It's hard to over-estimate the contribution Harold Budd has made to modern music, his seemingly effortless take on minimalism and ambience imbuing this often academic genre with all the warmth and humility so often missing from the work of his contemporaries. Best known for his collaborations with Brian Eno and the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, Budd seems to have reached equilibrium, announcing that this remarkable album (released on David Sylvian's fledgling, impressive "Samadhi Sound" imprint) is to be his last recorded work. A more poignant, beautiful departure seems hard to imagine - what you get here are 14 immensely moving pieces, strewn with Budd's effervescent Piano cascades and panoramic soundscapes, drifting off into sublime, almost unbearable nostalgia and reflection that are signposted with track titles that open the imagination up to nameless, fading memories. It's a theme that's further developed woth the second of the two cd's here, featuring a 70 minute re-working of Budd's work by the remarkable Akira Rabelais - a breathless, almost indescribably beautiful tapestry of midnight strings and echoes of lost piano taking time to unravel, eventually displaying all the warmth and intimacy Budd has spent a musical lifetime striving to perfect. Unmissable stuff - one of the album's of the year without question.
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