Enigma (musical project)

Enigma (musical project)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Enigma
Img_capt = Screenshot from "Mea Culpa (Part II)"
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Germany
Genre = Ambient
New Age [ [http://www-tech.mit.edu/V121/N59/enigma.59a.html MUSIC REVIEW: Enigma's LSD - Electronic & Choral Avant Garde, Engima Releases Greatest Hits - The Tech ] ] Trance
Years_active = 1990–present
Label = Virgin Schallplatten (Germany)
EMI (International)
Charisma (United States)
Associated_acts = Gregorian
URL = http://www.enigma.de/
Current_members = Michael Cretu (since 1990)
Past_members = Sandra Cretu (1990-2003)
Peter Cornelius (1990-1994)
Jens Gad (1997-2003)
David Fairstein (1990-1997)
Frank Peterson (1990-1991)
Notable_instruments = Shakuhachi (sampled)

Enigma is German electronic musical project founded by Michael Cretu, David Fairstein and Frank Peterson in 1990. Cretu is both the composer and the producer; his former wife Sandra often provided vocals on Enigma tracks. Jens Gad co-produced and played guitar on three of the Enigma albums.

Seven studio albums have been produced under the name of the project. Their first and most successful album, "MCMXC a.D.", sold more than 16 million copies.

Enigma was among the first recording groups to use a digial audio workstation as a recording studio and to include non-percussion musical instrument and vocal samples, such as the Shakuhachi flute and Gregorian monk chants samples.


From the late 1970s onwards, Michael Cretu already had his own music career on his hands and apart from some collaboration efforts with several other musicians, he also produced his wife's albums. Before Enigma, he released a number of albums under his own name, but none of them sold particularly well. Cretu revealed in an interview that he believed that his ideas were running out at that point.

In December 1990, after 8 months of preparation, Cretu released Enigma's debut album, the groundbreaking "MCMXC a.D." that received over 60 platinum awards worldwide. The album was Cretu's first commercial success through the single "Sadeness (Part I)"Fact|date=July 2008, which juxtaposed Gregorian chants and sexual overtones over a dance beat that was highly peculiar to the ears of the public at that time. Cretu explained that the album was about unsolved crimes and philosophical themes such as life after death, hence the name Enigma. He had previously used a Gregorian-type chant on the opening seconds of Sandra's 1987 single "Everlasting Love", without integrating them into other parts of the song. "Sadeness" quickly rose to the top of the charts in Germany and France; it went on to become an almost worldwide hit. Later Cretu would claim that the now signature Enigma sound was inspired after falling asleep on the London Underground.

Before the album was released, Cretu was cautious of the response towards the upcoming album, decided to forgo mentioning his and most of the personnel's real name and credited himself as Curly M.C., while the album sleeve contained little information about the background of the project, furthering the mystery about the creators of the album and leading to speculation whether Enigma was a band, a person or a group.

In 1993, Cretu was given an offer by producers to compose the full soundtrack of the motion picture "Sliver" but he was unable to accept the offer. Instead, he came up with "Carly's Song" ("Age of Loneliness" in the album and video releases) and "Carly's Loneliness", which was used in the movie and credited in the as well.

In the same year, "The Cross of Changes" was released and it received about the same, if not an even larger and better response from the public (it sold 6 million copies in a year). However, both of the albums also hitched up lawsuits over the issue of sampling from other music sources.

In 1996, "Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!" (French for "The King is dead, long live the King!") was released. Cretu's idea was that this third album was the child of the previous two albums, and therefore included familiar elements of Gregorian chants and tribal chants in it. Though the album was as meticulously crafted by Cretu as the earlier two albums, it failed to achieve the same level of success that they enjoyed. As a result only two of the three singles originally slated were released, with the third one ("The Roundabout") being silently cancelled in 1998.

The 2000 release of "The Screen Behind the Mirror" included samples from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana on four tracks on the album. This time the Gregorian chants were toned down a lot, but still Shakuhachi flutes and other traditional Enigma signatures remain. Only "Gravity of Love" and "Push the Limits" were released as singles from the album. Ruth-Ann Boyle from the band Olive and also Andru Donalds mark their first appearance on the Enigma project.

