Harold Budd

The American ambient/neo-classical composer who has most closely allied himself with the increasingly sympathetic independent rock underground -- through his collaborations with the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie -- Harold Budd is also one of the very few who can very rightly be called an ambient composer. His music, a sparse and tonal wash of keyboard treatments, was inspired by a boyhood spent listening to the buzz of telephone wires near his home in the Mojave Desert town of Victorville, CA (though he was born in nearby Los Angeles). Though interested in music from an early age, Budd was 30, already married, and with children of his own by the time he graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in musical composition in 1966. He became a respected name in the circle of minimalist and avant-garde composers based in Southern California during the late '60s, premiering his works "The Candy-Apple Revision" and "Unspecified D-Flat Major Chord and Lirio" around the area. In 1970, he began a teaching career at the California Institute of Arts, but continued to compose while there, writing "Madrigals of the Rose Angel" in 1972.