The latter part of 1975 was a remarkably creative period for Brian Eno. With his masterpiece Another Green World, Eno began moving away from the structure and sound of pop music toward a more static instrumental model, influenced in part by Erik Satie and strongly informed by his prior collaborations with Robert Fripp. Recorded just a month after Another Green World, Discreet Music is his first full foray into what has become known as ambient music. Using the same system of two reel-to-reel tape recorders as No Pussyfooting and Evening Star, Eno was able to layer simple parts atop one another, resulting in a beautiful piece of music that never really changes but constantly evolves with the addition and decay of different parts.
Both Brian Eno and John Cale have always flirted with conventional pop music throughout their careers, while reserving the right to go off on less accessible experiments, which means they've always held out the promise that they would make something as attractive as this synthesizer-dominated collection, on which Eno comes as close to the mainstream as he has since Another Green World and Cale is as catchy as he's been since Honi Soit. The result is one of the best albums either one has ever made. [A 2005 reissue added two bonus tracks: "Grandfather's House" and "You Don't Miss Your Water."]
Brian Eno will soon issue expanded versions of four of his albums originally released in the 1990s Nerve Net (1992), The Shutov Assembly (1992), Neroli (1993) and The Drop (1997) will each be reissued as a two-CD deluxe editions containing the original album and an additional disc of unreleased and rare Eno work specific to each record. Nerve Net includes the first ever commercial release of lost Eno album My Squelchy Life; The Shutov Assembly features an album’s worth of unreleased recordings from the same period; Neroli includes an entire unreleased hour-long Eno ambient work New Space Music; and The Drop includes nine rarely heard tracks from the Eno archives. Each album comes in deluxe casebound packaging and is accompanied by a 16-page booklet compiling photos, images and writing by Eno that is relevant to each release.
On Land represented a significant move away from the strategies Brian Eno had employed in earlier ambient releases such as Discreet Music and Music for Airports. Instead of using a specific process to generate music with minimal interference from the composer, he here opts for a more gestural and intuitive approach, creating dreamy pictures of some specific geographical points or evocative memories of them. It's quite easy to imagine these works as soundtracks to mysterious footage of imprecisely glimpsed landscapes.
The second in Brian Eno's ambient series, The Plateaux of Mirrors fuses the fragile piano melodies of Harold Budd and the atmospheric electronics of Eno to create a lovely, evocative work. In sharp contrast to the exaggerated pieces found on his debut, The Pavilion of Dreams, this record finds Budd delivering sharp shards of piano notes pregnant with meaning and minimal in the best sense of the word. Eno's unobtrusive electronics add a resonance and atmosphere that draw from the ambient textures found on Discreet Music, Music for Films, and Evening Star.