In 2001, Cretu released a new single called "Turn Around" together with ' and ' to end what he considers to be the first chapter of Enigma. A light show was held at the Munich Planetarium in conjunction of the release of the compilation albums.

2003's "Voyageur" was considered by many to be a total makeover for the project. Practically all of the prominent Enigma signature elements (the ethnic and/or Gregorian chants, the famous Shakuhachi flutes) were no longer in use for this album. As a result many fans had difficulty appreciating this new direction and sales were affected. From a statistical point of view, every Enigma studio album to date has sold roughly half of what the previous release did.

To commemorate the fifteen years of the product, a very special, limited edition called "Fifteen Years" was launched, it has the size of an old LP vinyl disk, with Leonardo Davinci's art in the cover, a big booklet with extra art, and featuring eight compact disks, all the previous albums, the DVD "Remember the Future" plus an special and exclusive bonus CD, which was called "The Dusted Variations" who included the project's greatest hits remaked by another project called "Dusted", all the songs were very different from the originals, and sounded very dreamy and had almost no percussion, this disc also contained the single version of Hello and Wellcome, who was later relased as a single. Also the DVD for "Remember the Future" featured in this box was slightly different because it contained the extra video for the single "Voyageur", and also were added it's commentary in the extras' part "solve the enigma".

On August 28, 2005, Enigma's management ( [http://www.crocodile-music.de/enigma/index.php Crocodile-Music.de] ) announced the release of the project's latest single, "Hello and Welcome". The single was originally slated to be released in October, however it was moved to November 25, 2005 and finally saw release in Germany on March 10, 2006. The song will also be the walk-in music for the German boxer, Felix Sturm, and much like "Voyageur" shows little similarity to earlier Enigma works.

On September 26, 2006, Enigma's sixth album A Posteriori was released worldwide, containing a new version of "Hello and Welcome" and the new song "Goodbye Milky Way", which, despite earlier announcements, was and will not be released as a single. The album is more techno, electronic, than any previous one. The concept is based on such sciences as astronomy, physics, history and sociology.Fact|date=March 2007

A DVD version of A Posteriori was released on December 16, 2006. The DVD features kaleidoscope images in synchronization with the multi channel remastered music.

In late March 2007, a special "Private Lounge Remix" album version of A Posteriori was released on the Apple iTunes music store. This compilation includes 12 new remixed tracks from the album by artists such as Boca Junior, Tocadisco, etc. Some of these tracks were available previously on the original A Posteriori iTunes album and on the abovementioned DVD release.

Scheduled for worldwide release on 19th September 2008 is Enigma's seventh album Seven Lives Many Faces. The new album expands the sound catalogue of previous releases and is expected to lead to a new Omni-Cultural wave. The lead single "Seven Lives" is a powerful fusion of modern and classical elements.


Enigma's first two studio albums also led to the creation and popularity of bands and musical groups that follow similar styles, often called "Enigmatic Music". Era and Gregorian (led by former Enigma member Frank Peterson) are among some notable groups which capitalised songs which heavily incorporate Gregorian chants in their works. Enigma and Deep Forest are also to be considered by many to have brought the tribal chant genre to the ears of the public. Achillea, a musical project by co-producer/guitarist on several albums, Jens Gad, features music with similar atmospherics, while featuring female vocals in different languages, with different singers from different parts of the world. Enigma also influenced Christopher von Deylen's musical project Schiller. The influence can be heard in any album by the band. Cretu's musical project is also included into the list of influences of Schiller. [http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=24918960]

Critics and fans have noted down the probable influences if not similarities of Enigma and the works of other notable musicians. Some examples include Delerium's "Semantic Spaces" album, Mike Oldfield's albums, "The Songs of Distant Earth" and "Tubular Bells III", all B-Tribe's albums as well as other Claus Zundel projects and Sarah Brightman's cover of Hooverphonic's song, "Eden".

