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Harold Budd - The Serpent (In Quicksilver)/Abandoned Cities CD (album) cover

THE SERPENT (IN QUICKSILVER)/ABANDONED CITIES

Harold Budd

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 3 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
2 stars The Serpent (In Quicksilver)/Abandoned Cities is, as the title implies, a compilation that consists of Harold Budd's incredible exploration into dark, depressing loneliness with a considerably vast atmosphere with a collection of tracks that meld together the minimalist piano style with the deep atmospheric ambience called The Serpent (In Quicksilver).

I've already reviewed Abandoned Cities, so I'm going to focus mostly on the other portion of this album.

The Serpent is piano-based minimalism, much like the classic The Plateaux of Mirror, but is a bit more fleshed out than the term minimalism would cause people to expect. The compositions themselves are short but contain more movement, and they also have a much thicker atmosphere that is comparable to a slightly toned down version of the style used on the album that accompanies this release. In addition to this, the piano seems to mostly be played in a lower register. Despite all of these changes to Harold Budd's minimalist piano style, there really isn't much in the way of interesting music here. There is not much for the listener to grab onto and the compositions themselves are kind of bland and don't really establish any kind of emotion. The combination of minimalist piano and gloomy ambient soundscapes sound like it would work perfectly, on paper, but the idea isn't really thought out entirely. Also, some of these tracks sound very goofy and dated, such as the title track that sounds like something that would be played in a cheap spa, and "Afar" is like a boring ambient country track that is more aggravating than soothing and based around piercing lap-steel guitar.

The Serpent (In Quicksilver)/Abandoned Cities is a very uneven and inconsistent compilation, consisting of an emotional classic album paired with a collection of throw-away B- sides that hold absolutely no weight and provide nothing except barely soothing piano-based minimalist aimlessness. I'd only suggest this album to someone who doesn't already own Abandoned Cities, because the extra tracks might be worth the small amount of extra money depending on how much the listener could potentially enjoy them, but definitely are not worth the price of buying this compilation for those tracks alone.

colorofmoney91 | 2/5 |

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