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The Serpent (in Quicksilver)

I don’t know where this title came from but it’s the best one I’ve ever come up with. The image of a lethal viper gliding glacially in a pond of mercury… it’s what you see at the end of time.


All six pieces were recorded and mixed in at least half a dozen studios in Los Angeles in 1980 – 81. I moved my tapes around like a hermit looking for a sanctuary:  a track here, an effect here, a piano over there, Chas’ pedal steel taped in the Valley somewhere… it was fantastic. No one except me knew what was happening.


I am in love with California place names. Burroughs calls them places of dead roads. I don’t call them anything but it’s the same thing – haunted, lonely places; fat with history and totally forgotten: Cantil, Inyo, Olancha, Cartago, obsidian shards at Dunmovin, the lost Gunsight Mine, Skidoo, White Mountain City… fat with dreams. And I’m in love with titles for the same reason: what they say is one thing, what they mean as they whistle through my life is something else.


Cantil came about because back in the early ‘80s there was no commercial outlet for what I was into. My buddy at Jem, Bob Say, told me what to do and the hell with everyone else, so he’s actually the reason any of this started. My idea was simply to do your best, let the pieces have a chance for a life of their own, then get back on to the next thing, whatever that turned out to be. But they’ve all kept coming back; they never slipped away as I thought they would. And now here they are again, among my favorite pieces, and I can still remember the rush as they were being made and then listening to them for the first time.


Harold Budd

Notes from Opal Re-release




A1   Afar

      Steel Pedal Guitar – Chas Smith

A2  Wanderer

A3  Rub With Ashes

B1  Children On The Hill

B2  Widows Charm

B3  The Serpent (In Quicksilver)

     Bass – Eugene Bowen




  • Design, Layout – Paula Bethsebe

  • Photography By  – Terrence Budd

  • Producer – Harold Budd




Recorded 1980-1981 at Poiema, Concorde, Music Grinder and Speakeasy


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