The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer; the avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo in the cultural realm. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement and still continue to do so, tracing a history from Dada through the Situationists to postmodern artists such as the Language poets around 1981; the avant-garde promotes radical social reforms. It was this meaning, evoked by the Saint Simonian Olinde Rodrigues in his essay "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel", which contains the first recorded use of "avant-garde" in its now customary sense: there, Rodrigues calls on artists to "serve as avant-garde", insisting that "the power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way" to social and economic reform.
Several writers have attempted to map the parameters of avant-garde activity. The Italian essayist Renato Poggioli provides one of the earliest analyses of vanguardism as a cultural phenomenon in his 1962 book Teoria dell'arte d'avanguardia. Surveying the historical, social and philosophical aspects of vanguardism, Poggioli reaches beyond individual instances of art and music to show that vanguardists may share certain ideals or values which manifest themselves in the non-conformist lifestyles they adopt: He sees vanguard culture as a variety or subcategory of Bohemianism. Other authors have attempted both to extend Poggioli's study; the German literary critic Peter Bürger's Theory of the Avant-Garde looks at the Establishment's embrace of critical works of art and suggests that in complicity with capitalism, "art as an institution neutralizes the political content of the individual work". Bürger's essay greatly influenced the work of contemporary American art-historians such as the German Benjamin H. D. Buchloh.
Buchloh, in the collection of essays Neo-avantgarde and Culture Industry critically argues for a dialectical approach to these positions. Subsequent criticism theorized the limitations of these approaches, noting their circumscribed areas of analysis, including Eurocentric and genre-specific definitions; the concept of avant-garde refers to artists, writers and thinkers whose work is opposed to mainstream cultural values and has a trenchant social or political edge. Many writers and theorists made assertions about vanguard culture during the formative years of modernism, although the initial definitive statement on the avant-garde was the essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch by New York art critic Clement Greenberg, published in Partisan Review in 1939. Greenberg argued that vanguard culture has been opposed to "high" or "mainstream" culture, that it has rejected the artificially synthesized mass culture, produced by industrialization; each of these media is a direct product of Capitalism—they are all now substantial industries—and as such they are driven by the same profit-fixated motives of other sectors of manufacturing, not the ideals of true art.
For Greenberg, these forms were therefore kitsch: phony, faked or mechanical culture, which pretended to be more than they were by using formal devices stolen from vanguard culture. For instance, during the 1930s the advertising industry was quick to take visual mannerisms from surrealism, but this does not mean that 1930s advertising photographs are surreal. Various members of the Frankfurt School argued similar views: thus Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in their essay The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass-Deception, Walter Benjamin in his influential "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". Where Greenberg used the German word kitsch to describe the antithesis of avant-garde culture, members of the Frankfurt School coined the term "mass culture" to indicate that this bogus culture is being manufactured by a newly emerged culture industry, they pointed out that the rise of this industry meant that artistic excellence was displaced by sales figures as a measure of worth: a novel, for example, was judged meritorious on whether it became a best-seller, music succumbed to ratings charts and to the blunt commercial logic of the Gold disc.
In this way the autonomous artistic merit so dear to the vanguardist was abandoned and sales became the measure, justification, of everything. Consumer culture now ruled; the avant-garde's co-option by the global capitalist market, by neoliberal economies, by what Guy Debord called The Society of the Spectacle, have made contemporary critics speculate on the possibility of a meaningful avant-garde today. Paul Mann's Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde demonstrates how the avant-garde is embedded within institutional structures today, a thought pursued by Richard Schechner in his analyses of avant-garde performance. Despite the central arguments of Greenberg and others, various sectors of the mainstream culture industry have co-opted and misapplied the term "avant-garde" since the 1960s, chiefly as a marketing tool to publicise popular music and commercial
Noise music is a category of music, characterised by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction, made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect; some of the music can feature acoustically or electronically generated noise, both traditional and unconventional musical instruments. It may incorporate live machine sounds, non-musical vocal techniques, physically manipulated audio media, processed sound recordings, field recording, computer-generated noise, stochastic process, other randomly produced electronic signals such as distortion, static and hum. There may be emphasis on high volume levels and lengthy, continuous pieces. More noise music may contain aspects such as improvisation, extended technique and indeterminacy. In many instances, conventional use of melody, rhythm or pulse is dispensed with.
