Harold Budd Has Died

The ambient hero and frequent Brian Eno collaborator was 84

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Dec 8, 2020

Reports have emerged that ambient legend Harold Budd has passed away. According to multiple social media posts from close friends and colleagues, including Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, the composer died last night (December 7). Budd was 84.

His manager, Steve Takaki, confirmed to Rolling Stone that Budd died due to COVID-19.

Born Harold Montgomory Budd in Los Angeles back in 1936, Budd was raised Victorville, CA, in the Mojave Desert. After serving in the army, Budd began his prolific career as a composer in 1962.

Before long, he drew attention within the local avant-garde community in California, though Budd didn't record much music until 1971, with that material going to on appear on the The Oak of the Golden Dreams record.

By 1976, Budd began to work with fellow ambient pioneer Brian Eno, with the pair joining forces to craft what would become Budd's proper debut album The Pavilion of Dreams. This led to his Eno collaboration Ambient 2 (The Plateaux of Mirror), which was released in 1980. The record was then followed by 1984's beloved album, The Pearl, which found Budd and Eno joining forces with frequent collaborator Daniel Lanois.

Throughout albums like these, Budd went on to develop a slow and sustained style of piano playing he called "soft pedal," though he frequently voiced his disdain with being categorized as "ambient" — a label Budd found limiting.

Budd went on to work with other notable collaborators throughout his career, such as with Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde on their joint effort The Moon and the Melodies, which was released via 4AD in 1986.

This led to Budd striking up a longstanding working relationship with Guthrie, with the pair going on to release multiple collaborative albums over the years. In fact, earlier this year the pair released the album Another Flower.

Also earlier in 2020, Budd released the score to the HBO series I Know This Much Is True.

Over the years, Budd also worked with the likes of David Sylvian, Roger Eno, Steven Jansen and John Foxx, among others.

A lot to digest. Shared a lot with Harold since we were young, since he was sick, shared a lot with harold for the last...

Posted by Robin Guthrie on Tuesday, 8 December 2020


My friend Harold Budd has passed beyond

Posted by John Emr on Tuesday, 8 December 2020

We just learned the tragic news that legendary composer Harold Budd has passed from this world. He was 84. He left us an...

Posted by Ambient Church on Tuesday, 8 December 2020

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