Reissue of a milestone of ambient music, produced and released by Brian Eno in 1978, featuring Marion Brown, Gavin Bryars
, and Michael Nyman.
For five decades, Harold Budd stood on the forefront of the West Coast avant-garde. Born in Los Angeles, he studied with Schoenberg-pupil Gerald Strang and began teaching at CalArts in 1970. While searching for his own voice, he was influenced as much by abstract expressionist painters as by John Cage
and Morton Feldman
. In his work, Budd brought delicate, slowing-moving melodies to the foreground—creating a new musical language based on "eternally pretty music" and smooth surfaces.
In the early '70s, Budd started an extended cycle of compositions that would comprise The Pavilion Of Dreams. For Budd, the album was a signpost for a new direction in thinking about music: "The Pavilion Of Dreams erased my past. I consider that to be the birth of myself as a serious artist. It was like my Magna Carta."
Produced by Brian Eno in 1978, The Pavilion Of Dreams stands toe-to-toe with another minimalist masterpiece also released that year, Steve Reich's Music For 18 Musicians. Budd's gorgeous pieces reveal a lightness of touch that draws the listener in, while sublime voices float in and out as if in a recurring dream. Featuring saxophonist Marion Brown and multi-instrumentalists Gavin Bryars and Michael Nyman, The Pavilion Of Dreams remains a master class in exquisite timbre and shimmering texture.
The Pavilion Of Dreams was both the final release on Eno's Obscure imprint and a transition point towards his seminal ambient series. This first-time reissue is recommended for fans of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jon Hassell and Mark Hollis.
Harold Budd (1936-2020) is one of the very few who can very rightly be called an ambient composer. His music, a sparse and tonal wash of keyboard treatments, was inspired by a boyhood spent listening to the buzz of telephone wires near his home in the Mojave Desert town of Victorville, California (though he was born in nearby Los Angeles). Though interested in music from an early age, Budd was 36, already married and with children of his own, by the time he graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Musical Composition in 1966. In 1976, Budd gained a recording contract with the Brian Eno
-affiliated EG Records, and released his debut album The Pavilion of Dreams in 1978. Two years later, he collaborated with Eno on one of the landmark albums of the ambient style, Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirrors. He became a respected name in the circle of minimalist and avant-garde composers based in Southern California during the late '60s, premiering his works The Candy-Apple Revision and Unspecified D-Flat Major Chord and Lirio around the area. In 1970, he began a teaching career at the California Institute of Arts, but continued to compose while there, writing Madrigals of the Rose Angel in 1972. Harold Budd again worked with Eno on 1984's The Pearl. A contract with Eno's Opal Records resulted in one of Budd's most glorious albums, The White Arcades, recorded in Edinburgh with Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins.
Budd left Opal after 1991's By the Dawn's Early Light, and recorded two albums for Gyroscope: Music for Three Pianos (with Ruben Garcia and Daniel Lentz) and the lauded Through the Hill, a collaboration with Andy Partridge of XTC. In the mid-'90s, he recorded albums for New Albion and All Saints before signing to Atlantic for the release of The Room in mid-2000. In 2004 Budd decided to retire, claiming he had said all he wanted to, and that he “didn't mind disappearing.” His final outing, Avalon Sutra/As Long As I Can See My Breath, appeared on David Sylvian's Samhadi Sound imprint as a double disc.