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The Pearl

Harold Budd , Brian Eno , Daniel Lanois Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Import, 2009 $16.52  
Audio CD, 1990 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Editions Eg Records
  • ASIN: B000003S2V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,514 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Late October
2. A Stream With Bright Fish
3. The Silver Ball
4. Against The Sky
5. Lost In The Humming Air
6. Dark-Eyed Sister
7. Their Memories
8. The Pearl
9. Foreshadowed
10. An Echo Of Night
11. Still Return

Editorial Reviews

This sublime, tranquil recording features 11 haunting ambient tone poems for treated piano. They are crafted from simple chords, arpeggios, or melodies that are frequently trailed by delicate electronic whispers to produce dreamy results. Even though Budd and Eno chose to compose and record in a minimalist style, their gorgeous, moody music evokes so much more, for the reverberating spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves. In an interesting experiment, both "Against the Sky" and "An Echo of Night" explore the same melancholic musical theme in different settings--the former is a sparse piano piece with gentle electronic treatments, the latter is a murky synth work set against a nocturnal outdoor backdrop. (Budd later explored the theme again as the ethereal elegy "Olancha Farewell" on his 1986 solo album, Lovely Thunder.) Beautifully understated, the slow-motion ballet of The Pearl is a piece of striking ambient impressionism that was highly original in its day, well before the myriads of New Age imitators its composers spawned, and it remains fresh and vital two decades later. --Bryan Reesman

Product Description

Out of print in the U.S.! 1984 album from the kings of ambient music: American pianist Harold Budd and British music chameleon Brian Eno. EMI.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest ambient albums March 21, 2000
By Ingalls
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I love this album. It consists of minimalist pieces (some being no more than a few notes making up a lovely, sometimes quietly dramatic phrase) on an altered piano with some subtle tonal colorings added. The effect is contemplative, zenlike, trancelike, spiritual, calming, profoundly restful, like a musical still life-take your pick. This album serves many purposes for me. It helps me to sleep, read, think, or just construct a quiet space in my home when I want to relax. It is beautiful and endlessly repeatable. I must have listened to this album hundreds of times-and I am still not tired of it. There is New Age music and THEN there is "The Pearl". This album avoids all of the cliches of cheap New Age music. It set the standard years ago and I only wish that there was more music in this vein available.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Recording of All Time! January 18, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I've been listening to this CD for 15 years, and am still stunned by it. Each one of these soft pieces is a world unto itself. The closer one listens, the more one discovers there. The wonderfully precise programmatic song titles long ago led me into "visualizations" of the "mental places" the music conjures (this is one aspect of Eno's "ambient" ethic--these pieces of music are set in imaginary PLACES. The other part of the ethic is that these are meant to become a part of your space, like your furniture or paintings). Like "The Plateaux of Mirror," their previous collaboration, Budd seems to be the primary keyboard player, with Eno's chosen task being the setting of those aloof and cyclical compositions into very wide sonic environments. There are a few experiments, too--the last two tracks are re-recordings of tracks 4 & 1, slowed down and reprocessed into new forms. Simply wonderful!
This album completes a trio--the others being "Thursday Afternoon" and "Ambient 4: On Land"--of the most masterful use of electronic equipment ever recorded.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harold Budd, Part 2 September 3, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This album and the preceding one, "Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror", really have to be taken together in the same listen. They both feature the same sparse piano melodies over a treated Eno-scape. These two albums are my favorites for relaxation, reading, painting - you name it, they're great for it. That's why it's called "Ambient" music - it is made to fit in with almost any atmosphere, blending with, as Erik Satie once said, "The sounds of the knives and forks at dinner".
My favorite time to listen to these records is in a rainstorm, especially with distant thunder in the background. The rain sounds seem to bring out subtleties in the music that can't be heard otherwise.
So if you like Eno's "Ambient 1" or "Discreet Music" or Steve Roach's "Structures from Silence", this is the album for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sonic wallpaper February 8, 2002
Format:Audio CD
As with Eno and Budd's best ambient work (together and apart), The Pearl is a wash of atmospheres and colors that blends with its surroundings. Music for talking, reading, sleeping, working, meditating or just about anything else, it's as simple and minimalist as it can get yet never sounds weak or disposable.
This time, the basis is simply piano with some "treated" effects. That's it. The Pearl doesn't have quite the variety of sounds & positive tone of Apollo, the relaxing haziness of Ambient 1, or the pure soundscapes of Ambient 4. The mood is occasionally sad, but mostly just.. peaceful. The song titles give the impression of the melodies themselves; ethereal, barely there, as fleeting and beautiful as a sunbeam or a bright fish in a stream. Lovely and subdued. If you enjoy music that fills the room and wraps you in a quiet ambience, well.. you should probably have this album already. If you're only curious to start, I'll just suggest that The Pearl and Eno's Music for Airports are two of the finest to begin with.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, somber, frighteningly devastating......... September 23, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Wow, I'm certainly not a journalist, so it will be harder for me to convey my impressions of the stunning beauty of this absolute masterpiece. Textures I never knew existed, sonic landscapes focusing crystal clear with eyes closed emerge with each listening. I've owned this album since it was issued and it has to be the most personal and quietly devastating work of musical art I have ever experienced. Frighteningly can we ever thank you Harold Budd and Brian Eno...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power Of Restraint September 19, 2005
Format:Audio CD
In his time, jazz pianist Bill Evans was a master of understated elegance, and one of his famous compositions, a eulogy for his Father, was titled "Turn Out The Stars." Not only can those stars be added to the five alloted above, but the imagery is quite fitting to this album. "The Pearl" drifts in and out of one's consciousness, alighting and then slowing burning down like a candle. A remastered version should clarify this even further.

