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Harold Budd - Harold Budd & Brian Eno: Ambient 2 - The Plateaux Of Mirror CD (album) cover


Harold Budd


Progressive Electronic

3.99 | 77 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars In 1979 and 1980, the majority of Brian's time and energy went into making Talking Heads one of the most interesting studio bands on earth, so it's understandable that he wasn't able to work on a proper solo album during this period. However, he did find time to collaborate with one Harold Budd, a minimalist composer of some renown in his own right, and apparently Eno was considered to have had sufficient input that it was deemed appropriate to dub this the first successor to Music For Airports in Eno's Ambient series. The formula for the tracks is fairly simple and consistent - Budd plays minimalist, but nonetheless clearly developed piano melodies over Eno's synths - but it's very pretty from almost start to finish, and a definite improvement over Ambient 1 (this is a very high *** as opposed to a low ***).

I think that the biggest key to this album being superior to 1, as blasphemous as it may sound, is that Eno isn't the primary composer on these songs. With so much of his life force being spent on his Talking Heads work, this wasn't really a time when he would be especially able to balance his experimental side and his "real" music side in the way that usually set him apart from the rest of the pop music world, and I kinda suspect that if his 2nd entry in the Ambient series had been another true solo album, it would have been more of 1. Here, though, by outsourcing the actual meat of the project to somebody else, he was able to avoid spreading himself too thin, and the result was a perfectly enjoyable album.

I have absolutely no intention of even attempting to go through this album track by track; I can suffice to say that the songs are (a) mostly pretty as background music and (b) quite evocative of their titles, meaning that actual imagery can be dug up while listening to it. I would point out, though, that "Not Yet Remembered" is absolutely gorgeous, not so much for the very simple (and pretty derivative, though nice to listen to anyway) piano melody but for the effect of Eno's otherworldly synth-harmonies that are laid on top starting a little more than a minute into the piece.

This review is short, yes, but please make no mistake; the world needs more ambient (or whatever you want to call this) albums like this, with this kind of otherworldly beauty surrounding my ears and making the world calmer and lovelier. I can't give it a higher grade because, well, it's hard for an ambient album to get a higher grade than this from me, and this isn't the very best ambient I've ever heard, but it's up there. And it goes without saying that if you're one of those New Age music people, you should be all over this.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |


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