffling breakbeat, Brown chants, "Fantastic expectations and revolutions/ for everyman and religion/ Forget everything and remember/ Forgive everybody and remember/ for everything a reason/ free expression as revolution." You get the picture. Brown is re-defining F.E.A.R, turning it inside out; re-contextualizing it into an affirmation through the expression of his art. This is new age 101, but he does it in such a way that he crafts something beyond both rock and new age, an orchestral fusion of beats and a bold redemption of the state of limitation.