Discreet Music (1975) is an album by the British ambient musician Brian Eno. While "No Pussyfooting" may be his first ambient album and "Another Green World" features many ambient pieces, this is Brian Eno's first purely ambient solo album. It is also the first "Brian Eno" album, as opposed to his previous rock albums released under the name "Eno".
Brian Eno's concept of ambient music builds upon a concept composer Erik Satie called "furniture music". This means music that is intended to blend into the ambient atmosphere of the room rather than directly focused upon.
The inspiration for this album began when Eno was left bed-ridden by an accident and was given an album of eighteenth century harp music. After struggling to put the record on the turntable and returning to bed, he realized that it was turned down toward the threshold of inaudibility and he lacked the strength to turn it up. Eno said this experience taught him a new way to perceive music.
This album is also an experiment in algorithmic, generative composition. His intention was to explore multiple ways to create music with limited planning or intervention.
The a-side of the album is a thirty minute piece titled "Discreet Music". It was originally intended as a background for Robert Fripp to play against in a series of concerts.
The liner notes contain a diagram of how this piece was created. It begins with two melodic phrases of different lengths played back from a synthesizer's digital recall system. This signal is then run through a graphic equalizer to occasionally change its timbre. It is then run through an echo unit before being recorded onto a tape machine. The tape runs to the take-up reel of a second machine. The output of that machine is fed back into the first tape machine which records the overlapped signals.
A brief excerpt of "Discreet Music" was featured on Fripp & Eno's Evening Star, which was released before this album.