Harold Budd  

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Harold Budd (born May 24, 1936) is an American ambient/avant-garde composer. Born in Los Angeles, California, he was raised in the Mojave Desert, and was inspired at an early age by the humming tone caused by wind blown across telephone wires.

His career as a composer began in 1962. In the following years he gained a notable reputation in the local avant-garde community. In 1966 he graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in musical composition.

As his career progressed, his compositions became increasingly minimal. Among his more experimental works were two drone pieces, "Coeur d'Orr" and "The Oak of the Golden Dreams". "The Oak of the Golden Dreams" was based on the Balinese "Slendro" scale. After composing a long-form gong solo titled "Lirio", he felt he had reached the limits of his experiments in minimalism and the avant-garde. He retired temporarily from composition in 1970 and began a teaching career at the California Institute of the Arts.

Two years later, while still retaining his teaching career, he resurfaced as a composer. Spanning from 1972-1975 he created four individual works under the collective title The Pavilion of Dreams. The style of these works was an unusual blend of popular jazz and the avant-garde. In 1976 he resigned from the institute and began recording his new compositions, produced by British ambient pioneer Brian Eno. Two years later Harold Budd's debut album The Pavilion of Dreams was released.

Since then he has developed a unique and powerful style of ambient music. His two collaborations with Brian Eno, The Plateaux of Mirror and The Pearl, established his trademark atmospheric piano style. On Lovely Thunder he introduced subtle electronic textures. His thematic 2000 release The Room saw a return to a more minimalist approach.

His album Avalon Sutra from 2004 was billed as "Harold Budd's Last Recorded Work" by the record label Samadhi Sound. Their press release continued: "Avalon Sutra brings to a conclusion thirty years of sustained musical activity. Asked for his reasons, Budd says only that he feels that he has said what he has to say. With characteristic humility, he concludes, “I don’t mind disappearing!”"

In spite of this, Budd's soundtrack to the film Mysterious Skin (a collaboration with Robin Guthrie) and Music for 'Fragments from the Inside' (with Eraldo Bernocchi) were both released in 2005.

In February 2007, Samadhisound released Perhaps, a live recording of Budd's improvised performance in tribute to his late friend (and associate teacher at the then newly formed California Institute of Arts) James Tenney. Recorded at CalArts in December 06, the album is only available as a digital download.

Samadhisound released a podcast of Harold Budd in conversation with Akira Rabelais in April 2007. In this (Samadhisound Podcast #2), Harold said although he had believed at the time of recording Avalon Sutra that it would be his last album, he no longer felt that way. "It was a time in my life when things weren't just falling together for me, and I thought that I was just going to let it all slide ... and I was sincere about it but if I had been more conscious of my real feelings and had explored my inner sanctum more I would've seen that it was a preposterous thing to do ... I was dreadfully lonely; I was living alone in the desert and had been for too long, really, and I felt that isolation very severely after a while, and it's probably a version of self-pity, I'm sorry to say, to have publicly said something like that, but there it is, I said it, turns out I wasn't telling the truth - I didn't know it at the time."

Darla Records released two CDs by Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd in June 2007, After The Night Falls and Before The Day Breaks. Recorded in Spring 2006, each features 9 tracks with linked titles, e.g. "How Distant Your Heart"/"How Close Your Soul" and "I Returned Her Glance"/"And Then I Turned Away".



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Harold Budd" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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