Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jane 1-11 by Harold Budd

Avant-garde, ambient, minimalist, modern composer and pianist Harold Budd's latest solo work is Jane 1-11. The album title may be interpreted literally because the album consists of 11 tracks titled Jane 1 through Jane 11, each of which is to have corresponding visuals by Jane Maru.

Each track on Jane 1-11 exhibits a marvelous and delicate tension between the heard and the unseen.  This tension is not negative in the sense of something missing, but a positive sense of anticipating something that can be felt but neither heard nor seen.

Hear are some nearly stream of consciousness impressions from my most recent listen.
  1. Jane 1's spiraling keyboards compete for control with a mechanistic background effect.
  2. Jane 2 features rounded tones tumbling over each other like pebbles in a sun dappled stream.
  3. Jane 3 starts like traditional Budd but his surging keyboard lines echo as in a vast cave.
  4. Jane 4 starts with a longing, irregular line that sounds like a harp and then out of nowhere comes the keyboards.
  5. Jane 5 is quite different with a low pulsing tone and keyboards that sound crackling and distorted with an alarm-like stridency. But when the pulse dies away the keyboard becomes almost plaintive.
  6. Jane 6 is almost childlike and very confined and claustrophobic.
  7. Jane 7 has bells and chimes riding over electronic effects and a periodic low rumbling tone.
  8. Jane 8 returns to traditional Budd, richly layered and melodic.
  9. Jane 9 has a sparkling effect, like an overexposed photograph.
  10. Jane 10 reminded me of a musical dialog with keyboard parts that were almost verbal and questioning.
  11. Jane 11 seemed to be the answer to Jane 10's question.
Here are two of Jane Maru's visuals for Jane 8 and Jane 9 so you can hear for yourself what I'm trying to describe.

Budd himself calls Jane-11 "a triangle of risk, improvisation and joy" with several of the pieces going from start to finish in one day.To be able to produce music like this seemingly spontaneously is Budd's gift and I'm glad he shared it with us.

Jane-11 is available from the Darla Records website.

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

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