Discreet Music


Eno’s identification with ambient music, however defined by himself or others, began to emerge with Discreet Music, his fourth solo album overall but his first to specifically eschew vocals in favor of lengthy, meditative tracks. The title track, at over half an hour long, grew out of reflections on unobtrusive sound and employed tape delay, early digital sequencing and more to create its overlapping, evolving collage of serene tones and silence. Three intriguing variations on Pachelbel’s famed “Canon in D Major,” co-arranged by Gavin Bryars, complete the album.

Ned Raggett

Generally acknowledged as the urtext of what would come to be called “ambient” music, this solo album by Roxy Music alumnus Brian Eno basically created a new space for music that was quiet and contemplative but not part of the New Age genre ghetto. The title track is an example of what Eno would come to call “process music” — musical elements whose arrangement was determined by a mechanical or electronic system. The second took a popular piece of baroque music and subjected it to structural distortions that turned it into a floating cloud of consonant and gently dissonant sounds. This album still holds up very nicely several decades after its initial release.

Rick Anderson

Shadow of Fear cover

Shadow of Fear

Cabaret Voltaire
Music with Changing Parts cover

Music with Changing Parts

Salt Lake Electric Ensemble
Feel Free cover

Feel Free

Duane Pitre
Space Bootleg cover

Space Bootleg

Mercator Projection
Rest of Life cover

Rest of Life

Steve Roach
Morton Feldman: Why Patterns? / Crippled Symmetry cover

Morton Feldman: Why Patterns? / Crippled Symmetry

Jan Williams, Nils Vigeland, Eberhard Blum
In Dub II cover

In Dub II

Paddy Free
Live cover


Bill Frisell, Joey Baron, Kermit Driscoll