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HAROLD BUDD

Progressive Electronic • United States


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Harold Budd biography
Harold Budd is a contemporary artist initially formed in jazz and improvised music. He is also a piano player. He first started his career in the 1970 as a professor at California Institute of Arts. He signed his first album on Brian Eno Obscure label. After a successful collaboration with Brian Eno in «Ambient 2: Plateaux of mirrors» (1980) and in «The Pearl» (1983) he made a name in ambient space music. His long colourful soundscapes feature dense floating synthesised waves, contemporary neo-classical harmonies (using various acoustic / traditional instruments) and acousmatic sonorities. By reference to visual art, his music can also be described as abstract expressionist minimalism.

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BuddboxBuddbox
Box set
All Saints 2013
Audio CD$36.55
$45.19 (used)
Wind in Lonely FencesWind in Lonely Fences
All Saints 2013
Audio CD$12.27
$16.65 (used)
Avalon SutraAvalon Sutra
Remastered
Darla Records 2014
Audio CD$16.13
$17.03 (used)
Lovely ThunderLovely Thunder
Editions Eg Records 1990
Audio CD$43.00
$5.95 (used)
In the MistIn the Mist
Darla Records 2011
Audio CD$11.83
$7.94 (used)
Moon & MelodiesMoon & Melodies
4ad / Ada 1999
Audio CD$6.66
$7.50 (used)
The RoomThe Room
Atlantic 2011
Audio CD$9.94
$7.87 (used)
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HAROLD BUDD AND BRIAN ENO - "Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror" LP 1980 E.G. US $18.00 [1 bids]
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HAROLD BUDD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HAROLD BUDD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 14 ratings
The Pavilion of Dreams
1978
3.88 | 44 ratings
Ambient 2 - The Plateaux Of Mirror (with Brian Eno)
1980
3.98 | 36 ratings
The Pearl (with Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois)
1984
4.46 | 8 ratings
Abandoned Cities
1984
3.96 | 8 ratings
Lovely Thunder
1986
3.19 | 7 ratings
The White Arcades
1988
2.06 | 3 ratings
By The Dawn's Early Light
1991
2.23 | 3 ratings
She Is A Phantom
1994
2.09 | 3 ratings
Through The Hill (with Andy Partridge)
1994
2.14 | 3 ratings
Agua
1995
4.05 | 3 ratings
Luxa
1996
3.96 | 4 ratings
Glyph (With Hector Zazou)
1996
3.04 | 5 ratings
The Room
2000
2.18 | 3 ratings
Translucence - Drift Music
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
La Bella Vista
2003
2.33 | 5 ratings
Avalon Sutra - As Long as I Can Hold My Breath
2005
4.00 | 2 ratings
Music for 'Fragments from the Inside'
2005
2.27 | 2 ratings
Mysterious Skin - Music from the Film
2005
3.09 | 2 ratings
before the day breaks
2007
3.05 | 3 ratings
after the night falls
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
A Song for Lost Blossoms
2008
2.67 | 3 ratings
Candylion
2009
3.00 | 1 ratings
Little Windows
2010
3.15 | 4 ratings
Bordeaux (with Robin Guthrie)
2011

HAROLD BUDD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Perhaps
2007

HAROLD BUDD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HAROLD BUDD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
The Serpent (In Quicksilver)/Abandoned Cities
1984

HAROLD BUDD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

HAROLD BUDD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ambient 2 - The Plateaux Of Mirror (with Brian Eno) by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.88 | 44 ratings

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Ambient 2 - The Plateaux Of Mirror (with Brian Eno)
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

4 stars The mere concept and achievement of these first 4 declared AMBIENT music efforts. Deserve 4 Progarchive stars. The bending of the language to all possible Eno wise structures; and the realization of getting others in the boat; is just like that full of merit. If not as musician involved directly as producer only. Ambient 3: "Day of Radiance" by a then not yet discovered talented composer who called himself : Laraaji. Like he did with others in all kinds of fields. (Ultravox a good example). This Ambient with Harold Budd has the kind of who owns the work "biz" hassle; I wont deepen into. The music is a very good example of how recognizable piano melodies that are rich and deep; without getting to that "sweetness" point the instrument itself leads you to; can construct without being protagonic a perfect non-piano structure with piano as lead instrument . Mr. Budd can be accused of "over-sweetening" some of his work . But in this work; both members hold each other tightly at watch; therefore become an undivisible unit in constant awareness of the fact that if they move away from the objective; the magic will dissolve as dust. Great considering this is not a one hour composition; but a different songs album; that aim to get the naked "non-corny serious side of piano playing" into a different environment than his own ; plus; the alway lavish touch of Mr, Eno well known antics... What can I say .. 4 stars; but really so are the other 3 albums in this collection.......like 4 different possible worlds; possible.

