Just when you thought New Age music had explored every possible avenue of expression, along comes Celestial Navigations to throw every preconceived notion right out the window.

Of course, purists wouldn't classify "Celestial Navigations" as New Age; it does, after all, have lyrics. And the creators may not like the moniker, either.But in spirit, Celestial Navigations captures the very essence of New Age. And they do it with the oldest form of entertainment: storytelling.

Geoff Lewis has been a master storyteller for well over two decades, but it wasn't until Geoff Levin, a songwriter, saw him performing in 1970 that the seeds for Celestial Navigations were planted.

Both artists began performing together, one adding music, one adding dramatic narrative. With the advent of the synthesizer, the emotional impact of Lewis' stories suddenly took on new dimensions.

In 1984, Celestial Navigations was born in the Matrix Studio in Los Angeles, winning rave theater reviews and a "Drama-logue" award. Two years later, synthesist Chris Many joined the band, and the critical acclaim - both theatrical and musical - has been growing ever since.

Just what is Celestial Navigations? Imagine sitting down in an easy chair in Sam Spade's smoky office, riveted to the wildest tale imaginable. And then imagine those tales set to a wide range of musical sounds that heighten the excitement and anticipation, while evoking humor or sadness or surprise.

On the other side of the Celestial Navigations coin, some of Lewis' stories are poetic, some philosophical, some just downright quirky. Some are told in Humphrey Bogart style, some sound like Yosemite Sam.

Taken separately, neither the stories nor the music are particularly remarkable. But taken together, Celestial Navigations achieves something that has never been accomplished on this level: narrative and song on an audio-emotional plane for adults. (Windham Hill recently took the same approach with New Age sounds to accompany the narration of classic children's stories.)

Quite frankly, Celestial Navigations may have just re-discovered the art of adult storytelling. Whether today's television generation will respond to such non-visual creativity is yet to be seen.

The trio's first commercial release, entitled "Celestial Navigations," is on the Noveau label. To order by mail, call 1-800-328-6640.