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Review: Harold Budd

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November 25 @ Howard Assembly Room

FOR a composer who has written extensively at the piano, Harold Budd has a surprising admission.

“I don’t have a piano – I won’t have one in the house,” says the 75-year-old Californian in genial tones. “I think they are ugly beasts.

“I remember the last time I got rid of the piano a decade ago. They just collect things, they’re something to put stuff on, like junk. I had a beautiful Navaho rug and no place to put it. If I got rid of the piano I would have. It’s one of the canniest moves I have ever made.”

Instead he relies upon a little keyboard “to mess around with”. The starting point for his ambient compositions is not musical at all. “The thing that generates ideas is the notion of a really interesting title – even though there’s no music to it. When I have a title I get inspired to find something to go along with it. It’s a sort of symbiosis. Half of the equation is already a given.”

It’s only really in the studio where his ideas are finalised. “All of that searching really gets serious then – the way it will sound, what the notes will be.”

Over the past 40 years Budd has been a serial collaborator, working with the likes of Brian Eno, Bill Nelson, Daniel Lanois and the Cocteau Twins. “Each of those experiences were unique, beyond comparison.”

Tomorrow in Leeds, Budd will share a double bill with Australian jazz group The Necks. His own programme with bassist Werner Dafeldecke will be improvised. “There will not be anything from the past – certainly not my past,” he jokes.

Duncan Seaman

Fri, Howard Assembly Room, New Briggate, Leeds, 7.45pm, £12.50. Tel: 0844 848 2727. www.operanorth.co.uk

 

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