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 after the night falls by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.05 | 3 ratings

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after the night falls
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Essentially a "part two" of the previous album, but with no new statements to make.

Before the Day Breaks was a decent album that proved that Harold Budd still knew how to create emotionally evocative ambient music, and Robin Guthrie's ethereal guitar tone added a little bit of variety when compared to Budd's back-catalog, even if the individual arrangements and the album as a whole had that stagnant "oh, this sounds like Harold Budd" aura. However, finishing up the first Budd/Guthrie duology (minus the soundtrack work) with After the Night Falls adds absolutely nothing new to their formula.

The mood on this album is slightly less of a gloomy overcast and more of a quiet, contemplative one. Though this is a difference in sound from the previous album, it's not very significant at all -- the compositions, though dreamy and ambient, more or less sound nearly identical to what was done before on Before the Day Breaks.

The drifting keyboards and guitars heavily effected with reverb weaving between dense ambient soundscapes are undoubtedly beautiful, which is an adjective that almost always appropriately describes Harold Budd's music, but there is absolutely nothing engaging about this album at all. So, background music? Yes, but it's not even very interesting in that respect either. Though the compositions on the previous album had some real feeling to them, these compositions never develop within themselves of within the context of the entire album's duration. The previous collaboration between these two musicians had two standout tracks, but I can detect none on this album, and it seems like this duo have finally run out of worthy ideas.

I really wanted to like this album considering that Before the Day Breaks showed some real promise, and the soundtrack to Mysterious Skin released before it showed even more promise. Unfortunately, After the Night Falls shows that promise breaking down and falling away. Following this album, Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie decided to take a break from each other for a few years, which I honestly have to say was probably the right call to make.

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 before the day breaks by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.09 | 2 ratings

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before the day breaks
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Following Mysterious Skin, Harold Budd decided to again work with Robin Guthrie on a couple more albums, that are fairly similar to the former.

Before the Day Breaks follows in the same ambient vein as its soundtrack predecessor album, consisting of distant ambient keyboard, twangy clean-toned guitar picking, and floating ambient synths that consume the background while the two main instruments weave their sound within, creating an ambient style that is essentially extremely chilled out post-rock sans percussion and crescendos, and it kind of all sounds better that way.

The atmosphere created on Before the Day Breaks is very depressing, which I've always considered Harold Budd to be good at. The mood created here is very similar to that of The Room albeit a bit more dense as a result of slightly expanded instrumentation. Whereas The Room creates guided imagery of an empty room that overlooks a scene of beauty affected by some type of perpetual gloom, this album rather creates guided imagery of an abandoned house that has been left in ruins, but the past beauty of the construct is inherently obvious from the size of the lot and the overgrown garden in the field behind, and this is the soundtrack to traversing the ruins and assimilating the decrepit, mysterious environment.

Though, compared to Mysterious Skin, this album isn't varied much at all, even if the previous album also contained little variation. All of the songs tend to sound the same and, after the first few tracks, the differences between tracks seem to become less noticeable from sheer lack of interest. "Turn On the Moon" is the only track that stood out to me in the beginning because of it's light electronic beat that guides a gentle southern rock meets Goo Goo Dolls ballad type of guide melody, but overall is rather uninteresting. "She is My Weakness" eventually presented itself as a standout with it's odd staccato keyboard chords, but isn't necessarily a great song nor does it really add to my exaggerated atmospheric imagery.

But, compared to many artists in the ambient genre, Before the Day Breaks shows that Harold Budd remains more competent at the art of creating affecting atmospheres through the bare minimum of chord progressions that direct profoundly dense atmospheres than many other artists could dream of creating. Though there isn't any intense musicality to be impressed with here, it's a pleasant listening experience and an emotional journey if you allow it to be.

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 Mysterious Skin - Music from the Film by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.27 | 2 ratings

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Mysterious Skin - Music from the Film
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Coming from someone who has not seen the film counterpart to this soundtrack, and judging this album as music alone, there really doesn't seem to be anything special here.

This soundtrack for the film of the same name, Mysterious Skin is yet another collaborative effort that definitely does not live up to the somewhat experimental or stylistically different previous collaborations, but still offers up a decent serving of deeply ambient piano impressionism from Harold Budd along with Robin Guthrie (from Cocteau Twins) -- unfortunately, unlike what the lineup on this album would suggest, there doesn't seem to be any elements from '80s goth rock present on this album at all, which would have easily made everything more interesting. What this album does offer to the usual ambient piano style, though, is equally soothing deep ambient electric guitar (clean toned) that overall make Mysterious Skin sound like a far too laid back post-rock album.

This album is different from Harold Budd's previous ambient piano albums for three reasons: it's elementally different because of the soothing guitar playing, stylistically different because Budd's keyboard sounds distinctively "keyboard", and the overall ambient effects attached to and laid under the instrumentation has a much stronger and deeper reverb effect that gives the entire album a very dreamy feel. This extra reverb, though it sounds small, does wonders for this album that would otherwise be too different to albums like The White Arcades.

