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Brian Eno - Discreet Music CD (album) cover


Brian Eno


Progressive Electronic

3.46 | 109 ratings

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3 stars Sound evolving on its own.

"Discreet Music" is a 30 minute ambient piece recorded by Eno on one day in September of 1975, charting the path for many of his better loved minimalist pieces that would soon follow. He admits in the liner notes for this album that he is as much audience as creator, setting some simple sounds into motion and just watching what happens as the sounds are manipulated and looped by his hardware. It was not his intention to create music so much as to allow sound to happen and see what transpired. In his words he wanted "to ignore the tendency to play the artist by dabbling and interfering." He carefully explains and diagrams the processes for those who are interested in the mechanics of such things. I confess, I am not to any huge degree. I really only care about the result and how it makes me feel. Eno also states the music is to be played at extremely low volume and that the whole point is that this should fade into the background like musical wallpaper. The "Three Variations on the Canon in D major" offer manipulations to the performances of a small chamber ensemble and are interesting, slightly more "musical" if you will, but still not fully engaging. It doesn't work as well for me as the title track but is worth hearing.

For me the album is a modest success. It is good background sound just as Eno intended it to be, it is the beauty of simplicity. I think most ambient sound fans will appreciate the album although I did find it elicited some pretty good one liners both for and against: Web reviewer Awake600 noted "Life's too short to be listening to what sounds suspiciously like a snippet of a slightly below average quality, two-minute Another Green World instrumental, only set to play fifteen times on repeat." On the flip side of the coin and to end on a more positive note, web reviewer rainshine87 was glowing: "It's one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever heard, and never fails to put me into a state of absolute peace and joy. I'd like to listen to it whilst I die, as strange as that may sound." No, that doesn't sound strange after one has allowed "Discreet Music" to wash over them..though I remain somewhere in the middle of those two sentiments.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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