Harold Budd, the left-field American composer whose work straddled minimalism, jazz, dream-pop and extra, has died aged 84. His loss of life was confirmed by his shut collaborator Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins, who wrote on Fb that he was “feeling empty, shattered misplaced and unprepared for this”.
Cocteau Twins wrote on Fb: “It’s with nice disappointment that we discovered of the passing of Harold Budd. Relaxation in peace, poet of the piano.”
Born in 1936 to a poor household in Los Angeles, Budd’s first musical love was jazz – “black tradition that freed me from the stigmata of going nowhere in a hopeless tradition”, he later mentioned – and after being drafted into the US military he performed as a drummer in a regimental band alongside the saxophonist Albert Ayler, who would additionally go on to change into an icon of avant-garde American music.
After leaving the military, Budd studied music on the College of Southern California, graduating in 1966, when he was already married with youngsters. He composed minimalist drone works on this interval partly influenced by John Cage and Morton Feldman in addition to summary expressionist painters resembling Mark Rothko; one piece on this interval, Lirio, is just notated: “Beneath a blue gentle, roll very flippantly on a big gong for an extended length.” He continued composing alongside educating however abruptly turned disenchanted and give up composition in 1970, having “minimalized myself out of existence”.
In 1972, he “resurfaced”, in his phrases, engaged on a physique of music that may finally change into the 1978 album The Pavilion of Desires, produced by Brian Eno and that includes calmly stunning compositions with piano and choral vocals. Budd described it as “the start of myself as a severe artist” in a 2014 interview with the Guardian, saying Eno had given him “absolute bravery to go in any course”.
The pair composed collectively on 1980’s Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror, which continued the “ambient” sequence that Eno had began with the landmark album Music for Airports, and 1984’s The Pearl, with Eno producing additional Budd works thereafter. Budd turned related to the time period “ambient” however often rejected it: “Being referred to as one thing – something – annoys the hell out of me,” he mentioned in 2014.
A self-confessed Anglophile, he lived within the UK between 1986 and 1991, a interval that produced a few of his most excessive profile work. In 1986, he collaborated with Cocteau Twins, a dream-pop band, on The Moon and the Melodies, the start of a long-running partnership with Guthrie – their most up-to-date album collectively, One other Flower, was launched final week. He and Guthrie additionally composed the scores to 2 movies by Gregg Araki, Mysterious Pores and skin (2005) and White Chicken in a Blizzard (2014).
He additionally collaborated with XTC’s Andy Partridge, Ultravox’s John Foxx, Public Picture Ltd’s Jah Wobble and extra. A retrospective of his work, Wind in Lonely Fences 1970-2011, was launched in 2014.
Budd fathered two youngsters from his first marriage, and later a 3rd, Hugo, along with his second spouse Ellen Wirth. She died in 2012 following a six yr battle with mind most cancers.