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Harold Budd - She Is A Phantom CD (album) cover


Harold Budd


Progressive Electronic

2.21 | 5 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars She is a Phantom is a collaboration with a quartet called Zeitgeist and is a huge improvement on Harold Budd's previous album, strengthening the previously hinted at chamber music style into a now full-fledged chamber music album with a dark tonality similar to the works of Art Zoyd and Univers Zero though much more relaxed.

The style here is entirely contemporary classical chamber music, being very subdued and beautiful in often a dark way that reflects the gentle but unsettling title. Much like the previous album, there is a storyline somewhere that this album is centered around, and I similarly have no idea what it could be. Fortunately, the music is pretty enough for a storyline to be entirely unimportant, and Harold Budd, I believe, has always been better at invoking a listener's own personal story rather than trying to subject the listeners to his own personal story. She is a Phantom doesn't really contain many of the signature ambient style compositions that have been present all throughout his discography, other than the echo effects that tail behind every lonely note and a newly present organ drone.

As pretty as the compositions on this album are, the album quickly become very monotonous as all of the compositions tend to sound, more or less, the same. In all honestly, the entire album is summed up wonderfully within the first four tracks; they're slightly melancholy though sometimes a bit uplifting and playful in a foreboding kind of way, but typically come off sounding like bits and pieces from S. Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf conceptualized into new-age music.

The worst part of She is a Phantom is the same worst part of By the Dawn's Early Light -- pointless and monotone spoken word. However, the spoken word seems to be less like poetry and more like Harold Budd just blandly talking about something uninteresting while a marching military snare rat-a-tat-tats in the background, and it puts a huge distracting tonal dent in this otherwise perfectly beautiful (even if samey) album based on extremely soft tones -- compositionally, it doesn't even make sense for someone to do this for any other reason than to alarm the listener in the most annoying way possible.

While Harold Budd has crafted what is mostly a texturally delicate album based on echoed acoustic instrumentation, the experience is ruined by random and purposeless narration and alerting snare drumming. Aside from that, and while this album is beautiful, She is a Phantom sounds exactly the same after its first 15 minutes. Though this album is tonally pleasant, it doesn't serve much of a purpose other than to be music that becomes background noise.

colorofmoney91 | 2/5 |


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