Pairing the music of Richard Maxfield and Harold Budd on one CD may seem a bit unusual, but it works.
Maxfield's music runs the gamut of experimental techniques with an Ives and Cage-like American spirit of adventure. He truly threw out the rule book and devised his own language of organized sound. These pieces sound very fresh and cutting edge even today... it's hard to believe they were composed in the early 60s. You may not listen to Maxfield's music often, but you'll be glad you had the experience.
While Maxfield's suicide was a tragic end to a promising creative career, Harold Budd went on to achieve relative fame in today's ambient/"New Age" movement. Many may not know he was once an avant-garde composer of "difficult" music. The pieces on this CD are some of his earliest recorded works, written shortly after abandoning atonality in favor of "shamelessly beautiful" consonance and simplicity. "Oak of the Golden Dreams" is a Terry Riley-esque piece for synthesizer, while "Coeur D'Orr" combines organ-like drones with live saxophone improvisation, a precursor to "Bismillahi 'Rrahman 'Rrahim" from "The Pavilion of Dreams".
This CD is a welcome addition to any adventurous music collection, thankfully resurrecting long out-of-print recordings of two unique American composers. (And the liner notes are excellent!)