American ambient and minimalist composer Harold Budd has died at the age of 84.
His death was confirmed by his close collaborator Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins, who posted on Facebook this morning (December 9). The cause of death has not been revealed.
“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 wrote.
“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…”
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…
Budd was best known for his collaborations with Cocteau Twins, Brian Eno and Andy Partridge, as well as being associated with the “soft pedal” style of piano playing.
Budd was born in Los Angeles in 1936 and was raised in the Mojave Desert. He later joined the army and played drums in the regimental band alongside jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler.
After leaving, Budd earned a graduate degree in musical composition from the University of Southern California where he studied under Ingolf Dahl. Budd released his first recorded work, ‘The Oak of the Golden Dreams’, in 1970.
Eight years later, he released ‘The Pavilion of Dreams’, produced by Eno, and followed up with ‘Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror’, again with Eno, in 1980. Budd continued to share music throughout the decades, with his latest credited release being collaborative album ‘Another Flower’ with Guthrie. The album was released last week on December 4.
Tributes to Budd have begun to flow on social media, including posts from Oneohtrix Point Never, Drew Daniel from Matmos, Hannah Peel, William Basinski and more.
“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
R.I.P. Harold Budd. Many happy hazy mysteries of listening to “The Pearl” and “The Moon and the Melodies” growing up.
— DREW DANIEL (@DDDrewDaniel) December 8, 2020
His music offered solace to many, opening ears to a deeper listening experience and appreciation of music
Thoughts to his family, friends and fans
Thank you for the music and the Mexican lunch ❤️
— Hannah Peel (@Hanpeel) December 8, 2020
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