Compositionally, however, very few of the tracks on this album stand out as individuals at all -- something that Harold Budd has always had a problem with on his albums (and I say this over and over again, I know). "Goodbye to Wendy" follows in the same floating ambient vein as all of the tracks, but has a profound country music atmosphere to it, including echo-y slide guitar, and the whole tracks sounds like something Earth would write if they decided to be more ethereal and laid back. "Loitering" is a fairly boring song that is amplified a bit by a thin electronic beat and repetitive motif, and that's about the only thing that makes it stand out.

So, as a Harold Budd album, Mysterious Skin is somewhat different in a few aspects but is still far too similar to the ambient music he's been creating for over 30 years. As a soundtrack, I'm sure this album works way better. Fans of the the ambient piano style music of the past will most likely enjoy this album, and so will some post-rock fans, but to me it just sounds like a new stamp on an old product.

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 Music for 'Fragments from the Inside' by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Music for 'Fragments from the Inside'
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Music for "Fragments from the Inside" is a collaboration album of Harold Budd and Eraldo Bernocchi for an exhibit in the Palazzo Delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea in Italy, and in terms of sound I do believe it is a step in the right direction.

This album is probably not what you'd expect as something for an exhibit in an Italian contemporary art center, but it is good nonetheless. Music for "Fragments from the Inside" starts off in a deceptive manner with all of "Fragment One" being the trademark aimless ambient piano method that sincerely bores me to tears almost every time he's done it on previous records. Fortunately, though, it's done quite well as a long introduction before "Fragment Two" blasts off with Berlin school-type groaning and bubbling analog synths before segueing into beat-oriented ambient acid techno with a repetitive yet soothing bass line comparable to the music of Boards of Canada and Biosphere's first two albums -- from this point it is obvious that this is not just another boring ol' Harold Budd album where he treads the same path as always.

From the second track onward, each track is made up of the soothing piano, groaning Berlin school-style synths, occasionally acoustic/ethnic percussion, and various techno- related electronic effects, making this album as a whole somewhat similar to the modern nu-jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft's New Conception of Jazz series/group. Harold Budd has proved himself to be a good collaborator before, on albums such as Glyph, and he continues showing his teamwork-oriented skill on this album as well, with flying colors. Still, as to be expected from this artist, Music for "Fragments from the Inside" is a very laid back album and there are no explicit dance numbers to be found, and no rowdy jams, though the energy present is still obvious upon first listen -- this is what I'd like to call "techno for adults".

Something that Harold Budd is usually bad at on his own -- making tracks stand out as individuals -- is thankfully not a problem here. Each track on this album actually sounds like a song and is easily distinguishable from the others. Each track has its own identity while still conforming to an overall, album-wide style that guarantees a coherent end product.

Music for "Fragments from the Inside" is quite different from the majority of Harold Budd's albums, which might be a turnoff to some people. However, I do think he's very good at combining his trademark style with the sounds of more modern electronic music, and anyone who is a fan of Glyph will most likely find some enjoyment in this album as well. Also, if there were a Harold Budd album that I'd recommend to fans of Boards of Canada, Bugge Wesseltoft, and early Biosphere, then this would be it.

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 Avalon Sutra - As Long as I Can Hold My Breath by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.33 | 5 ratings

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Avalon Sutra - As Long as I Can Hold My Breath
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Avalon Sutra is Harold Budd's second chamber music album, and is very similar in composition to She is a Phantom but has more lush instrumentation and seems a bit more thought out overall.

Avalon Sutra, though being dominated by impressionistic acoustic string instruments and piano, also has an increased aura of ethereal ambience that She is a Phantom did not quite have so much of. The composition style also is slightly more straight forward throughout, with an absence of the weird (albeit interesting) RIO-type compositions that echoed Univers Zero. The tone of this album is similarly downtrodden and moody, comparable to the previous album La Bella Vista except with larger instrumentation and somewhat of an aquatic or earthly vibe.

The album in its entirety is very beautiful in quite an emotionally affecting way, which is something that Harold Budd is usually good at but the varied instrumentation makes everything more compelling and atmospheric than simply an ambient piano-based album. That being said, no individual track really sticks out to me, which is something that he often has a problem with. Not to say that every song on an album such as this one requires catchy hooks or anything, but every song tends to sound nearly the same as the last except with a cello phrase switched out with flute phrase, or a violin phrase switched with a cello phrase, etc. If given utmost attention, then I'm sure every track sticks out in its own way, but it shouldn't need to be this difficult. But, again, this is very beautiful and ethereal chamber music, so Avalon Sutra has that going for it at least.