Several prominent songs from the project have appeared on notable TV shows and movies, such as:

* "Beyond the Invisible" in the TV series, "La Femme Nikita".
* "Modern Crusaders" in the TV series, "La Femme Nikita".
* "Return to Innocence" in an episode of the TV series, "The Outer Limits".
* "Return to Innocence" in the end credits of the movie, "Man of the House".
* "Return to Innocence" and "Sadeness (Part I)" in the movie, "Exit to Eden (film)".
* "Return to Innocence" in an episode of the TV series, "My So-Called Life".
* "Return to Innocence" in an episode of the TV series, "Cold Case" (Episode Sanctuary (2006)).
* "Return to Innocence" in an episode of the TV series, "The L Word".
* "Sadeness (Part I)" in the movie, "Boxing Helena".
* "Sadeness (Part I)" in the movie, "Charlie's Angels".
* "Sadeness (Part I)" in the series, "Cold Case.
* "Sadnesss (Part I)" in the movie, "Exit to Eden"
* "Sadeness (Part I)" in the teaser trailer for the movie "".
* "Sadeness (Part I)" in the movie "Tropic Thunder" in a faux trailer for Kirk Lazarus' upcoming film.
* "Principles of Lust" in the movie, "Single White Female".
* "Carly's Song", "Carly's Loneliness" and "Principles of Lust" in the movie, "Sliver".
* "The Eyes of Truth" in the very famous worldwide movie trailer for "The Matrix" and also for "The Long Kiss Goodnight". This also helped to gain a lot of moviegoers' attention for the movie The Matrix.
* "I Love You ... I'll Kill You" in the movie, "Money Talks", and the trailer for the movie "Eraser".
* "Smell of Desire" in the preview trailer for the movie "Bounce".
* "Smell of Desire" in season one of the TV Show "Temptation Island".
* "Sadeness (Part I) in the comedy TV Show "Chappelle's Show".
* "Gravity Of Love" In the trailer for "The Scorpion King".
* "I Love You ... I'll Kill You" in the movie "Money Train" when Wesley Snipes goes to the night to find the men who have hit his white brother in-law."Return to Innocence" also appeared in numerous TV commercials around the world, including one for Virgin Atlantic.

ampling and lawsuits

In 1994, Cretu was sued by Munich-based choir Kapelle Antiqua and its record label, Polydor Germany for infringing its "right of personality" through distortion in the samples used in "Sadeness (Part I)" and "Mea Culpa". While the musical composition was in the public domain, the recording by Kapelle Antiqua was copyrighted. European law also recognizes moral rights (droit moral) in works that American copyright does not.

Cretu was not spared over the issue of sampling when in 1998, Kuo Ying-nan and Kuo Hsiu-chu from Taiwan's Ami tribe filed a suit over uncredited vocals in "Return to Innocence". Both of the lawsuits have since been settled, but besides compensation and acknowledgement on the source of samples on both lawsuits, the anonymity that Cretu intended to keep after the release of the first album was shattered due to the first lawsuit.

The samples used in the production of the third and fourth studio album, "Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!" and "The Screen Behind the Mirror" were credited properly and Cretu's fifth album, "Voyageur" contained no samples at all.


* 1990: "MCMXC a.D."
* 1993: "The Cross of Changes"
* 1996: "Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!"
* 2000: "The Screen Behind the Mirror"
* 2003: "Voyageur"
* 2006: "A Posteriori"
* 2008: "Seven Lives Many Faces"

ee also

*List of number-one dance hits (United States)
*List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart
*Deep Forest
*Jean Michel Jarre
*Jens Gad


External links

* http://enigma.skyrock.com
* http://enigma-history.skyrock.com
* http://enigma-collector.skyrock.com
* http://sandra-history.skyrock.com


* [http://www.enigma.de Enigma.de] (Official website of Enigma)
* [http://www.crocodile-music.de/enigma/index.php Crocodile-Music.de] (Official Enigma management website)
* [http://www.virginmusic.de/enigma EMI Virgin Record Company] (Official Enigma Record Company)


* [http://www.myspace.com/enigmaplanet Enigma Planet] (Official Enigma MySpace Page)
* [http://www.last.fm/music/Enigma Last.Fm Profile] (Music scrobbler)
* [http://www.youtube.com/EnigmaMusicTV Enigma Music TV] (Official Enigma YouTube Channel)


* [http://www.enigmacretu.com EnigmaCretu.Com] (Official Polish website of Enigma)

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