Introduction Terminology The Sources

Terms you are likely to see in the sources and throughout this pathfinder.

Ambient Refers to music that intentionally functions equally well as background sound, or ambience. Typically based around simple tonal progressions that loop and are often manipulated as looped. Eno has described works in this vein as geographies that allow a listener to wander where they like.
Electronica Refers to music that yes, is created electronically, but since all electric music is electronic, also means that the music is intentionally processed using electronic tools like synthesizers, computers, and other signal manipulators.
Krautrock Refers to German electronic rock, which was influenced by, and highly influential on, Eno's music. Far from being a derogatory term for its practitioners, and in fact marketed fairly aggressively in the early 70s by the German groups themselves, Krautrock tends towards drone, white noise, repetition, and, where they exist, because much of it is instrumental, free associative lyrics -- very open stuff, lending itself to interpretation. Key German groups Eno collaborated with included Cluster and Harmonia.
New Age Used by some as an epithet, by others as a marketing tool, this refers to a collection of mostly instrumental musical styles that grew out minimalist music of the 70s and has since come to mean often drippy muzak-style blahness that bears little resemblance to the work of its original innovators, among whom Eno's ambient albums are considered touchstones.
Oblique Strategies Strategies formulated by Eno to jog the creative process when bogged down. Made into a set of cards that he marketed, the various in-print releases of which are now collector's items.
Roxy Music Not a style but a band, which counted Eno as an original member, and on whose first two albums he appeared. Eno-less they would have massive success in the early 80s, but their first albums are among the very few records that can be considered defining moments in the formation of avant-garde, glam, progressive and punk rock, any combination of which might be considered strange bedfellows had it not been for Roxy Music.
Systems Refers to music that follows a system of design much as an architect would follow a blueprint.
Tape Loops A practice used by Eno and collaborator (King Crimson guitar player) Robert Fripp, that involved using two tape machines, the first machine sending the signal from the playback head to the record head of the the second machine, where it was mixed with an incoming instrument signal. The tape, now containing the original and new signal, was sent again to the playback machine, and the process started again. This allowed a mirroring effect which could be controlled through mixing volume, tone, and other signal treatments.