EGED 46 Lovely Thunder
Produced by Harold Budd with Michael Hoenig
Released on 1986
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
EGED 46 cover
[high resolution photo]

T his is a different animal than the other three Harold Budd records I own. Gone are the rolling piano notes, the soft unhurried sounds, replaced here by synthesizers and an icy chill that I had difficulty warming to initially. Though there are references to Plateaux of Mirror (“Ice Floes In Eden”), Lovely Thunder shares more with the work of Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream than the pianist’s previous performances. Of course, I can’t speak to The Pearl or some of the other early works, so maybe this was a side of the composer I simply never saw. (*Note: I've since purchased The Pearl and, yes, it does take steps toward the remote reaches of space.) Given that Eno’s other collaborators (Jon Hassell, Laraaji) seemed so steadfastly idiosyncratic, it didn’t occur to me that Budd might explore new sonic territory beyond his acoustic piano. Though some have suggested that the album’s title is a fair indication of the music within, I just don’t hear it. Soft thunder erupts on “The Gunfighter” and “Ice Floes In Eden” but it hardly defines these songs, and lovely rarely enters into it. Rather, these are remote pieces, sometimes dark and foreboding, other times inviting in a wistful way. When looking for an antecedent to this album, I fall back on Eno’s Music For Films, Discreet Music and the Bowie/Eno instrumentals. These are works that I enjoy, but with the exception of Discreet Music not something I make a staple in my musical diet. Also, it’s worth noting that “Flowered Knife Shadows,” which apparently dates from The Moon & The Melodies sessions, sounds very similar to that album’s “Memory Gongs.” The second side is devoted to “Gypsy Violin,” a long piece of remote space music that recalls the work of Tangerine Dream and probably would have felt right at home on the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack. I know the stock response is to write how brilliant Budd is, plumb my mind for evocative adjectives, and slip in seductive phrases like “meditative calm,” but I’ve heard too much instrumental music in my life to greenlight Lovely Thunder. It’s more sophisticated than Pavilion, more single-minded than Melodies, but falls well shy of the Plateaux established earlier.

EGED 46 back cover
EGED 46 back cover


  1. THE GUNFIGHTER    3:10
  2. SANDTREADER    5:28
  3. ICE FLOES IN EDEN    3:20
  6. (*CD bonus track:) VALSE POUR LE FIN DU TEMPS
  7. GYPSY VIOLIN    20:45

    All works composed by Harold Budd


HAROLD BUDD -- performer
Michael Hoenig -- engineer, mixing
Simon Raymonde -- engineer (5)
Robin Guthrie -- mixing (5)
Russell Mills -- cover art & design
David Buckland -- photography

US/UK 1986 Editions EG LP/CD EGED/EEGCD 46  
US June 19, 1999 Editions EG CD EEGCD 46  
US   Caroline CD 1567  


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