Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: New Age, Pop
Harold Budd returns with his first solo album in four years and it's a timely reminder of how potent this pianist's ambient orchestrations remain. Although Budd himself would never use the term "ambient," he'll be forever ... more »
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Harold Budd returns with his first solo album in four years and it's a timely reminder of how potent this pianist's ambient orchestrations remain. Although Budd himself would never use the term "ambient," he'll be forever tarred with that brush, having released The Plateaux of Mirror, one of Brian Eno's Ambient Music series in the 1970s. Budd's brand of ambience is full of ambiguity, hidden shadows, and dark corners. Based on themes from his last great album, 1988's The White Arcades, each piece on The Room is a miniature in mood. Dark organ drones underscore the time-stepping piano theme of "The Room of Ancillary Dreams." Another organ drone, along with cascading synthesizer bell swirls and the plucked, vibelike tones of a Fender Rhodes, establish an eerie desolation on "The Room of Stairs." Budd doesn't make happy music, but it has the poignant beauty of the last leaves of autumn. --John Diliberto
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Not bad for a guy who reckons he can't play the piano
Hans Stoeve | Cremorne, NSW Australia | 10/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is some sort of irony at work when I think that Harold Budd does not particularly want to be considered an artist in the ambient genre, nor does he feel he plays piano particularly well. I guess time will judge him for being some sort of neo classical composer with leanings towards minimalism. Neither is it a bad thing that Harold Budd doesn't bring out a new record on a more than regular basis; I guess if he did a lot of us wouldn't appreciate him for what magic he does bring to the piano when he does. The Room, his first release in about four years, is strangely beautiful, almost like waking up from an afternoon's nap, that time when your mind is filled with distant memories and half forgotten dreams. Listening to these pieces I keep thinking that I have heard them before, in one form or another, though I'm not really able to pin them down. HB says that he is was taking up with these pieces where he left off in 1988 with The White Arcades. Simple repetitious piano / organ / synthesizer lines where the emphasis is on silence, maybe a state of meditative stillness are better word to utilize. My initial reactions were that Harold Budd was possibly revisiting the period which brought forth the release She Is A Phantom, but in retrospect I think this is not true. What can be said about this album is that it's not only one of the most memorable Harold Budd albums you may ever hear, but it retains the ghosts of many of its predecessors. There are fragments of The Pearl, Plateaux Of Mirror, Abandoned Cities, Lovely Thunder and much more. It's gorgeous when it's just electric piano. I'm especially fond of this aspect of his work; for here he manages to convey innocence and beauty at its best. He manages to bring out so may emotions in his phrasings, and all the time that soft pedal approach subdues all around. There is a lot of respect here for silence. I'm drawn to sounds and musics which contain memories and feelings of times past and present. People have commented that this is a sad album, but I beg to differ. Introspective is maybe a better word to utilize. Some people have also commented that HB hasn't exactly moved on, that he's still covering old ground with this release, which in all fairness is correct. But some of us like it that way. It's a good thing when people who hear his work for the first time are dumbfounded as I was upon first encountering the Harold Budd experience. For me, Harold Budd is an important living trasure in American contemporary music. His albums are timeless. And for a man who claims can't play well, does a damn fine job. Thank you Harold Budd for a beautiful album."
loteq | Regensburg | 09/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Throughout his career Harold Budd has created some of the most beautiful and elegant piano music ever; whether you believe it or not, he's the one and only musician who made neo-classical and chamber music palatable for me. Fans had to wait almost half a decade for new studio material, and although I expected a sort of techno album like "Glyph", "The room" picks up where 1988's "The white arcades" left off. Featuring typically lovely piano playing and warm synthesizer tones, but upon closer inspection, there are some new frills. The first two tracks, "TR of anc. dreams" and "TR of oracles", are among Budd's most intricate pieces, with layers of piano lines and synths all rolled into multi-dimensional soundscapes. With every note and nuance gliding into the text, the construction of such pieces alone takes times, and the production is undeniably amazing. It may be a surprise, but the strictly piano-driven tracks, like "TR of corner" and "TR obscured", are not the album's best cuts; the piano runs are faster and more discernible than on previous album, though they lack the suspense and unpredictability Budd is known for. He also steps away from his trademark sound at times, coming up with tracks where shimmering, floating synthesisers provide a convincing bed for pearling glockenspiel and other glittering sounds; "TR alight" and "TR of sec. light" are the album's brightest and most uplifting pieces. Finally, "The candied room" has a nice choral effect and "TR of mirrors" resembles 1984's "The pearl" in structure and atmosphere. If there's any basic criticism that can be levelled at this album, it's that it seems like a variation on Budd themes, not a progression. It improves on "The white arcades", but it's not overly different. Having said that and given that his early-'90s flirtations with ensemble music and techno didn't appeal so much to me, I'm glad that "The room" is a return to his '80s style. Considering the songwriting, production, and sound quality, some of the pieces here are the best Budd has ever released. I would also recommend this album as first purchase for the newly interested."
Small and wondrous places
K. Doles | 08/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Harold Budd triumphantly returns with his first album in four years! "The Room" hearkens back to the Budd of the 1980s; small, intimate works tinged with beauty, sadness, darkness, light, and a few other surprises. As always, the works are simple, but not simplistic. Sparse, but so well-constructed that one gets the feeling that a single additional synthesizer wash or piano inflection would ruin the piece. Quite reminiscent of earlier albums like the hard-to-find "The Serpent (in Quicksilver)" and "The White Arcades", the album from which, not coincidentally, "The Room" draws its inspiration. Highly recommended!!!"