Poems & Drawings by Harold Budd
Emerging in the 1960s from the American minimalist movement inspired by John Cage and Morton Feldman, Harold Budd has become one of the country's most prolfic, consistent and ifluential composers and musicians. Throughout his career, poetry - or what Harold refers to as "something like poetry, but not the same thing" - has been an occasional companion to his music. His "something-like poetry" now takes center stage in Colorful Fortune, the first published collection of Harold's poems, issued in both paperback and a deluxe signed edition printed and bound by hand.
Several events were organized in Seattle during June, 2009 to mark the publication of Colorful Fortune. On June 11 Harold performed an intimate concert with MoonLiner publisher Keith Lowe as part of an ongoing new music series organized by Nonsequitur. A video of the final piece from the concert can be seen here. The following afternoon, Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers hosted a reception and book signing. The shop also hosted the debut exhibition of drawings and new etchings by Harold, published by Heavenly Monkey, titled CARNIVAL.
The first half of Colorful Fortune presents the debut of an extended cycle in 18-parts titled 'Poem Sketches 2007-2008.' The second half presents 11 poems which first appeared on three of his albums from the 1990s: By Dawn's Early Light, She is a Phantom and Glyph. The book also includes 14 original drawings by Harold, inspired by the music of Monteverdi and Tristano. These 'arabesque' drawings are variations on a theme that could be described as a visual expression of his music: a string, or line, or thread, that travels, meandering across a page, entering at one point and departing at another. Some background on the project's development is offered below.
To dowload a printable version of the Colorful Fortune prospectus brochure, right click here and "save as" Colorful Fortune.
THE LIMITED EDITION
The limited edition of Colorful Fortune was be printed on Rives Lightweight, a classic French mouldmade paper. Each of the 50 copies are signed and numbered by Harold, and separated into two issue states. Copies 11–50 form the Press state. These copies are hand-bound by Keith Lowe in a limp paper vellum case, based on the traditional limp vellum binding used for books throughout the Renaissance. The vellum paper is specially made for us from abaca fiber by papermaker Reg Lissel. It is a tremendously tough material, with a feel remarkably like vellum. It is also semi-translucent, a characteristic exploited in the design: the case is lined with a sheet printed with the title and one of the drawings. The printed text sheets are folded into three signatures and hand-sewn by Keith on paper vellum supports (i.e. tapes); the spine is lightly pasted and lined with gampi; and the book is then pasted into the paper vellum cover. Copies 1–10 of the limited edition form the Deluxe state. Each includes intaglio reproductions (i.e. photo-etchings) of four preliminary arabeques Harold drew for the project, which were not used in the final layout. These four drawings were printed by master printer Peter Braune at New Leaf Editions, and bound into the back of the book. Also bound into each of these Deluxe copies is one of the 14 original drawings reproduced in Colorful Fortune, signed and dated by Harold. The Deluxe copies are bound by Claudia Cohen in quarter leather with leather tips, accompanied by a cloth-covered clamshell box. For the boards and endsheets Claudia created a special paste paper design inspired by Harold's arabesques. During a career that spans more than 30 years, Claudia has worked on projects for just about every major American private press, including Leonard Baskin's Gehenna Press, Barry Moser's Pennyroyal Press, Alan James Robinson's Cheloniidae Press, the Museum of Modern Art, and numerous others. TRADE PAPERBACK EDITION
The trade paperback was printed from the same setting as the limited edition, on Mohawk Superfine acid-free paper. The book was Smythe sewn and put into a stiff paper wrap printed in two colors (black and silver). ORDERING