Enough with the metaphors; "The Pearl" has achieved the same exalted status in ambient music that Miles Davis' "Kind Of Blue" has rightly earned in jazz. "The Pearl" fits the defintion of ambient music perfectly; it is beautiful on careful listen, as sonic wallpaper, an accompaniment to work, or a mood setter for intimacy. The CD has just the right type of reverb, just the right amount of nature sounds, the perfect number and length of songs, and the tracks begin, end, and are sequenced to perfection.

This is not a rhythmic record, but melodically and harmonically it is stunning. From the opening piano figure played by Harold Budd on "Late October," and layered in sonic velvet by Brian Eno to the bookend "Still Return," "The Pearl" stands as one of the finest collaborations between two musically synergistic pioneers, and as an enduring testament to the power of restraint.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Tranquil yet complex
'Discovered' Harold Budd on NPR, while listening to an interview with him. They played a piece from this CD and I just had to have it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. French
5.0 out of 5 stars Music is great!
My husband is the Brian Eno fan and loves his music! This is a great cd! He loves it!!! Thanks
Published 3 months ago by Jennifer Coveny
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
It took me a long time to purchase this wonderful classic. I always loved the ambient and slow paced piano and atmospheric sounds of Budd's Lovely Thunder. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dan Leithauser
4.0 out of 5 stars classic
This is still one of the best -- the new works are nice, but it all goes back to the Pearl.
Published 22 months ago by john rees
5.0 out of 5 stars Eno / Budd Ambient MASTERPIECE
The PEARL is an absolutely seamless, enchanting, soothing and rare ambient album by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. Read more
Published on October 31, 2009 by DAVID HALL
5.0 out of 5 stars True Ambient Classic
I bought this along with another Eno title. The Pearl delivers a beautiful wash of sound in a perfect ambient environment. Read more
Published on October 26, 2009 by J. Castle
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant impressions of sound
Without a doubt, the ambient label originated with Brian Eno. In this classic collaboration with Harold Budd, sounds from seemingly random spheres of life are distilled in... Read more
Published on May 10, 2007 by a writer
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest ambient recording ever
Though it's over 20 years old, this still remains one the best recordings in the ambient genre. In my opinion, it is THE greatest. Period. Read more
Published on January 19, 2007 by Zap Rowsdower
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best Budd/Eno team-up album of all time
Even more than "Music for Airports" and "Plateaux of Mirror", this album is the definitive collaboration album from the Budd & Eno archives. Read more
Published on July 5, 2006 by Brad Torgersen
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are going to buy one Budd cd
this is the one. His other ones are great, but this one of restrained paino and Eno's light effects of slight warbles that may make you feel like you are on a quiet beach or... Read more
Published on April 14, 2006 by Red Badge
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