Is Eno God?
It's hard to believe that this incredibly forward thinking music was released more than thirty years ago as it still sounds totally fresh today. It's also wonderful to not have to hear the clicks & pops on my original vinyl copy. With "Discreet Music", Eno, using a minimal amount of input (two separate but compatible melody lines), some tape recorders and a delayed echo system, created one of the loveliest, most relaxing ambient pieces ever produced. The shifting melodies have a woodwind-like quality on this piece-very nice, warm tones. Though Eno suggests in the liner notes (very informative concerning his processes) that one should listen to "Discreet Music" at an almost inaudible volume, I can appreciate listening to it like that but also at a higher volume where one can more readily hear the stunning overtones and undertones that this piece consists of. Like most of the reviewers, I prefer "Discreet Music" over the Pachelbel variations following it. But these are very nice too, with the ensemble conducted by one of Eno's frequent collaborators, Gavin Bryars. These are string pieces and being for an ensemble, they are fuller sounding than "Discreet Music". All these works are concerned with the ways one can arrange a piece of music either through technology or by having instruments with low ranges playing in a slower tempo and instruments with higher ranges playing faster. It sounds a bit demented but it definitely works. This is an essential CD to have if you love ambient music. If you like this, be sure to check out "Thursday Afternoon" and "Neroli". On a personal note, Brian Eno is probably the biggest influence on me as an artist, a musician/composer and theorist. Praise be to B.E.!
if you have even a passing interest in Ambient music....
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
A beautiful vision of the world around us.
The variations of Pachbel's Cannon show the true genius of Brian Eno.