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Harold Budd - The White Arcades CD (album) cover


Harold Budd


Progressive Electronic

3.56 | 12 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Mostly inspired, partly forgettable, around 75% of 'The White Arcades' is as near to perfect ambience as you could wish for.

Once again it took Brian Eno to squeeze out that extra creativity and statuesque sound that is sadly missing from a lot of Harold Budd's purely solo outings. Eno engineered this recording, but his presence is more prominent than that might suggest.

This was mostly recorded in Edinburgh of all places - not a city renowned for ambient music by any stretch of the imagination. This was through his connections with 'The Cocteau Twins' of whom he has had a long and fruitful relationship with guitarist Robin Guthrie.

Recorded at the ripe old age of 51 'The White Arcades' starts with the best tune on the album - it's self titled and displays a sense of foreboding. Cold and icy, delicately drifting textures punctuated by slightly piercing piano which act as rays of light above the bleak backdrop of foggy electronics.

It's not always this good... 'Real Dream of Sails' is a 6 minute piece which has old Harold pottering about aimlessly as droning keyboards flail like sails on a yacht. It doesn't really lead anywhere and sounds improvised.

He always sounds best when using huge delay on his piano. This he does on 'the Algebra of Darkness'. This could easily have appeared on it's predecessor 'Lovely Thunder' which is a bit darker than 'The White Arcades'. It does drag on a bit though.

'Totems of the Red Sleeved Warrior' enters the realms of miserableness but is all the better for it as floating long drawn out keyboard chords leave you contemplating beautiful thoughts or reminding you of the last funeral you attended. Eno is at large on this piece.

The boring track 'Room' is followed by the majestic 'Coyote' as that piercing Erik Satie piano takes centre stage. And the lovely outro 'The Kiss' sees things off to a nice conclusion with a pretty tune played yet again on piano as soft keyboards wash quietly in the background.

For old times sake I'm giving this 4 stars. It was one of the first ever cd's I bought in 1988 whilst still a sniveling art college student. It cost me big bucks back then and to this day it still sounds fresh and bright.

I just wish I could remember who once said: 'Sometimes I'm happy being sad'

Dobermensch | 4/5 |


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