Colorful Fortune is 5.5. x 9 inches, 34 pages. Heavenly Monkey books are distributed primarily through professional booksellers. A small number of Press Issue copies from the limited edition can be purchased directly. Once these are taken, private & institutional collectors interested in reserving a copy of the limited edition should contact any of the booksellers listed on our Friends page. The Press Issue (copies 11–50) is priced at US$325. Payment for orders from new customers will be requested in advance of delivery. The Deluxe Issue is sold out, but copies may be available through HM's regular booksellers. The trade paperback is priced at US$35. It is available exclusively through Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers of Seattle. Booksellers can inquire about quantity discounts. SOME BACKGROUND MoonLiner publisher Keith Lowe, who plays the bass in any and all of its various manifestations, grew up in the Seattle area. Some of the more widely known names from his resume of performing and recording gigs include with Fiona Apple, Bill Frisell, Stone Gossard, Wayne Horvitz, Jim Byrnes and David Sylvian. It was Sylvian, knowing of Lowe's interest in bookbinding and small press publishing, who connected Lowe and Budd. "For some years I have had an interest in books, which eventually led me to study book binding," Lowe says. "Through my bookish desires and chronic bibliomania, I met Rollin Milroy of Heavenly Monkey, a wonderful press in Vancouver, B.C. At that time I was entertaining thoughts of a career change and was constantly asking Rollin for ideas. Rollin suggested that I combine my two passions and publish books related to my world of music. With that thought in mind, I approached my friend and musical colleague David Sylvian about publishing and binding a limited edition book of his lyrics. Although that project's future remains to be seen, David thought of me last year when Harold was looking for a publisher for his collection of poems. I've long been a fan of Harold's beautiful and delicate music, and I'm grateful to David for thinking of me for the job. This would truly be an amazing way to start MoonLiner Books!" Lowe says. Being new to the field of publishing, Lowe invited Milroy to collaborate on the project. "The opportunity to be involved in publishing a collection of poems and drawings by Harold Budd is a rare and unexpected opportunity for HM. It was his music that made me wish I could play piano. When I grudgingly abandoned vinyl for compact discs, around 1986, Harold's Lovely Thunder and his two early collaborations with Brian Eno were among thefirst items I replaced in the new format. That tells you how long he's consistently been on the HM playlist," Milroy says. Budd's discography is not an easy thing to nail down, as collaborations and appearances on compilations keep popping up. His first recordings were issued in the early 1970s, and over the four decades since he has released about a dozen solo recordings, and collaborated with Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins, Jah Wobble, Bill Nelson, Andy Partridge and Robin Guthrie, to name just a few. In 2006 Sylvian's label Samadhisound issued Avalon Sutra, a double compact disc set that, at the time Harold claimed would be his last recording. "I'm sorry to have publicly said something like that, but there it is, I said it, turns out I wasn't telling the truth - I didn't know it at the time," Harold has said. It was a prognostication that turned out to be incorrect, happily so for his many fans: last fall he issued Song for Lost Blossoms, a collaboration with guitarist Clive Wright, followed in the spring of '09 by Candylion. Harold's openness to collaboration has extended to the launch of Colorful Fortune. He and co-publisher/binder Lowe will be performing - their first time together - in Seattle on June 11th. Concert organizer Steve Peters heard of Colorful Fortune's pending publication while visiting Seattle booksellers Wessel & Lieberman. Knowing Harold's work and recognizing an opportunity to connect with the local publishing endeavor, Peters extended an invitation to Harold to perform as part of the Wayward Music Series of concerts, held at the intimate Chapel Performance Space in the Good Shepherd Center. It was Harold's suggestion that it become a chance to perform with Lowe, making the concert a celebration of the new publisher's successful combination of his twin passions, books and music. ABOUT HAROLD BUDD
Harold's discography is not an easy thing to nail down, as collaborations or appearances on compilations keep popping up. His first recordings were issued in the early 1970s, and over the four decades since he has released about a dozen solo recordings, and collaborated with Brian Eno, Cocteau Twins, Bill Nelson, Andy Partridge and Robin Guthrie, to name just a few. For those interested in reading more about Harold's work and details of his many collaborations, check out this essay at the samadhisound site, this article from The Independent, or this one from Sound on Sound. His unofficial MySpace page streams several tracks, and the new fan site haroldbudd.com keeps up with news and his releases.
Keith Lowe & Harold Budd in concert,
Seattle June 11.
Book Launch, Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers, June 12
Deluxe Issue, 10 copies bound by
Press Issue, 40 copies bound by Keith Lowe
Keith Lowe at a sound check during
David Sylvian's 2007 tour