The Futurist art movement was important for the development of the noise aesthetic, as was the Dada art movement, the Surrealist and Fluxus art movements the Fluxus artists Joe Jones, Yasunao Tone, George Brecht, Robert Watts, Wolf Vostell, Dieter Roth, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Walter De Maria's Ocean Music, Milan Knížák's Broken Music Composition, early LaMonte Young and Takehisa Kosugi. Contemporary noise music is associated with extreme volume and distortion. In the domain of experimental rock, examples include Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, Sonic Youth. Other examples of music that contain noise-based features include works by Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Helmut Lachenmann, Cornelius Cardew, Theatre of Eternal Music, Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham, Ryoji Ikeda, Survival Research Laboratories, Ramleh, Brighter Death Now, Dror Feiler, Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV, Jean Tinguely's recordings of his sound sculpture, the music of Hermann Nitsch's Orgien Mysterien Theater, La Monte Young's bowed gong works from the late 1960s.
Genres such as industrial, industrial techno, lo-fi music, black metal, sludge metal, glitch music employ noise-based materials. According to Danish noise and music theorist Torben Sangild, one single definition of noise in music is not possible. Sangild instead provides three basic definitions of noise: a musical acoustics definition, a second communicative definition based on distortion or disturbance of a communicative signal, a third definition based in subjectivity. According to Murray Schafer there are four types of noise: unwanted noise, unmusical sound, any loud sound, a disturbance in any signaling system. Definitions regarding what is considered noise, relative to music, have changed over time. Ben Watson, in his article Noise as Permanent Revolution, points out that Ludwig van Beethoven's Grosse Fuge "sounded like noise" to his audience at the time. Indeed, Beethoven's publishers persuaded him to remove it from its original setting as the last movement of a string quartet, he did so.
They subsequently published it separately. In attempting to define noise music and its value, Paul Hegarty cites the work of noted cultural critics Jean Baudrillard, Georges Bataille and Theodor Adorno and through their work traces the history of "noise", he defines noise at different times as "intrusive, unwanted", "lacking skill, not being appropriate" and "a threatening emptiness". He traces these trends starting with 18th-century concert hall music. Hegarty contends that it is John Cage's composition 4'33", in which an audience sits through four and a half minutes of "silence", that represents the beginning of noise music proper. For Hegarty, "noise music", as with 4'33", is that music made up of incidental sounds that represent the tension between "desirable" sound and undesirable "noise" that make up all noise music from Erik Satie to NON to Glenn Branca. Writing about Japanese noise music, Hegarty suggests that "it is not a genre, but it is a genre, multiple, characterized by this multiplicity...
Japanese noise music can come in all styles, referring to all other genres... but crucially asks the question of genre—what does it mean to be categorized, definable?". Writer Douglas Kahn, in his work Noise, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, discusses the use of noise as a medium and explores the ideas of Antonin Artaud, George Brecht, William Burroughs, Sergei Eisenstein, Allan Kaprow, Michael McClure, Yoko Ono, Jackson Pollock, Luigi Russolo, Dziga Vertov. In Noise: The Political Economy of Music, Jacques Attali explores the relationship between noise music and the future of society, he indicates that noise in music is a predictor of social change and demonstrates how noise acts as the subconscious of society—validating and testing new social and political realities. Like much of modern and contemporary art, noise music takes characteristics of the perceived negative traits of noise mentioned below and uses them in aesthetic and imaginative ways. In common use, the word noise means noise pollution.
In electronics noise can refer to the electronic signal corresponding to acoustic noise or the electronic signal corresponding to the noise seen as'snow' on a degraded television or video i
Leer is a town in the district of Leer, the northwestern part of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the river Leda, a tributary of the river Ems, near the border with the Netherlands, it has a railway and autobahn connection to Groningen, Emden and the South. Leer had been a settlement; the city was situated at a meander near the mouth of the river Leda into the Ems, still the center of the town today. Though Leer is some 30 km away from the coast, it can be reached by large ships via the Ems. Leer lies close to the Dutch border. There are many traces of early settlements in the area, including crude flint tools that are dated back to 3200 BC. In 791 AD Saint Ludger built the first chapel in East Frisia at the western edge of the settlement Leer still named Hleri after feetlot, willow; this chapel is mentioned for the first time in a written document from 850 AD. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Leer was home town of the Ukena family, one most influential East-Frisian chieftain families of that time.
