Influential minimalist composer Harold Budd has died at the age of 84 after contracting COVID-19 earlier this year. A formative figure in the establishment of the ambient music sub-genre, his soft-pedal piano-playing technique was heralded for its placid and gentle sound.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Budd cultivated a taste for minimalist jazz at a young age before turning to an even more restrained style from the early ‘70s onwards. His second album ‘The Pavilion of Dreams’ collected four compositions penned while working at the Californian Institute of the Arts, and was produced by Brian Eno for release in 1978. Budd returned the favour by joining Eno for the album ‘Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror’, the follow-up to the highly influential ‘Music For Airports’, in 1980.
Alongside his extensive solo output, Budd also collaborated with Scottish dream pop band Cocteau Twins for the album ‘The Moon and the Melodies’ in 1986. This meditative collection of songs, released on 4AD, would mark the first in a long line of works with Robin Guthrie — the most recent of which was released just five days ago. Recorded in 2013 at Guthrie’s home studio in Bordeaux, ‘Another Flower’ offers a tranquil swan song for an artist whose legacy continues to inspire.