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Harold Budd - Glyph (With Hector Zazou) CD (album) cover

GLYPH (WITH HECTOR ZAZOU)

Harold Budd

 

Progressive Electronic

3.96 | 4 ratings

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colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Whereas most of Harold Budd's album are typically freely flowing compositions led by piano or ambient synths based on stark sparsity, this collaboration with Hector Zazou and a slew of other musicians is a unique standout in his discography that serves as a great follow up to Luxa.

Glyph shows Harold Budd becoming more comfortable with the sounds of modern music, similar to his previous album but much less out-of-touch. The two strongest standout elements on this album are the obvious inclusion of a stronger inner city jazz influence and a fairly steady hip-hop influence -- it looks weird on paper for this particular artist, but the style is executed very well. From the first track, "Pandas in Tandem", the immediately hip-hop beat-oriented influence is obvious with a loop that beats away with deep bass frequencies, but Harold Budd tried-and-true desolate piano style offers a great contrast and even great emotion that is both sentimental and somewhat depressing, or lonely. The music on Glyph very appropriately matches the cover design, which is always a fun thing about certain albums. The majority of this album follows suit, with varying degrees of urban music influences. "Gorgon's Anxious Pansy" is a notable track in that is seems very influenced by the nu-jazz style made famous by Nils Petter Molvaer, complete with hardstyle hip-hop beat contrasted by dark ambient soundscapes and accentuated by moody, brooding trumpet improvisation. "The Aperture" also features similar nu-jazz influence but also proves itself the most progressive track on the album, slowly and smoothly building over its 11-minute duration, and features very classy, fairly extensive, and lush instrumentation.

There are a few ambient tracks on this album that serve as nice breaks or interludes between the slightly urban styled selections, but are less impressive. Some of them, like "Johnny Cake" and "Reflected in the Eye of a Dragonfly" feature the previously distracting and underwhelming spoken word poetry that Harold Budd has never been quite good at, but it finally seems that he's been able to add some power and emotion to his voice that makes the style here much more compelling, though it still is fairly unfavorable in my opinion.

All in all, Glyph is a very good album, even if it does contain a flaw or two. Regardless, it's a fantastic addition to Harold Budd's discography and it shows his willingness to experiment with modern styles of electronic music as well as make an update to the jazz style that he's held on to since his debut. It's quite a singular experience in his discography, but beautiful nonetheless, and would probably appeal more to nu-jazz and instrumental hip-hop fans more than fans of his earlier, classic works. Still, Glyph is one of my personal favorites from this artist.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |

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