Songs Of The Summer 2012: Part Twelve

With summer in full swing, we asked our Demo contributors, some Canadian musicians and a variety of U of T students what song they hope will represent their four months of sun.  Over the next weeks, we will share what they said. 

Nick Storring 

Song: Madrigals of the Rose Angel: 1. Rosetti Stone / 2. The Crystal Garden and a Coda

Artist: Harold Budd

Album: The Pavillion of Dreams

This task of selecting a summer song is not an easy one! While it’s super tempting to select something off Frank Ocean’s much-hyped Channel Orange (I’ve been addicted!), I know that a tonne of others will to be singing its summery praises in the next little bit, so I needn’t contribute to that whole mess.

My ultimate selection, while it’s a far cry from an album of summer anthems, emerges from the balmy warmth of Harold Budd’s 1978 album Pavillion of Dreams, which has always struck me as the ideal accompaniment to a summer evening.

Responding to his own frustration with the concept-driven experimental/avant-garde music climate of the 1960’s, Budd took a strangely staunch stance, pushing prettiness to the fore, at the expense of all else, including perceived “substance” (whatever the hell that is!).

Relentlessly perfumey and soft-focus, Pavillion of Dreams is nothing short of beautiful. To cynics, it may be easy to just write it off as new-age, but if you really listen to it, there’s something really absolutely special about how Budd has composed these four lush pieces. And Brian Eno definitely agreed, having released it on his Obscure label in 1978 (which also featured other early gems of strange beauty by folks like Gavin Bryars, and Michael Nyman.)

Pavillion uses an ensemble of harp, fender, rhodes, vibraphone, celeste, glockenspiel, marimba, piano, saxophone and wordless vocals, which is pretty much the last time I heard Budd employing a full acoustic ensemble.

The third track, “Madrigals of the Rose Angel” was his first piece in his newfound style and is one of the best on the album. Using a chorus of female voices and cascading arpeggios from the various instruments, it has a gentle lambent sensuality to it.

Cozy up to your lovers somewhere along the lake for this one, kids (perhaps with a clandestine bottle of wine!), and enjoy your summer!


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