Artist: Harold Budd
Album: Avalon Sutra

Released: 18 January 2005
Label: Samadhisound

Avalon Sutra As Long as I Can Hold My Breath
On Avalon Sutra (46'03"), Harold Budd creates a contemporary chamber music that may be too warm and pleasant for the serious academic yet too complex and polite for new age tastes. The 14 tracks are remarkably listenable without being simplistic. Over half include arrangements for string ensemble as well as a few woodwind solos. The remaining pieces present Budd's languid and reverberant piano work at the forefront. Both types occupy the listening space like good friends, the first always engaging and conversant, the later as a warm unspoken presence. These songs of innocence and experience are minimalist based but harmonically rich. Touching and winsome, Budd's melodic inventiveness has given him a distinct American musical identity. His music is concerned with light, shadow and color, and Budd uses these matters of composition and improvisation to give an air of permanence to otherwise fleeting musical moments. Based around the chromatic richness of piano tones, Budd sounds effortlessly natural - as he does more with less. Avalon Sutra is often haunting, always strong and a fitting bookend to 1978's Pavilion of Dreams.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   28 April 2005

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