26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
if you have even a passing interest in Ambient music....,
This review is from: Discreet Music (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.
The "Three Variations on the Canon in D Major" is more consistent with the stylisation of 'Classical' music, with it less akin to 'Ambient' music, and more in keeping with the compositional elegance and arrangement of piano led orchestration. which has a rather melancholy and restless feel to it, and the tone of the strings/piano feels vastly different to the synth-led first track, and its arguably the more immediate track, due to its more noticeable increase in volume/tempo, and although a more rounded sound, still remains very delicate and gentle. In fact imagine these beautifully crafted tracks as works for soundtracks for films that were never filmed, as it's deeply beguiling and littered with the romanticism that became a trademark in Eno's series of 'Ambient' Albums. As it's all so precisely performed and tremendously realised, that one can't help but fall in love with this incredible album. If you picked up any of Eno's other 'Ambient' albums, I really can't stress enough, how utterly recommended this album comes, It's not only considered one of his finest 'Ambient' albums, but also just a truly exceptional album regardless of the genre. Utterly Essential