Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Harold Budd

  • Abandoned Cities [Cantril, 1984] B+
  • The White Arcades [Opal, 1988] C+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Abandoned Cities [Cantril, 1984]
This phonographic record of a gallery installation called Image-Bearing Light moves slowly but not glacially. Sounds like chords on a color organ played back at 16-r.p.m.--stark yet soothing. Recommended to seekers after low-down ambience. B+

The White Arcades [Opal, 1988]
Long before Brian Eno hyped ambient, there was the less pretentious term background music, and you can be sure our brave new age will goop up the margin between the two. At his most austere, Eno's old buddy Budd is hyperromantic, and this isn't exactly austere--with the proper inducements (hypnosis, or a large bribe), he might even call it a sellout. Weak-mindedness passing itself off as spirituality--it's what new agers seek in classical music. Budd's angle is to eliminate any vestige of difficulty from the concept. C+