Ambient Composer Harold Budd Dead At 84

Ambient composer Harold Budd has died at the age of 84.

Budd (1936 – 2020) released a long string of influential ambient classics, ranging from The Pavilion of Dreams in the 70s; to his masterpiece collaborations with Brian Eno, The Pavilion Of Dreams and The Pearl; to series of more recent collaborations with a variety of artists, including Robin Guthrie, Clive Wright, Daniel Lanois, The Cocteau Twins & John Foxx.

The news was shared by several via Facebook, including Ambient Church:

“We just learned the tragic news that legendary composer Harold Budd has passed from this world. He was 84. He left us an unbelievable treasure trove of beautiful music that enriches our lives every day and will bless generations to come. Our hearts go out to his family on this sad day. Rest in peace Harold. You will be missed.”

According to Budd’s Facebook page, he died of complications from Covid-19.

Budd’s music incorporates classical and jazz influences, but centers around the interplay between his keyboards, effects and silence.

Budd’s career took off in the early 70s, when he moved away from classical avant garde and found his own voice embracing ‘pretty’ sounds.

“By then I had opted out of avant-garde music generally; it seemed self-congratulatory and risk-free and my solution as to what to do next was to do nothing, to stop completely,” he said.

“I resurfaced as an artist in 1972 with Madrigals of the Rose Angel, the first of what would be a cycle of works under the collective title The Pavilion of Dreams. Madrigals refused to accommodate or even acknowledge any issues in new music. The entire aesthetic was an existential prettiness; not the Platonic ‘to Kalon’, but simply pretty: mindless, shallow and utterly devastating.”

Budd’s best known works are his two albums with Brian Eno (with Daniel Lanois), Ambient 2: The Plateaux Of Mirror and The Pearl. The albums are dream and evocative, with track titles like First Light, Not Yet Remembered and Wind In Lonely Fences. Listening to these albums, you can lose yourself in thought or wonder at how Budd’s melodies can call up memories.

Harold Budd & Brian Eno – First Light:

The Cocteau Twins captured the thoughts of many in a message that they shared.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Harold Budd. Rest in peace, poet of the piano.”

14 thoughts on “Ambient Composer Harold Budd Dead At 84

  1. I am so sad to hear of Harolds passing. As a musician and as a music lover I have many influences, but no one inspired me then Harold Budd. Some of his music is truelly beautiful.
    When ever I find myself stuck on a piece that I am working on, I will go and play some Budd, just to remind myself that sometimes “less is more”.
    Thank you for the music Harold, I will always cherish it.

  2. Few have done more to steer my musical taste. The way Harold Budd wrote music and played the piano, made it an entirely different instrument to me. This hurts. I will grieve now. And I will remember every moment that I have visually tied to his music. But seriously, this breaks my heart. Damn you TrumpVirus.

  3. The real dream of sails… he did so many cool and amazingly great things. I had been listening to that john foxx, Budd set, it has some really great textures and moods. A sad day indeed.
    2020 knees us in the collective crotch yet again… cv-19 has taken too many.

  4. Thankfully, he left so much amazing music behind for us to enjoy. I can always count on a Budd piece to reset my mood. Blessings to his soul and the family he has left with us.

  5. This is very sad 🙁 rip Harold. i can never forget how majestic your touch was on the wonderful Cocoteau Twins’s The Moon and the Melodies.

  6. RIP Harold. I was a big follower of your wonderful works. Your music and collaborative works made this world a better place
    To live in.

  7. Respect. Harold Budd’s ambient musicality was immersive and meaningful–a true original. Can anyone listen to “How Close Your Soul” and not be transported to a better place? Thank you for your welcoming legacy.

  8. This is indeed sad. This album was one of my favourite albums but I didn’t bother to look beyond Brian Eno’s name. So only now Harold Budd has left this life on earth I do realise he was also an influence to me, albeit unknowingly.
    Harold, thanks for your music. Rest in Peace.

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