Influential ambient composer Harold Budd has passed away at the age of 84 due to COVID-19, according to several sources close to the performer. The artist has worked with musical icons such as Brian Eno, Andy Partridge, and The Cocteau Twins, whose guitarist Robin Guthrie was a frequent collaborator. Artists such as William Basinski and Oneohtrix Point Never have shared their respects on social media.
more sad news in the musical universe today. RIP Harold Budd. Sending our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and fans around the world. https://t.co/gDPQARDGnW
— william basinski (@WilliamBasinski) December 8, 2020
Budd was born in Los Angeles back in 1936 and began composing in 1962, where he began to develop an audience within the avant-garde community. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 1966 and eventually began teaching at the California Institute of the Arts in 1970.
“The word ‘ambient’ doesn’t ring a bell with me. It’s meant to mean something but is, in fact, meaningless. It’s not relevant for me. My style is the only thing I can do well. I don’t think about genres. I don’t think about labels, they don’t have meanings.” -Harold Budd. RIP❤️
— opn (@0PN) December 8, 2020
His numerous collaborations with Eno and The Cocteau Twins coincided with his teaching career. Budd’s minimalist compositions, are seen on his collaborative albums with Brian Eno, The Plateaux of Mirror and The Pearl. His transitions from eerie melodies to slow moments of bliss create an underlying tension that is released. This method of playing also added to the surreal dreamscapes of Cocteau Twins, which is present on their album The Moon and the Melodies.
“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 35 years, period,” Guthrie stated on Facebook.” Feeling empty, shattered lost and unprepared for this, as do my wife Florence and girls Violette and Lucy Belle. All my best to Elise, Terrance, Hugo and all the family. His last words to me were ‘adios amigo’… They always were.. He left a very large ‘harold budd’ shaped hole whichever way we turn…”