Harold Budd has been responsible for three of my favourite records of all time. And I don't mean favourite in any kind of critical 'top 100 albums' type sense - I just mean that the little ticker that clocks up the music I play, shows that I play Budd more than anything else. I just can't get enough of this guy's tunes. He's a wizard, musically speaking.
This record new Bandits of Stature is totally unlike any of the above though. It's all string quartets (three violins and a viola) and very good it is too. Budd's genius for concision and minimalism means that this stuff just never ever gets close to being pseudo-classical. Overall the tone of the pieces isn't as quietly ecstatic as, say, first light. In fact it's all quite austere, albeit in a beautifully constructed way.
Like all good music (and especially Harold Budd's music) this one is likely to withstand years of listening, revealing more as time goes on. But on initial listens second last track Llano is the standout for me.
I read recently that Harold Budd detests the word ambient. I am glad about that: I detest it too. So much so, in fact, that I'd avoided his stuff until I chanced upon Plateaux of Mirror in 2008 and have listened to it non-stop ever since. Death to ambient. Long live Harold Budd. Big genius.