We’ve all heard stereotypes about “new age” music — plop a dude in front of a synth, punch up a patch with assorted arpeggios and modulation, have him hold down the same chord for 20 minutes, and call it “Meditation on the Birth of a Flower.” Accepting that preconception as truth, though, would mean that you’d never hear gems such as Douglas King’s delightful Deceptively Simple Melodies
series, self-described as “new age, classical, ambient, acoustic keyboard” music. That does pretty much sum it up. Though arrangements remain sparse and unhurried, Douglas paints his musical watercolors with shimmering synth textures that bring to mind Joe Zawinul in sound design, harmonic landscape, and skillful performance. Meditative but never sleepy or overly simplistic, these tracks make clear another, more accurate truth: Douglas has chops for miles and has created some truly engaging music for your more chilled-out moments. His conscience matches his music, too — King donates profits from CD sales and appearances to HospiceCare, an end-of-life care organization in his native Wisconsin.