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Five Etchings by Harold Budd

Heavenly Monkey is pleased to issue Harold Budd's debut work in fine printmaking, a series of five etchings continuing his exploration of the potential for improvisation and discovery in his distinctive "arabesque" drawings. Titled CARNIVAL, each of the etchings is named for a Renaissance composer, and printed in an edition of 15. Numbers 1–10 are available as a complete suite, accompanied by a title page and descriptive colophon, contained in a printed paper chemise and cloth-covered slipcase. Numbers 11–15 of each print are available individually. See bottom for details of a discount available for orders received before August 15, 2009.

The addition of copper-plate engraving to Harold's artistic pursuits was borne as a result of the recently completed Colorful Fortune. Prior to the book project, Harold's arabesques had all been rendered as pencil drawings. Upon seeing the drawings that were to be reproduced as relief prints in the collection of poems, Vancouver-based master printer Peter Braune (New Leaf Editions) was convinced that the arabesques' detail and fine lines made them perfectly suited for intalgio printing. (Peter also printed the photo-etchings of four preliminary drawings included in the deluxe copies of Colorful Fortune.) He suggested sending Harold a copper plate to engrave an image upon, as an experiment.

Harold, who seems open to all new creative opportunities, was game to play. He engraved the plate ("Orlando") and returned it to Vancouver, where it was etched and printed by Peter Braune, and judged a success by all involved. The idea of doing more was proposed, and Harold's enthusiasm continued. He completed four more plates (all uniform in size, about 4 inches square), which were sent back to Vancouver, etched and printed in editions of 15 (plus two artist's proofs, and one each hors de commerce, BAT, archive and printer's proof) .

To print the edition, we dipped into Peter Braune's extensive collection of Barcham Green papers, and found a package of Penshurst (an off-white wove sheet) which, when torn into pieces 10.75 x 11.5 inches, would yield just enough to print the etchings and text sheets (as long as there were no screw ups). The copper plates were etched at New Leaf Editions. Printing this kind of plate involves inking it by hand, ensuring all of the lines etched into the plate are fully covered, and then carefully wiping the plate clean of any excess ink. Once this is done, the plate is placed on the bed of an etching press, a sheet of paper that has been soaked in water is laid over it, and they are run through the press, which forces the softened paper fibers down into the inked lines of the plate.

The text pages for the suites were set by hand in Perpetua and printed on dampened Penshurst with a Washington handpress at Heavenly Monkey. The prints were editioned, titled and signed by Harold, who also signed the descriptive colophon included with the suites.

The ten suites of prints are held in a printed Rives paper chemise, slipped into a black cloth-covered slipcase. A title label, printed on gampi proofs of the "Orlando" etching, is laid on to the front board.

Individual etchings are priced at US$225 each. The CARNIVAL suite, containing all five etchings, the title sheet and a colophon signed by Harold and numbered to match the prints, is priced at US$1,250. (NOTE: As of August 1, only two sets remain available.)

Orders for the suite received before September 1, 2009 will receive a 20% price discount.

The one-page brochure prospectus can be seen here.

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 keeps up with news and his releases.

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