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Discreet Music

46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 31, 1990
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1. Discreet Music
2. Three Variations On The Canon In D Major: Fullness
3. French Catalogues
4. Brutal Ardor

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Editions Eg Records
  • ASIN: B000003S2Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,517 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth M. Goodman on April 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first, title track, is over 30 minutes of sonic bliss
that never ever gets boring and only gets better with
repeated listenings. Fantastic discreet music to play while
you're involved in creative activities. It's probably the best single
track of ambient music I've ever heard. The remainder of the CD,
at first, doesn't seem to match the mood...but after that initial
observation the BEAUTY shines through...so the whole CD is great.
The other Eno ambient CDs I'd recommend are: Ambient 2, with Mr.
Budd on piano; Ambient #4: On Land; and the Apollo Soundtrack CD.
As far as Ambient 1, Music for Airports...well, this is a prime candidate for the greatest CD of all time.
In sum, all other ambient CDs can only hope to be in the same
ballpark as these Eno masterpieces.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on June 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
One of the early masterpieces of ambient music, Eno's "Discreet Music" really defies description. Broken into two halves, the extended "Discreet Music" and "Three Variations on the Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel", the music is delicate, balanced, beautiful, and stirring.

"Discreet Music" consists, per Eno's description in the liner notes, of "two simple and mutually compatible melodic lines of different duration stored on a digital recall system" that are occasionally altered "by means of a graphic equalizer". Put simply, two loops play, of differing lengths, for the period of about 30 minutes, rising and falling, swelling and coming and going, intertwining with each other. What is most amazing is how these two simple statements can be so unbelievably powerful, emotionally overwhelming, and purely engaging. It is really one of the finest pieces in all of Eno's catalog.

The Pachelbel canon variations are somewhat less interesting, though still quite enjoyable Again from the liner notes, "[e]ach variation takes a small section of the score (two to four bars) as its starting point, and permutates the players' parts such that they overlay each other in ways not suggested by the original score". The result is breathtaking, and adds a familiar resonance to it.

Anyone interested in ambient music should likely start here or with Fripp & Eno's "No Pussyfooting". If you don't have "Discreet Music", you should. Essential listening.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By fetish_2000 on February 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For an artist that has helped shape the musical map since the 70's, and remained a sterling producer, and also has a album workrate to put most musicians to shame, it's truly surprising that Brian Eno, has so many absolutely essential albums to his name.

Here we concentrate on the period where he Created/Produced a series of defining 'Ambient' albums in the mid-late 70's, that although not the first to produce ambient albums, mastered the form to such a degree, that some 20-30 years on, these albums are frequently referenced, when discussing the genre. Although as much an electronic album as it is an ambient album, the mood here is one of detached sounds, restrained instruments and a slightly Eerie, and atmospheric solitude. using a system of two reel-to-reel tape recorders, and making the (relatively) simple process of layering sounds on top of one another, Eno was able to make stark simple sounds, from such instruments as...keyboard, synth, organ, but layer them in such a way that although the music rarely changes direction, it's beauty comes in the form of its simplicity. The first track...the epic "Discreet Music" is really nothing more than a melancholic & slight sounding relaxation drone. But its what Eno does with the sound and the use of spacial sound, that truly makes this impressive. Brief compositions of synth are gradually brought in and out of the mix, and although most listeners won't realise it on the first listen, but the relation of these elements changes over time, albeit it very gradually, and coupled with the subtle use of noise and resonance, it reveals a sound of soothing 'ambience' that washes over the listener.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chad A. Lauterbach on October 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I believe Discreet Music is Brian Eno's greatest work. Similar to the style of his Ambient album's this CD is great for just relaxing to, or playing in the background on a quiet night. The half hour tape loop track "Discreet Music" is based on many different short loops from a synth, and is great for falling asleep to. If you own the popular "Music for Airports" this is a must have. Evern though Discreet Music is a phenomenal track my favorite part of the album is the variations on the Canon in D. He shows his master over the tape loop with these variations. He takes small portions of that masterpiece and transforms them into a reinvestigation of the entire piece and creating a brand new ambient style masterpiece.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sean M. Kelly on September 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The history of ambient music (as so termed ambient) begins with "Discreet Music," Eno's lp of background music.
The story of Eno's hospital stay and how he came to realize the power of audible vs. inaudible sound, has been told over and over again. The importance of that realization radically and wonderfully changed the way music was made and listened to. It's now commonplace, and necessary, to take atmospherics and ambience into consideration when recording an album. Any number of computer controlled channels on an audio engineer's board or in effects equalizers can sonically control, enhance, or distort, the ambience of a recording. As an engineer, I do it everyday, never thinking twice.
It's hard to imagine that before Eno, such sonsiderations were rarely hit apon, except in classical music, mainly. yes, effects were commonly used, but mainly to distort, and not so much enhance, a recording.
"Discreet Music," therefore, is a landmark recording, and shows Eno's inherant understanding of the reality he stumbled upon that day in the hospital when the volume was just low enough to be audible but little else.
The recordings are great. "Discreet Music" is a masterpiece of texture and ambience, while his interpretations of "Canon in D" showcase his willing to experiment some in classical music (as was Harold Budd, at the time. Eno was working some with Budd so I have little doubt that this influenced Eno on these tracks).
The album is pure gold and a landmark in music history. Get it and find out why.
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