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Harold Budd - By The Dawn's Early Light CD (album) cover

BY THE DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT

Harold Budd

 

Progressive Electronic

2.16 | 4 ratings

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colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Conceptually interesting (?) but poorly executed.

By the Dawn's Early Light marks a change in sound in Harold Budd's discography, being tracks of either extremely humdrum spoken word poetry written by the man himself or reasonably pretty instrumental compositions (violin, piano, etc.). There is an implied storyline that this album is centered around, but I personally have no idea what it is exactly regardless of having listened to the spoken word poetry tracks over a number of times -- I assure you that the storyline is nowhere near is interesting as the instrumentals.

The musical portion of the album is thankfully the majority of By The Dawn's Early Light, and sounds mostly similar to The Pavillion of Dreams in terms of composition and texture only with added synthesizer backdrops and occasionally thin electric guitar melodies. However, very few of these tracks actually sound like they have any sense of purpose while most of them sound like little musical vignettes or B-sides, but usually are nonetheless quite beautiful in the way that would be expected from Harold Budd. I personally find the most beautiful tracks to be the somber piano-based compositions like "Arcadia" that has just a small touch of delicate creepiness, or the tonally similar but string-based "Boy About Ten". By far, the worst musical track on this album is "Saint's Name Spoken", which is based around a simple piano melody, light Mediterranean nylon string guitar, light percussion, and Harold Budd's own tone-deaf robotic vocals, and this all comes together to create a song that sounds like Kraftwerk unplugged -- it's hilarious to think about in concept but it really does sound quite ridiculous.

The instrumental tracks vary in quality, sometimes sounding very cheesy and not at all on- par with Harold Budd's beautiful and nearly transcendental previous work, but there are some interesting (albeit short) gems here to be salvaged. The poems, however, are incredibly boring and don't evoke any kind of emotional or personal response, which I believe to be an important goal in writing poetry (I'm not a poet, so I could be wrong). Thus, Budd's poetry on this album can very well be passed up, but the instrumentals themselves are at least worthy to be heard even if they are nowhere near as satisfying as nearly anything else Harold Budd has done. Though the concept of poetry and beautiful compositions sounds like it would be conceptually interesting, it is very pooly executed on By The Dawn's Early Light.

colorofmoney91 | 2/5 |

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