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Harold Budd - Luxa CD (album) cover


Harold Budd

Progressive Electronic

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4 stars Like most fans of electronic music, I come to works of Harold Budd after listening his very good collaborations with Brian Eno, where he shows his specific atmospheric piano style. Luxa is an excellent album of ambient music. It is a combination of piano driven (somewhat brighter atmosfhere) and space-drone ambient pieces. No major differences in the tempo, and yet, the album is interesting and encouraged to repeated listening, what is not easily achieved in this genre (and Harold Budd reaches that in almost every album). Music at times reminds on the soundtrack of some avantgarde movie, with long, dream-like scenes...ideal music for relaxation in a late afternoon... A great album for the first touch with Harold Budd, fully deserved 4.5 stars!

Report this review (#549117)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Luxa is very similar in style to The White Arcades, but subtly improves the atmospheric quality and relies more on interesting arrangements, even if they still remain sparse.

I've said before that Harold Budd has a bit of an impressionist quality in the music he writes, often reminding me of the quiet, flowing, picturesque compositions of C. Debussy and M. Ravel, and sometimes even their British impressionist classical counterparts, but has nonetheless remained somewhat boring in his seemingly very limited range of ideas -- the uber-quiet ambient piano-based compositions have nearly been beaten to death in his discography and always sound almost identical unless the music is given the utmost importance while listening. What Luxa offers is a newer, more polished sound and more (different) sounding ambient electronic touches to his classic and distinct piano sound.

Instead of simply relying on heavy reverb attached to his drifting somber instrumentals, he's employed a stronger interest in cave-like, water-like, and vaguely ethnic elements that make this sound like no other album before in his discography. From the first track, "Niki D" in the "Butterflies With Tits" suite (a title I would like to have explained to me in further detail), the change in atmosphere and composition becomes obvious, sounding like laid-back lounge jazz with a temple-esque warm echoing effect and warm ambient drone. On "A Sidelong Glance From My Round Nefertiti" the classic ambient piano style is displayed but with a stronger impressionistic soundscape quality that sounds more classy and constructed and less random and pointless than usual. Some tracks are entirely synth-dominated, like "Agnes Martin" and "Nove Alberi", which in my opinion offer up the style that Harold Budd truly excels at, while "Paul McCarthy" is an experiment in bass-led lounge jazz synthesizer and piano music that is very minimal while leading itself through clear but subtle progression until the point when it ends, drifting organic to ethereal in a rather affecting way.

While The White Arcades did offer variation in it's tracks with numbers that were piano-based, synth-based, and combinations of the two, it seemed very dry and not all too different from The Plateaux of Mirror or even parts of Lovely Thunder. This is where Luxa excels -- it contains all of the elements from the classic ambient piano style combined with the wonderful and emotional synthesizer soundscapes to create an album that sounds familiar while also adding unique elements and song construction to make this album standout among his discography as an inspired individual collection with a specific tone. The albums following Lovely Thunder were disappointing and didn't display the true artistic quality and integrity that Harold Budd was known for in his earlier days, but Luxa is where the man finally rebirths his own artistry.

Report this review (#659196)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | Review Permalink

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