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In 1990 Harold Budd collaborated with Brian Eno to create one of the seminal ambient pieces, Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirrors. Since then, most ambient music has marched to the beats and grooves of the dance hall, but on The Room, Budd reclaims the space of spaciousness. Budd's music is so airy that it's nearly impossible to stay conscious long enough to put words to paper -- and that, I say, is a big relief not only for the ears but also for the overstressed mind. Budd's simple, extended piano phrases breathe liquidly, and the music is so subtle that one can't discern boundaries between the piano strings, the instrument's harmonic resonance, and the processing. On "The Room of Ancillary Dreams," the piano's bass phrase creates a seductive rocking motion, while the upper register plays like light and shadows on the ceiling. This piece is one of only two featuring a guest artist: Chas Smith adds some buffed metallic polish on pedal steel here, while on "The Room of Accidental Geometry," Terrance Budd graces the sound environment with zither-like strums. "The Room of Oracles" ups the echo to almost drunken proportions. New sounds sparkle through the mysterious "The Room of Stairs" as melodic bells chime around the piano phrasings and a lightweight organ drone holds the space steady. Each of the 13 rooms has a distinct ambience, from the silvery bells of "The Room Alight" to the thick, ominous vocalise and strummed strings of "The Candied Room" to the electronic atmosphere of "The Room of Mirrors." The music is simple on the surface, and many other pianists have already toyed around with extended phrasings and the echoing sustain pedal. So why is Budd's music important, then? Well, his music works. His sounds are both captivating and liberating. They are abstract, stylish, and nondogmatic, offering the benefits of mind-clearing and relaxation if that's how you want to use the music. Play The Room to transform your room, or wear headphones to clear out the sonic cobwebs from your gray matter. This album offers the pristine, distilled, and mouthwatering nectar of sound.