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Harold Budd - The Pearl (with Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois) CD (album) cover


Harold Budd


Progressive Electronic

3.91 | 58 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The second collaboration album from stalwarts of ambient Harold Budd and Brian Eno, is in my opinion a massive improvement over their previous release together because of an increased sense of sincerity.

The Pearl is similar in tone to its predecessor, The Plateaux of Mirror, providing heartbreakingly beautiful piano-based ambient soundscapes accompanied by subtle synth textures that sound as round and shiny as the album's title would lead anyone to believe. Fortunately, there is a huge improvement on this album; instead of Eno's pearly synth textures being add-ons to the sound of the minimalist piano, this time around they work more as a separate instrument providing a colorful, ethereal picture for the piano to dance across. In addition, the synth is much much thicker than before, creating an all- consuming aquatic aural density that washes over the entire album that provides a canvas for free-thought and blissful transcendence, which is helped along even more with the added natural sound effects of various birds of the sea. Something else that The Pearl manages to accomplish over its predecessor is an emotional neutrality, but is sincere in its beauty to the point that it would work well with either happiness or sadness depending on what mood is desired by the listener. Instead of being either all sad or all happy, romantic or lonely, it hits a middle ground that can become what you want it to be -- like a lover who will gladly listen to you rant about your achievements or hug and weep with you in a period of hopelessness.

Being an album based on two minimalist properties that remain at a single tone and atmosphere, the tracks on this album are surprisingly compositionally varied. Some tracks are more piano-based, some more synth-based. Sometimes acoustic piano takes the lead and sometimes it's an electric piano. Eno's picturesque soundscapes occasionally die down to a light misty effect and sometimes they are so dense and echoed it's like being submerged in the clearest of seas. Since this is an ambient album, it is because of these variations that make this album much more enjoyable than many of the stagnant ambient albums that don't offer any engaging alterations and provide the listener only with an hour of boredom. Regardless of the specifics in each track, The Pearl maintains a deeply contemplative atmosphere that runs all throughout its runtime, perfect for anyone who already is or hopes to be in "a mood".

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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