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Harold Budd - The Pavilion of Dreams CD (album) cover


Harold Budd


Progressive Electronic

3.82 | 29 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Pavilion of Dreams is organic and well-composed modern classical and jazz inspired ambient music, and there really isn't anything quite like it. Piano, harp, operatic singing, saxophone, and chimes all play a part in creating 47 minutes of clearly composed beauty that paints laid back imagery like the most romantic scene in any film noir.

"Bismillahi 'Rrahmani 'Rrahim" is clearly very jazz influenced all throughout its almost 19 minute duration with noodling saxophone being main attraction, but unlike the constant progression of even Miles Davis' most inactive electric-era compositions, it really fails to grab any attention and remains a very elaborate background lounge jazz impressionistic soundscape. Beautiful nonetheless, but somehow just uninteresting.

"Two Songs" however is much more complete, yet barely ambient in the truest sense of the genre. These two compositions run together as one, basically, and are tied together in theme by the saddest of wordless female operatic soprano vocalization that remind me of Russian beauty Anna Netrebko's performance as Iolanta, the blind daughter of King Rene in P. Tchaikovsky's opera of the same name. The vocals of the "Two Songs" loom over the sensual and sunny harp, as if mocking the despondency of the vocals much in the same way that people will tell a depressed person "don't worry, it will be okay". This track works so well, in my opinion, because it sounds like actual memorable songs rather than nearly aimless jazz.

"Madrigals of the Rose Angel" is considerably thicker compared to the previous two tracks, which mostly because of the marimba and low-register electric piano playing, though the mellow mood of sadness still haunts the entire 14 minutes. But the composition does sound kind of like a madrigal, as advertised, like a morbidly heartbroken Antonio Jobim. Out of the four tracks on this album, I'd say "Madrigals" is the most pleasantly warm and dreamy sounding -- a side effect of the electric piano and marimba.

"Juno", however, is the most aimless track on this album. The chord progression is light and beautiful, and the marimba and electric piano both create the same warm sound as on the previous track, but the composition never really progresses. The same lounge music atmosphere ensues which simply makes this sound like more of the same.

While The Pavilion of Dreams is an outstandingly beautiful album with a moment of standout material, the super laid back jazz ambience doesn't vary itself at all besides adding or subtracting of one or two instruments. Because of this, I'd say that Harold Budd has created a great backdrop for a romantic hour with a loved one, or perhaps a soundtrack to the sunny days where for some reason you just feel like crying, but as an album of engaging music to really get involved in it seems somewhat insufficient.

colorofmoney91 | 3/5 |


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