Harold Budd – Bandits of Stature

Finally…some string quartets by Harold Budd, out on Darla Records in November 2012. I wrote about them previously here.

Darla is pleased to offer a new record of string quartets by Harold Budd. Bandits of Stature is a first as it comprises 14 compact Budd composed string quartets played by the Formalist Quartet.

Harold Budd is a one-of-a-kind, modern neo-classical artist with a career spanning 40 years. Bandits of Stature has the characteristic Budd minimalism one may expect, yet in new, or classical, form. On Bandits of Stature, he has created 14 elegantly simple, avant-garde string quartets, each with his own unique and subtle tension and abstraction and sometimes-pastoral but as-often otherworldly mood shining through. This is also Budd’s most melancholic work ever. It is a work that can only come from an artist with such unique vision and maturity as he. Whether deep dark or bright light, the listener is as always transcended to an enlightened state within the balance of empty space and substance, presented at times with wistful nostalgia, often with great idealism and persistently with love and beauty.

From the classic Brian Eno and Robin Guthrie-produced Harold Budd records, lush with studio-as-instrument creativity and singular ethereal guitar work respectively, up to his most recent album In The Mist, Harold’s piano is always recognizable within the first three notes of any song. His style is just that unique. That same melancholic, thoughtful style is present as well in the Budd composed string quartets on Bandits of Stature. He effortlessly manifests more feeling in one album than most artists do over the course of a decade, gives at least as much attention to the negative space as to each phrase and as always exercises a sense of economy in which less is a great deal more.

All Music Guide calls Harold “an American ambient/neo-classical composer”. He is absolutely the World’s number one minimalist, ambient, modern classical composer. That said, he abhors the word ambient. “Ambient: Every time I read this word I cringe: I’ve been kidnapped by something I neither know of nor care about; it’s better by 1000 times than “New Age” from 2 decades ago, but still…” Although his work is often called ambient, minimal and classical, these labels do no justice to the quiet beauty and singularity of his work.

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