Have you ever had the experience of encountering something that greatly resembled something you had previously valued highly, only to realize that perhaps you were wrong? That's way too abstract! What I mean is, listening to this, with its obvious references to movies like Stargate and 2001: A Space Odyssey, instead of making me value this more highly through association, made me downgrade the movies instead. This is mere effect. It sounds like an introduction to something, but the something never arrives. I had the same feeling watching Lost. Layer upon layer but sooner or later you realize there is nothing there. An obfuscating introduction is a great thing if it precedes something of import. But in itself it is merely annoying. It is like someone selling you a magnificently wrapped package that, when opened contains ... nothing.
Now let's go back a little further and listen to something that was influential on New Age Music. This is the first part of Octet by Steve Reich, written in 1979:
There is still the same, static quality to the harmony, but it is underlaid by a real intensity in the rhythm. Steve Reich's music is very rhythmically oriented. This music is certainly an acquired taste, but I think there is a kind of limited transcendence there. There is real delight when the flute enters at 2:13.
Going back just a little further, here is Henryk Gorecki's Third Symphony, composed in 1976:
Unless you have your volume up fairly high, you won't hear much for the first minute as the very low bass strings creep along slowly. This music is both like and unlike the Demby and Reich pieces. It unfolds slowly, true, but there is something unfolding here. It is a very big canon, with a single melody slowly being layered on top of itself, starting from very low and rising higher and higher. There is a direction here, even more than in Steve Reich, because the harmony is not so static. There are three movements to this symphony and this is the first movement.
Now, going back just two more years. This is Shostakovich's 15th String Quartet, composed in 1974. It uses the simplest musical means:
But transcendental music does not have to be slow or sad. I have posted this before, but the last movement of Mozart's last symphony from 1788 is almost as transcendental as music can get:
I said "almost" because there is one piece that pretty much defines "transcendental" in music. The Dona nobis pacem from the B minor mass of J. S. Bach, dating from 1749:
If that doesn't give you chills, I don't know what will. Rather ironic that possibly the greatest piece of music written for the Catholic liturgy was composed by a Lutheran. Note what this music has in common with the other ones: simple themes, layered on top of one another with a real sense of direction. In this case, as in the Mozart, a real arrival as well. At 2:40 when the trumpets and tympani come in, the music has 'arrived'.
Not much else to say.