Remembering the Pioneering Musical Genius of Harold Budd


Harold Budd, the pioneering musician whose minimal, classical and jazz-inspired avant-garde compositions spanned ambient to dream-pop, has died at the age of 84.

A post on Budd’s Facebook page attributed the cause of death to “complications of COVID-19.” Budd had also suffered a stroke in November.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in the Mojave Desert, Budd developed a signature stripped-down compositional style fueled by what he called a “soft pedal” technique for playing the piano.

In 1966, Budd earned a graduate degree from the University of Southern California, where he studied with Ingolf Dahl. In 1970, he released his debut release, The Oak of the Golden Dreams.

Budd went on to release 13 studio albums. He collaborated on recordings with a wealth of artists including Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins, Robin Gutherie, XTC’s Andy Partridge and Jah Wobble.

Budd and Guthrie composed the scores to two films by Gregg Araki, Mysterious Skin (2005) and White Bird in a Blizzard (2014).

Before his death, he composed the music for I Know This Much Is True, a new HBO miniseries. This week, Another Flower, a collaboration with Guthrie, was released on Darla Records. The album was recorded at Gutherie’s home studio in France in 2013.

Harold Budd had a rare gift for creating elegant musical meditations capable of soothing the mind, body and soul. He proved that sometimes a whisper is more powerful than a scream. 

Darren Ressler

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