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Harold Budd

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Harold Budd By the Dawn's Early Light album cover
2.17 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Poem: Aztec Hotel (1:33)
2. Boy About 10 (4:59)
3. Arcadia (2:00)
4. Dead Horse Alive with Flies (3:40)
5. The Photo of Santiago McKinn (6:55)
6. The Corpse at the Shooting Gallery (2:57)
7. Albion Farewell (Homage to Delius for Gavin Bryars) (2:38)
8. Poem: Distant Lights of Olancha Recede (1:27)
9. Down the Slopes to the Meadow (7:39)
10. She Dances by the Light of the Silvery Moon (2:12)
11. Blind Bird (2:03)
12. Saint's Name Spoken (3:59)
13. The Place of Dead Roads (4:49)
14. A Child in a Sylvan Field (3:36)
15. Poem: Boy About 10 (1:18)
16. Poem: Wings (0:37)
17. Poem: No Name (0:55)
18. Poem: Advent (0:49)

Total Time 54:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Harold Budd / piano, Hammond, synth, vocals, composer & producer

- Bill Nelson / electric & acoustic guitars
- B.J. Cole / pedal steel guitar
- Mabel Wong / viola
- Susan Allen / harp

Releases information

Artwork: Harold Budd

CD Opal Records ‎- 9 26649-2 (1991, US)
CD Hannibal Records ‎- HNCD 1506 (2005, US) New cover

Digital album

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HAROLD BUDD By the Dawn's Early Light ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (50%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

HAROLD BUDD By the Dawn's Early Light reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
2 stars Call me a Philistine, but I can think of nothing worse than having to sit through spoken word poetry. It's that type of poetry where nothing rhymes and just ends up sounding really pretentious. Plus the fact... How often can you listen to a deadbeat emotionless voice reciting off a bunch of seemingly random thoughts. It's tedious in the extreme.

At least there's a few good moments between Mr Budd's turgid poems. Rather than being purely piano based, this time he's helped out with viola and a pedal steel guitar. This adds another arrow to his bow, but the novelty soon wears thin.

There's a couple of good tunes on "By The Dawn's Early Light", but overall this is a miserable, static, melancholic addition to Harold Budd's recordings which certainly won't earn him many new fans. Listenable if you programme your cd player to cut out the spoken word tracks.

Review by colorofmoney91
2 stars Conceptually interesting (?) but poorly executed.

By the Dawn's Early Light marks a change in sound in Harold Budd's discography, being tracks of either extremely humdrum spoken word poetry written by the man himself or reasonably pretty instrumental compositions (violin, piano, etc.). There is an implied storyline that this album is centered around, but I personally have no idea what it is exactly regardless of having listened to the spoken word poetry tracks over a number of times -- I assure you that the storyline is nowhere near is interesting as the instrumentals.

The musical portion of the album is thankfully the majority of By The Dawn's Early Light, and sounds mostly similar to The Pavillion of Dreams in terms of composition and texture only with added synthesizer backdrops and occasionally thin electric guitar melodies. However, very few of these tracks actually sound like they have any sense of purpose while most of them sound like little musical vignettes or B-sides, but usually are nonetheless quite beautiful in the way that would be expected from Harold Budd. I personally find the most beautiful tracks to be the somber piano-based compositions like "Arcadia" that has just a small touch of delicate creepiness, or the tonally similar but string-based "Boy About Ten". By far, the worst musical track on this album is "Saint's Name Spoken", which is based around a simple piano melody, light Mediterranean nylon string guitar, light percussion, and Harold Budd's own tone-deaf robotic vocals, and this all comes together to create a song that sounds like Kraftwerk unplugged -- it's hilarious to think about in concept but it really does sound quite ridiculous.

The instrumental tracks vary in quality, sometimes sounding very cheesy and not at all on- par with Harold Budd's beautiful and nearly transcendental previous work, but there are some interesting (albeit short) gems here to be salvaged. The poems, however, are incredibly boring and don't evoke any kind of emotional or personal response, which I believe to be an important goal in writing poetry (I'm not a poet, so I could be wrong). Thus, Budd's poetry on this album can very well be passed up, but the instrumentals themselves are at least worthy to be heard even if they are nowhere near as satisfying as nearly anything else Harold Budd has done. Though the concept of poetry and beautiful compositions sounds like it would be conceptually interesting, it is very pooly executed on By The Dawn's Early Light.

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