The town profited from the trade with the Hanse, a fortress Leerort was built. In 1508, Count Edzard obtained the official right to host a market, which started the tradition of the "Gallimarkt,", now an annual fair. In 1744 East Frisia fell to Prussia ruled by Frederick the Great. Town privileges were awarded in 1823 by King of Hanover. In 1854 Leer became connected to the "Hannoversche Westbahn" railway, which at that time connected Emden and Rheine in the Ruhr area. In 1856, the Westbahn was connected to the central German railway network. Unlike Emden, Leer only suffered little damage by Allied bombing in World War II; the city was occupied by Canadian troops on April 28, 1945. On 1 October 1955, Leer received the status of an independent city. Since 1964 the city's government has been led by the Social-Democratic Party SPD; the major opposition parties are the Christian Democratic Union Party CDU, the Green Party and the AWG, an independent local party. The mayor of Leer is Beatrix Kuhl; the town council consists of: SPD: 36.7% / 14 seats CDU: 27.9% / 11 seats AWG: 10.2% / 4 seats Grüne: 13.9% / 5 seats FDP: 3.0% / 1 seat The Left: 3.1% / 1 seat CDL: 3.5% / 1 seat BfL 1.3%: / 1 seat Haase 0.5%: / 0 seat Harderwykenburg Haneburg Evenburg Philippsburg Telecommunication tower "Leer-Nüttermoor" Leer is a traditional Protestant city and home to both the Lutheran and Reformed churches.
The German Reformed Church has its head office in Leer. Furthermore, Leer offers an unusually large variety of smaller religious communities Baptists, Methodists and Mormons. Though Eastern Frisia is a a Protestant region, there is a small Roman Catholic community in Leer. Two autobahns cross north of Leer, the A 28 and the A 31; the city itself has three junctions to the autobahns. Leer railway station is a relay station between Groningen and Bremen in the west–east direction and the South and Emden harbour in the north; the airfield Leer-Papenburg north of the city offers limited passenger flights to nearby airfields, most notably the East Frisian Islands. The closest international airport is Bremen International Airport. Leer is home to many German shipping companies — about 20 per cent of the German merchant fleet are registered in Leer; the Bünting group is one of the city's main employers. Although Bünting owns several German supermarket chains, the company is best known for their tea, available all over Germany.
Each year in autumn the Gallimarkt is held. Traditionally a cattle-market, the Gallimarkt is now one of the largest fairs in Northwest Germany. In Leer there are numerous secondary schools; the two gymnasiums, Telletta-Gross-Gymnasium and Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium, educate more than 1,500 pupils each and are two of the largest grammar schools in Lower Saxony. The Navigation School is now faculty of the Hochschule Emden - Leer; the town offers education at two vocational schools. Leer is twinned with: Elbląg, Poland Trowbridge, United Kingdom Focko Ukena, East Frisian chieftain Ubbo Emmius, historian from the University of Groningen Gustaaf Willem Baron van Imhoff, governor-general of Dutch East India Johann Ludwig Hinrichs, Co-founder of the German Baptists Onno Klopp and historian Wilhelmine Siefkes, author Bernhard Bavink, Natural philosopher and scientist Ernst Reuter and municipal scientist, mayor of West-Berlin 1948-1953, father of Daimler-Benz CEO Edzard Reuter Hermann Lange, blessed priest and Nazi victim Marron Curtis Fort, professor and curator of Low German and Frisian languages.
