Harold Budd's discs tend to end up in the new age section of the record store, because his music is generally pleasant, quiet, and soothing. But where most new age composers go for the obvious (and sometimes saccharine) melody, Budd veers off into ambiguity; he also lacks the mystical bent that often goes along with the new age style. Instead, his compositional voice is more like that of a detached observer – one who creates beauty without getting too involved with it. By the Dawn's Early Light finds Budd writing for various combinations of viola, guitar, harp, and keyboards. All of the music is lovely, but not all of the compositions sound complete. In several cases, they sound like raw ideas rushed into the studio before their time. Guitarist Bill Nelson provides much of the interest throughout the album, and the sighing, slithery viola of Mabel Wong lends an occasional turn-of-the-century salon feel to the proceedings. The only really embarrassing moments occur when Budd – whose voice sounds like an unfortunate cross between Garrison Keillor and Kermit the Frog – reads his own poetry. Skip those tracks and you'll be fine.
Anthology box set containing 7 hard-to-find and critically acclaimed albums, released on labels such as Cantil, Opal and All Saints. The box includes: ‘The Serpent (In Quicksilver)’ (1981), 'Abandoned Cities’ (1984), ‘The White Arcades’ (1987), ‘By The Dawn’s Early Light’ (1991), ‘Music For 3 Pianos’ (1992) ‘Through The Hill’ (1994, with Andy Partridge of XTC), ‘Luxa’ (1996). What can you say about ambient music? It's quiet … It's ethereal … It's meditative … It's minimal … It's passive … but it's also important! And Harold Budd is - in my opinion - right up there with Brian Eno when it comes to this particular genre of musical fields. I don't know who thought up the idea of releasing a boxed set of Harold Budd material, but God love you for doing it!! This is a true "must-have" for any Budd enthusiast who likes beautiful background music playing low while working on the computer (either at home or at work) or for also doing what I consider "low-noise household chores."