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Harold Budd - Agua CD (album) cover

AGUA

Harold Budd

 

Progressive Electronic

2.14 | 3 ratings

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colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Agua is the first live album by Harold Budd, and like most live electronic albums this mostly sounds like a studio recording aside from the clapping audience that ends each track.

There is no doubt in my mind that this recording was either touched up very heavily post- session in the studio or possibly recorded straight from his synths and piano, because the quality of this for a live album is on at least on par with Lustmord's Rising, though obviously different in style. Aguacontains previous classic material from albums such as The Plateaux of Mirror, The Pearl and The White Arcades, which makes this album somewhat redundant and pointless considering that being played in a live session decreased the strong ambient atmosphere of the tracks that stick out on the previous recordings. Besides these tracks having a portion of soul stripped away from them, there really isn't much variation to separate these recordings from the originals.

However, Aqua does serve as a fairly decent, if incomplete, "greatest hits" type of compilation. But like most compilations, I'd only suggest this for beginners who want a taste of the different sides of this multifaceted electronic-acoustic composer. This album only features tracks from Harold Budd's more famous piano-based echo-laden ambient The Plateaux of Mirror, the similar but greatly improved The Pearl, and the combination ambient synth and piano album The White Arcades, but it is unfortunately missing any material from his stronger, meatier albums like Lovely Thunder and Abandoned Cities. Luckily, his dry (but still remarkably pretty) chamber works and spoken word poetry selections make no appearance here, which might have turned away new potential fans. Regardless, this live recording offers up a light, short, if incomplete, introduction to the piano-based ambient composition side of this early electronic music figurehead.

As a concert album, Agua is kind of strange, given that the recording quality is very well done but the samples of the audience clapping at the end of each track is still included, putting a break in the pleasant (though downgraded) atmosphere, which doesn't make much sense. Still, as an introduction to Harold Budd's music, this album would work just fine even if it doesn't contain any of his more substantial compositions. For those looking for something deep and moody, however, should pass up this recording.

colorofmoney91 | 2/5 |

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