Karl Dall, presenter and comedian Friedel Grützmacher, politician of Alliance'90/The Greens H. P. Baxxter, frontman of the Techno-Band Scooter Garrelt Duin, Member of the German Bundestag 2005-2012, President of the SPD in Lower-Saxony 2005-2010, since 2012 Economic Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia Okka Rau, beach volleyball player Christina Hennings, world vice-champion in rowing Leer travel guide from Wikivoyage Official website Photo collections about Leer
Zoviet France is a music group from Newcastle upon Tyne in north east England. While dissonant and made of industrial textures, their music falls into the ambient music category. Formed in 1980, remaining anonymous, the group has had a number of members. Former members included Neil Ramshaw, Peter Jensen, Robin Storey, Lisa Hale, Paolo Di Paolo, Mark Spybey and Andy Eardley. In 2005 Storey and Eardley formed a new group, Reformed Faction; the packaging of their releases was unconventional, involving materials such as hessian, tar paper and aluminium foil. 29 February 2008: European premiere performance of John Cage's Variations VII with Atau Tanaka and Matt Wand, AV Festival, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK. List of ambient music artists discogs.com Zoviet France on discogs.com, a community-built database of music information Jim's Music Pages::zoviet*france, a fan site with discography
MusicBrainz is a project that aims to create an open data music database, similar to the freedb project. MusicBrainz was founded in response to the restrictions placed on the Compact Disc Database, a database for software applications to look up audio CD information on the Internet. MusicBrainz has expanded its goals to reach beyond a compact disc metadata storehouse to become a structured open online database for music. MusicBrainz captures information about artists, their recorded works, the relationships between them. Recorded works entries capture at a minimum the album title, track titles, the length of each track; these entries are maintained by volunteer editors. Recorded works can store information about the release date and country, the CD ID, cover art, acoustic fingerprint, free-form annotation text and other metadata; as of 21 September 2018, MusicBrainz contained information about 1.4 million artists, 2 million releases, 19 million recordings. End-users can use software that communicates with MusicBrainz to add metadata tags to their digital media files, such as FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis or AAC.
MusicBrainz allows contributors to upload cover art images of releases to the database. Internet Archive provides the bandwidth and legal protection for hosting the images, while MusicBrainz stores metadata and provides public access through the web and via an API for third parties to use; as with other contributions, the MusicBrainz community is in charge of maintaining and reviewing the data. Cover art is provided for items on sale at Amazon.com and some other online resources, but CAA is now preferred because it gives the community more control and flexibility for managing the images. Besides collecting metadata about music, MusicBrainz allows looking up recordings by their acoustic fingerprint. A separate application, such as MusicBrainz Picard, must be used for this. In 2000, MusicBrainz started using Relatable's patented TRM for acoustic fingerprint matching; this feature allowed the database to grow quickly. However, by 2005 TRM was showing scalability issues as the number of tracks in the database had reached into the millions.
This issue was resolved in May 2006 when MusicBrainz partnered with MusicIP, replacing TRM with MusicDNS. TRMs were phased out and replaced by MusicDNS in November 2008. In October 2009 MusicIP was acquired by AmpliFIND; some time after the acquisition, the MusicDNS service began having intermittent problems. Since the future of the free identification service was uncertain, a replacement for it was sought; the Chromaprint acoustic fingerprinting algorithm, the basis for AcoustID identification service, was started in February 2010 by a long-time MusicBrainz contributor Lukáš Lalinský. While AcoustID and Chromaprint are not MusicBrainz projects, they are tied with each other and both are open source. Chromaprint works by analyzing the first two minutes of a track, detecting the strength in each of 12 pitch classes, storing these 8 times per second. Additional post-processing is applied to compress this fingerprint while retaining patterns; the AcoustID search server searches from the database of fingerprints by similarity and returns the AcoustID identifier along with MusicBrainz recording identifiers if known.
Since 2003, MusicBrainz's core data are in the public domain, additional content, including moderation data, is placed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license. The relational database management system is PostgreSQL; the server software is covered by the GNU General Public License. The MusicBrainz client software library, libmusicbrainz, is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License, which allows use of the code by proprietary software products. In December 2004, the MusicBrainz project was turned over to the MetaBrainz Foundation, a non-profit group, by its creator Robert Kaye. On 20 January 2006, the first commercial venture to use MusicBrainz data was the Barcelona, Spain-based Linkara in their Linkara Música service. On 28 June 2007, BBC announced that it has licensed MusicBrainz's live data feed to augment their music Web pages; the BBC online music editors will join the MusicBrainz community to contribute their knowledge to the database. On 28 July 2008, the beta of the new BBC Music site was launched, which publishes a page for each MusicBrainz artist.
