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Harold Budd - La Bella Vista CD (album) cover

LA BELLA VISTA

Harold Budd

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 2 ratings

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colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Nothing electronic about this one, but damn it hurts my soul.

Harold Budd has been very consistent in the use of piano in his albums, for better or for worse, and La Bella Vista is his solo acoustic piano album with the ambient echoes removed or significantly trimmed down. All of the tracks are also based on improvisations. I've said bad things about his piano style in the past, but that is because all of the ambient effects made his playing seem very samey and not human. This album, however, displays a new downtrodden kind of sound that is as relaxing as it is emotionally unsettling.

Though everything is improvised, all of the tracks flow as if they had been truly composed. The album plays out almost in a story-like manner such as L. Janacek's On an Overgrown Path, but more jazz-toned with less energetic pieces. As a whole, this album creates an aura of perpetual depression led by past memories that have since become debilitating.

Each track stands out with the capability to invoke any kind of imagery from the listener's own experiences or fantasized thoughts. "The Rose" is one of the moodiest, longing tracks that sounds similar in tone to Joe Hisaishi's "Train Ride" from the Spirited Away soundtrack. Equally affecting is "Her Face", which personally makes me think of an elderly man staring through his bedroom window at his recently deceased wife's beautiful rose garden as overcast skies empty an endless downpour upon the outside world. "Other Flowers" however does shed a small amount of light and child-like splendor on this disc, but it still is peppered with a bittersweet quality that keeps it from ruining the flow of constant dreariness.

Though Harold Budd has created quite a few piano-based albums that more or less sound identical, La Bella Vista is a welcome change of atmospheric style with a lessening of obvious ambient touches to create a more earthly and nearly film noir-like hypothetical soundtrack to life's most emotionally difficult times. Based on the piano-based albums that preceded this one, I'd say that this is so far his best piano album for both its incredibly engaging emotional grasp and its display of masterly improvisational technique.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |

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