Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bordeaux by Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd & Far Away Trains Passing By by Ulrich Schnauss

Just a quick note on a couple new music CDs I recently purchased (yes, I actually bought real compact discs, not mp3s).

Bordeaux is the latest (2011) collaboration between ambient/minimalist guru Harold Budd and former Cocteau Twins member Robin Guthrie.  Not having heard any of their previous work together, I tend to find Bordeaux as very Budd-like - rich, deeply textured, and smoothly tonal.

The older (2005) Far Away Trains Passing By is something that sat on my Amazon wish list for quite some time because I really enjoyed the first track, knuddelmaus (which translates to "cuddle mouse" according to Google - who knows), when I heard it on Pandora.  After hearing the entire album (actually the album plus a second disc with bonus tracks), I still like knuddelmaus the best and, at least at first, thought the entire CD sounded a little dated.  Relative to Bordeaux, it's more electronic, more rhythmic, even more melodic.  I'd classify it as more electronica than ambient.

However, just by chance, today I added to the CD player the Oscar Peterson Trio/Milt Jackson collaboration Very Tall and was struck by the parallel.   Jackson's smooth and subtle vibraphone is a great contrast to Peterson's technical and melodic greatness and together they sound absolutely fantastic.  While not on the same recording, Guthrie/Budd and Schnauss complement each in the same way.

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