Amarok – KDE audio player Banshee – multi-platform audio player Beets – automatic CLI music tagger/organiser for Unix-like systems Clementine – multi-platform audio player CDex – Microsoft Windows CD ripper Demlo – a dynamic and extensible music manager using a CLI iEatBrainz – Mac OS X deprecated foo_musicbrainz component for foobar2000 – Music Library/Audio Player Jaikoz – Java mass tag editor Max – Mac OS X CD ripper and audio transcoder Mp3tag – Windows metadata editor and music organizer MusicBrainz Picard – cross-platform album-oriented tag editor MusicBrainz Tagger – deprecated Microsoft Windows tag editor puddletag – a tag editor for PyQt under the GPLv3 Rhythmbox music player – an audio player for Unix-like systems Sound Juicer – GNOME CD ripper Zortam Mp3 Media Studio – Windows music organizer and ID3 Tag Editor. Freedb clients can access MusicBrainz data through the freedb protocol by using the MusicBrainz to FreeDB gateway service, mb2freedb. List of online music databases Making Metadata: The Case of Mus
Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of slow instrumental music, it uses repetitive, but gentle, soothing sound patterns that can be described as sonic wallpaper to complement or alter one’s space and to generate a sense of calmness; the genre is said to evoke an "unobtrusive" quality. Ambient music focuses on creating a mood or atmosphere through synthesizers and timbral qualities lacking the presence of any net composition, beat, or structured melody, it uses textural layers of sound without prevalent musical tropes, rewarding both passive and active listening. Nature soundscapes are included, the sounds of acoustic instruments such as the piano and flute, among others, may be emulated through a synthesizer. According to Brian Eno, one of its pioneers, "Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular. Eno popularized ambient music in 1978 with his album Ambient 1: Music for Airports.
It saw a revival towards the late 1980s with the prominence of house and techno music, growing a cult following by the 1990s. Ambient music may have elements of new-age music and drone music, as some works may use sustained or repeated notes. Ambient music did not achieve large commercial success, being criticized as having a "boring" and "over-intellectual" sound, it has attained a certain degree of acclaim throughout the years in the Internet age. Due to its open style, ambient music takes influences from many other genres, ranging from classical, avant-garde music, folk and world music, among several others; as an early 20th-century French composer, Erik Satie used such Dadaist-inspired explorations to create an early form of ambient/background music that he labeled "furniture music". This he described as being the sort of music that could be played during a dinner to create a background atmosphere for that activity, rather than serving as the focus of attention. In his own words, Satie sought to create "a music...which will be part of the noises of the environment, will take them into consideration.
I think of it as melodious, softening the noises of the knives and forks at dinner, not dominating them, not imposing itself. It would fill up those heavy silences, it would spare them the trouble of paying attention to their own banal remarks. And at the same time it would neutralize the street noises which so indiscreetly enter into the play of conversation. To make such music would be to respond to a need." In the 1960s, many music groups experimented with unusual methods, with some of them creating what would be called ambient music. In 1969, the group Coum Transmissions were performing sonic experiments in British art schools. Many pieces of ambient music were released in England and the United States of America between the late 1960s and the 1990s; some 1960s music with ambient elements include Music for Zen Meditation by Tony Scott, Soothing Sounds for Baby by Raymond Scott, Music for Yoga Meditation and Other Joys by Tony Scott. Developing in the 1970s, ambient stemmed from the experimental and synthesizer-oriented styles of the period.
Although Jamaican dub musicians such as King Tubby, Japanese electronic music composers such as Isao Tomita, as well as the psychoacoustic soundscapes of Irv Teibel's Environments series, German bands such as Popol Vuh, Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream, predate him in the creation of ambient music and/or were contemporaneous with him, Brian Eno played a key role in its development and popularization. The concept of background or furniture music had existed some time before, but only in the 70s was ambient music first created, which incorporated New Age ideals with the newly invented modular synthesizer. Eno went on to record 1975's Discreet Music with this in mind, suggesting that it be listened to at "comparatively low levels to the extent that it falls below the threshold of audibility", referring to Satie's quote about his musique d'ameublement; the impact the rise of the synthesizer in modern music had on ambient as a genre cannot be overstated. The only limit is with the composer"; the Yellow Magic Orchestra developed a distinct style of ambient electronic music that would be developed into ambient house music.
