Iasos, Greek pioneer of New Age music, dies at 77

California musician was a cult figure in classical and ambient music communities

Musician Iasos died over the weekend, his friends have confirmed on social media. Photo: Numero Group
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Greek-American musician Iasos, widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the New Age music genre, has died, his friend and record label owner Douglas Mcgowan has confirmed.

“What a sad, surreal feeling it is to report that Iasos departed on Saturday,” Mcgowan shared in an Instagram post. “When I last saw him in April, he was just as sprightly as ever. I know I'm not alone when I say that of all the original masters, I assumed he'd be the last to go.”

The audiovisual artist born in 1947, whose parents moved from Greece to the US when he was four, first rose to prominence in the California new age community in 1975. His album, Inter-Dimensional Music, was considered by some as the first proper release within the largely instrumental genre.

Inspired by the new age spirituality movement of the time, the grass roots genre gained momentum in the subsequent decades, peaking in the 1980s and 90s. Primarily consisting of private press artists who sold their music at local health boutiques, the genre spawned artists globally, such as Enya and Yanni, though it was largely dismissed critically.

Nevertheless, Iasos's music became highly sought after among ambient and classical music collectors. Canadian music label Light in the Attic was eventually inspired to reissue his work as part of the compilation I Am The Center, which initiated a critical and cultural reappraisal of the genre overall.

He produced more than 15 albums throughout his career, and a documentary was released about his work in 1979.

“Along with Steven Halpern, Iasos basically invented new age music,” wrote Mcgowan, the owner of Yoga Records. “This bears repeating – he created a genre of music … So many things he created were simply without comparison. He invented new tools to create new forms. He built incredible, immortal things from scratch.”

Iasos described the mission of his work, which ended with his 2020 studio album The Next Dimension, as “to create and make available ... music that can help a soul achieve an enhanced resonance-connection with the grander part of who they really are. Music that can function as a vibrational gateway into celestial dimensions of light and love and awareness.”

Updated: January 09, 2024, 5:45 AM