The big (and only) standout composition however is the entire second disc, which is a track called "As Long as I Can Hold My Breath (By Night)" that is almost 70 minutes long. For its entire duration it explores a single, short, minimalist motif played on strings while other elements come and go from and into the distance, giving off a vibe similar to M. Feldman's Piano and String Quartet except much less morose. Again, the light airy ambience is in full effect that makes this small chamber music type composition sound almost faux-symphonic. Indeed, for 70 minutes this track can become tiring, but it actually being centered on obvious repetition is more interesting and easier to follow than a disc of different compositions that all sound the same based on accident -- it seems more appropriate and less embarrassing this way.

Because Avalon Sutra is two discs, one being boring and the other somewhat interesting, it's hard for me to want to recommend this album to anyone. In comparison, I'd say this album is similar to The Pavilion of Dreams and the aforementioned She is a Phantom, though this is more straight forward, predictable, and entirely void of jazz influence. This could be a great album to aid in relaxation, but mostly it is incapable of garnering any interest during its entire 115-minute duration. Heavenly, yes, but increasingly tedious as the minutes wear on.

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 La Bella Vista by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.00 | 2 ratings

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La Bella Vista
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by 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.

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 Translucence - Drift Music by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.18 | 3 ratings

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Translucence - Drift Music
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In this two-disc collaboration effort, Harold Budd falls back into uninspired boredom- inducing nothingness.

Translucence and Drift Music are the two discs included in this set, and neither are particularly interesting or at all different from Harold Budd's previous work on The Plateaux of Mirror and other very similar albums in his discography. Honestly, it's hard to hear what contribution John Fox offers to this album, because nothing stands out at all from Budd's previous sound.

Translucence is the piano-based ambient composition part of this set, featuring tracks that nearly sound identical in tone and atmosphere to each other. It's beautiful and ethereal, definitely, but by this time in his career, I'm somewhat tired of such a promising artist returning to the compositionally bland style that sounds the same as it did over three decades from the time this album was released. Still, as music that forces itself into the background due to lack of interesting moments or any standout tracks, this disc is still rather beautiful and would be suitable for relaxation.

Drift Music is similar in tone to the first disc in this set, but is primarily dominated by ghostly ethereal synth atmospheres than being based on piano. Despite this, it practically sounds the same and still doesn't offer up any variety throughout its complete duration. It's beautiful, enigmatic, and calming atmosphere again make for great atmosphere, but gets tiring after about 10 minutes.

This two disc set is overlong, by a long shot, considering neither of the discs go anywhere compositionally speaking and don't really establish any kind of emotional response other than perpetual emptiness and boredom, and one disc would have been just fine for such a response. It seems that at this point in his career, Harold Budd was hesitant to allow himself to progress and grow further from his roots that had since served him well, and this makes for a bland "it's been done before" feeling overall on Translucence/Drift Music.

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 The Room by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.04 | 5 ratings

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The Room
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Back to the style of more ambient compositions.

After a stretch of two interesting and beautiful albums, Harold Budd regresses once again to the style that he is most known for: impressionistic ambient piano-based compositions. That being said, The Room is a bit different from similarly styled The Pleateaux of Mirror mostly because of it's tendency to stay on the darker side. Whereas compositions on the aforementioned album were occasionally uplifting and ethereal because of "happy" chord progressions and suffocating reverb, here the reverb is toned down considerably to offer a lonelier and earthlier effect, and the chord progressions are noticeably gloomier. As far as the atmosphere of The Room goes, I'd say it's got a similar effect to the great Abandoned Cities -- if Abandoned Cities was the soundtrack to a post- apocalyptic overcast city, this album is the soundtrack to each individual gray room in every empty building. The music isn't as forceful or vast, but still creates the same feeling of abandonment in a much more intimate setting.

Although The Room is largely piano-based, there are still enhancements from various other keyboards and synths to create a more varied piano-based album than The Plateaux of Mirror, and the compositions themselves have more clearly stated melodic lines that put in place a greater emotional grasp that Plateaux almost lacked entirely. But, even if the compositions are stronger, that doesn't necessarily make this album extremely interesting. To be honest, this album is somewhat boring, but I've always been more keen on Budd's more grandiose ambient synth soundscape power than his somber piano playing, though it'd be ridiculous to not at least recognize the obvious beauty that comes naturally through his piano playing, and it's also obvious that he greatly enjoyed composing for the instrument because his emotions are always able to be felt in everything he composes.

The best way to describe The Room is the depressing nacht musik brother of Plateaux with a stronger sense of compositional direction and emotional strength. Regardless of it not being among Harold Budd's most powerful work, I do believe that it is one of his best piano-based albums, mostly for the deeply affecting depressing tone.

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 Glyph (With Hector Zazou) by BUDD, HAROLD album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Glyph (With Hector Zazou)
Harold Budd Progressive Electronic

Review by 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.

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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