The English producer Brian Eno is credited with coining the term "ambient music" in the mid-1970s. He said that "I just gave it a name. Which is what it needed... By naming something you create a difference. You say. Names are important." He used the term to describe music that can be "actively listened to with attention or as ignored, depending on the choice of the listener", which exists on the "cusp between melody and texture". In the liner notes for his 1978 album Ambient 1: Music for Airports, Eno wrote:Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncrasies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty from the music, Ambient Music retain
New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis as a result of its eclectic structure. Although analytically considered to be religious, those involved in it prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind, Body and use the term "New Age" themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest that it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist; as a form of Western esotericism, the New Age drew upon a number of older esoteric traditions, in particular those that emerged from the occultist current that developed in the eighteenth century. Such prominent occult influences include the work of Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer, as well as the ideas of Spiritualism, New Thought, Theosophy and the European Lebensreform movement. A number of mid-twentieth century influences, such as the UFO religions of the 1950s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, the Human Potential Movement exerted a strong influence on the early development of the New Age.
The exact origins of the phenomenon remain contested, but there is general agreement that it developed in the 1970s, at which time it was centred in the United Kingdom. It expanded and grew in the 1980s and 1990s, in particular within the United States. By the start of the 21st century, the term "New Age" was rejected within this milieu, with some scholars arguing that the New Age phenomenon had ended. Despite its eclectic nature, a number of beliefs found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self; this is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate through the form of channeling. Viewing human history as being divided into a series of distinct ages, a common New Age belief is that whereas once humanity lived in an age of great technological advancement and spiritual wisdom, it has entered a period of spiritual degeneracy, which will be remedied through the establishment of a coming Age of Aquarius, from which the milieu gets its name.
There is a strong focus on healing using forms of alternative medicine, an emphasis on a New Age approach to science that seeks to unite science and spirituality. Centred in Western countries, those involved in the New Age have been from middle and upper-middle-class backgrounds; the degree to which New Agers are involved in the milieu varied from those who adopted a number of New Age ideas and practices to those who embraced and dedicated their lives to it. The New Age has generated criticism from established Christian organisations as well as modern Pagan and indigenous communities. From the 1990s onward, the New Age became the subject of research by academic scholars of religious studies; the New Age phenomenon has proved difficult to define, with much scholarly disagreement as to its scope. The scholars Steven J. Sutcliffe and Ingvild Sælid Gilhus have suggested that it remains "among the most disputed of categories in the study of religion"; the scholar of religion Paul Heelas characterised the New Age as "an eclectic hotch-potch of beliefs and ways of life" that can be identified as a singular phenomenon through their use of "the same lingua franca to do with the human condition and how it can be transformed."
The historian of religion Olav Hammer termed it "a common denominator for a variety of quite divergent contemporary popular practices and beliefs" that have emerged since the late 1970s and are "largely united by historical links, a shared discourse and an air de famille". According to Hammer, this New Age was a "fluid and fuzzy cultic milieu"; the sociologist of religion Michael York described the New Age as "an umbrella term that includes a great variety of groups and identities" that are united by their "expectation of a major and universal change being founded on the individual and collective development of human potential."The scholar of religion Wouter Hanegraaff adopted a different approach by asserting that "New Age" was "a label attached indiscriminately to whatever seems to fit it" and that as a result it "means different things to different people". He thus argued against the idea that the New Age could be considered "a unified ideology or Weltanschauung", although he believed that it could be considered a "more or less unified'movement'."
Other scholars have suggested. The scholar of religion George D. Chryssides called it "a counter-cultural Zeitgeist", while the sociologist of religion Steven Bruce suggested that New Age was a milieu. There is no central authority within the New Age phenomenon that can determine what counts as New Age and what does not. Many of those groups and individuals who could analytically be categorised as part of the New Age reject the term "New Age" in reference to themselves; some express active hostility to the term. Rather than terming themselves "New Agers", those involved in this milieu describe themselves as spiritual "seekers", some self-identify as a member of a different religious group, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism. In 2003 Sutcliffe observed that the use of the term "New Age" was "op