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Harold Budd and Clive Wright: A Song for Lost Blossoms (2008) February 7, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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A Song for Lost Blossoms

Harold Budd and Clive Wright: A Song for Lost Blossoms

Ambient music is a tricky genre. Keep it too simple and austere and you may end up with simple drone music, where it’s up to the textures alone to keep your interest; add too many frills and you get either sweetly insipid new age music or ambient techno, which is essentially oxymoronic.

Harold Budd has been at the forefront of ambient music since his classic album Ambient 2: The Plateaux of  Mirror (1980) with Brian Eno, who pioneered the genre. Eno’s not the only one of my favourite musicians Budd has worked with; he’s collaborated with the Cocteau Twins, XTC’s Andy Partridge, Bill Nelson, John Foxx, and the Cocteau Twins’ guitarist Robin Guthrie. Oddly enough, he’s never worked with Robert Fripp, whose No Pussyfooting album with Eno was a forerunner of ambient, and who has covered similar ground with his Frippertronics and soundscapes albums. But now we have an idea what that collaboration might have sounded like.

I’m not familiar with guitarist Clive Wright or his former band Cock Robin, but on this album his guitar playing is very much in line with Fripp’s work on his Eno collaborations and some of his solo work. It’s more about e-bowed sustained tones than fiery fretwork, and accompanies Budd’s meditative piano melodies very well. There are textures and subtle melodies, but the album stays safely on the ambient side of the ambient/new age divide (a line that Budd, more than anyone else I listen to, has a tendency to straddle).

The album doesn’t see Budd breaking new ground, but it’s sufficiently different from past albums to be worthwhile for fans, and I think it would be accessible enough for newcomers to the style. More so than the much more austere Plateaux of Mirrors, or the albums (thankfully few) on which Budd recites poetry.

Budd and Wright have a new album, Candylion, coming in March, which reportedly includes drums, harps, and other instruments. I feel some trepidation, as it sounds like it may dive into Andreas Vollenweider territory, and I don’t want to go there.

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Comments»

1. Tony Soares - February 9, 2009

No worries about Andreas Vollenweider, lol.. check out “The Bells” from Candylion on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXBG5N-1pRU

2. sjroby - February 9, 2009

Thanks for the link. Somehwat different approach from Blossoms, with the Asian feel, but I will be checking Candylion out…


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