Discreet Music

Composer
Released

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

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