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Harold Budd

The American ambient/neo-classical composer who has most closely allied himself with the increasingly sympathetic independent rock underground -- through his collaborations with the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie -- Harold Budd is also one of the very few who can very rightly be called an ambient composer. His music, a sparse and tonal wash of keyboard treatments, was inspired by a boyhood spent listening to the buzz of telephone wires near his home in the Mojave Desert town of Victorville, CA (though he was born in nearby Los Angeles). Though interested in music from an early age, Budd was 30, already married, and with children of his own by the time he graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in musical composition in 1966. He became a respected name in the circle of minimalist and avant-garde composers based in Southern California during the late '60s, premiering his works "The Candy-Apple Revision" and "Unspecified D-Flat Major Chord and Lirio" around the area. In 1970, he began a teaching career at the California Institute of Arts, but continued to compose while there, writing "Madrigals of the Rose Angel" in 1972.

After leaving the Institute in 1976, Budd gained a recording contract with the Brian Eno-affiliated EG Records, and released his debut album, The Pavilion of Dreams, in 1978. Two years later, he collaborated with Eno on one of the landmark albums of the ambient style, Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirrors. After recording two albums for Cantil in 1981 (The Serpent [In Quicksilver]) and 1984 (Abandoned Cities), Budd again worked with Eno on 1984's The Pearl. A contract with Eno's Opal Records resulted in one of Budd's most glorious albums, The White Arcades, recorded in Edinburgh with Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins. Budd left Opal after 1991's By the Dawn's Early Light, and recorded two albums for Gyroscope: Music for 3 Pianos (with Ruben Garcia and Daniel Lentz) and the lauded Through the Hill, a collaboration with Andy Partridge of XTC. In the mid-'90s, he recorded albums for New Albion and All Saints before signing to Atlantic for the release of The Room in mid-2000.

In 2004, Budd decided to retire, claiming he had said all he wanted to, and that he "didn't mind disappearing." His "final" outing, Avalon Sutra/As Long as I Can See My Breath, appeared on David Sylvian's Samhadi Sound imprint as a double disc. The album featured 14 new pieces, some recorded solo, some recorded with saxophonist Jon Gibson, and some with a string quartet. Budd apparently changed his mind about retirement and his collaboration with Eraldo Bernocchi, Fragments from the Inside, issued on Sub Rosa, arrived in the spring of 2005. Back to composing and recording, Budd signed to Darla in late 2007. He began working with producer Clive Wright that same year. Song for Lost Blossoms was issued in 2008, followed by the release of Candylion in mid-2009; the pair also worked together on 2010's Little Windows. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Perhaps

1. Templar

2. Tong War

3. Quandari

4. Vari

5. Nec Spero

6. Moss Landing

7. Chualar

8. Atl Atl

9. Nec Metus

10. Drita

11. Monument

12. Reini

13. Ghost Cloud

x

Track List: In The Mist

1. Haru Spring

2. The Whispers

3. The Startled

4. The Foundry (For Mika Vainio)

5. The Art Of Mirrors (After Derek Jarman)

6. Three-Fingered Jack

7. Greek George

8. Black Bart

9. Come Back To Me In Dreams

10. Parallel Night

11. Sun At 6 Windows

12. The Panther Of Small Favors

13. Mars And The Artist (After Cy Twombly)

x

Track List: The Room

1. The Room Of Ancillary Dreams

2. The Room Of Oracles

3. The Room Of Stairs

4. The Room Of Corners

5. The Room Alight

6. The Candied Room

7. The Room Of Mirrors

8. The Room Obscured

9. The Room Of Forgotten Children

10. The Room Of Accidental Geometry

11. The Room Of Secondary Light

12. The Flowered Room

13. The Room

x

Track List: By The Dawn's Early Light

1. Poem: Aztec Hotel

2. Boy About Ten

3. Arcadia

4. Dead Horse Alive With Flies

5. The Photo Of Santiago McKinn

6. The Corpse At The Shooting Gallery

7. Albion Farewell

8. Poem: Distant Lights Of Alancha Recede

9. Down The Slopes To The Meadow

10. She Dances By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

11. Blind Bird

12. Saint's Name Spoken

13. The Place Of Dead Roads

14. A Child In A Sylvan Field

15. Poem: Boy About Ten

16. Poem: Wings

17. Poem: No Name

18. Poem: Advent

x

Track List: The White Arcades

1. The White Arcades

2. Balthus Bemused By Color

3. The Child With A Lion

4. The Real Dream Of Sails

5. Algebra Of Darkness

6. Totems Of The Red-Sleeved Warrior

7. The Room

8. Coyote

9. The Kiss

x

Track List: The Serpent In Quicksilver

1. Afar

2. Wanderer

3. Rub With Ashes

4. Children On The Hill

5. Widows Charm

7. Dark Star

8. Abandoned Cities

x

Track List: The Pavilion Of Dreams

1. Bismillahi 'Rrahman 'Rrahim

2. Two Songs

3. Madrigals Of The Rose Angel

4. Juno

Comments

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I love this artist
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Indeed one of the great's
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The Photo of Santiago McKinn is sheer magnificence .
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It's great that Pandora has two of the important albums, The White Arcades and The Room. He's one of the great ambient composers.
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peter8795
Good Budd is...always.
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Boy about ten is beautiful beyond belief. Just amazing.
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I known about this Ambient Genius sent the med 1980's his music is timeless
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wildon10
I have to agree about The Room Of Ancillary Dreams. A haunting masterpiece. I never get tired of it.
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Gypsy Violin is the most disturbing piece I have ever heard and the Room of Ancillary Dreams is absolutely haunting Both are some of my favorite Budds
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rsmithpv
They used Algebra of Darkness from White Arcades in that PBS documentary about the Donner Party. Still gives me the creeps.
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Does Harold want to get married? he's just GOT IT
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I've enjoyed this composer for many years and he has inspired me to try my hand at some ambient electronic music. He is always a treat to the ears and mind.
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james211288
Amazing composer!! Bey about 10 pulls me into his world every time I hear it.
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There seems to be a lot of important albums that Pandora does NOT have.
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harrisbm
harold budd is a true original. His music is like floating underwater.. . .
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comedy6
Otherworldy and relaxing
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Harold Budd is the founding father of Amibient piano.... Harold plays your imagination as his instrument.. .
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I saw Budd play one evening in the lava field inside the Autonomous University in Mexico City. It was one of the most magical and memorable concerts I have ever seen/heard.
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never disappointme n t with this guy...his music is just transcendent a l
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Even if I didn't like his music (which I do) I'd have to give it up to guy for his titles, "Dead Horse Alive With Flies," "The Corpse at the Shooting Gallery." Brilliant!
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dave422x
i'm loving Dead Horse Alive With Flies. Very similar to Klaus Schulze's Agony.
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Agua brings me back to my fond memories of camping in the Mojave Desert.
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bones087
Budd, Eno = Transcendent a l Excellence
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Some of the best ambient/pian o music I've ever heard!!!
My all time favorite!
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wonderful
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Love this!!!!!!!! !
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dalastar
This man is my musical hero. I love the use of piano as a dream spinner. His work with Robin Guthrie is the stuff sonic worlds are built on. Perfect!

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