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LOVELY THUNDER

Harold Budd

Progressive Electronic


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colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Following one of the most emotionally harrowing electronic ambient albums available, Harold Budd moves in a colder direction while offering a good variety in track length.

Lovely Thunder uses much of the same primarily electronic style of creating ambient music, creating dense soundscapes that flow smoothly and slowly towards their endpoints and mostly leaving the piano behind or at most using it for textural enhancement (often masking its natural sound with various effects). But whereas Abandoned Cities was entirely bleak and depressing, this follow-up is instead more icy and arctic that doesn't really invoke a type of negative emotion other than "wow, look at all of this ice".

Also, instead of two tracks that hang around the 20 minute mark, there is only a single track that goes on for that long while the remaining tracks range from 2 to just over 7 minutes. Because of this, there is an obvious amount of compositional variety that was not present on Abandoned Cities, where the two tracks fleshed out a single melody over 20 minutes each.

The 20 minute epic, "Gypsy Violin", besides being potentially antiziganist, is straight-up ambience with an epic Steve Roach cinematic element. The entire duration consists of very slow moving dirge-like (a style Budd seems to consistently do quite well) near-symphonic swelling drone of low register strings that is accentuated by intermittent ethnic (and obviously fake) violin melodies that create a soothing yet alerting tension. It's somewhat similar to the long-form gloomy ambience found on the previous album, but the ethnic and string additions ensure that it isn't just a simple rehash of past ideas. Although short, "Ice Floes in Eden" is an almost empty sounding synth and keyboard based track that really take the icy atmosphere as far as it can possibly go, sounding like an icy cave with glistening stalactites and stalagmites.

I've always been a sucker for the cold. Any type of music that sounds icy or snowy that also isn't Christmas music really hits me hard (ECM jazz, Russian ballet, Scandinavian folk, black metal, etc.), so if anyone else has a similar taste in icy, icy tunes, Lovely Thunder is a great album to add to your collection. If you want something energetic and uplifting, however, this should probably be passed over.

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Posted Friday, March 02, 2012 | Review Permalink

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