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A POSTERIORI

ENIGMA 6

There are no black holes in ENIGMA`s musical universe. Nothing ever just vanishes here. It´s been 16 years since October 1st 1990, when ENIGMA’s debut, “Sadness Part 1”, rocked the earthly airwaves and hit the top of the charts with sounds the planet had never heard. All of a sudden ENIGMA was no longer a UFO but the most famous spaceship of world music – and the music world. On September 22nd, 2006 “A Posteriori”, the sixth album of Michael Cretu´s ENIGMA project will be released.

…Ten…

With 35 million CDs sold worldwide, 50 number one hits, 90 platinum discs and songs appearing on more than 1,000 compilation albums, ENIGMA is the most successful German music project of all times. What is it about ENIGMA that has allowed it to reach such success? “Mood music, dance music, trip music, whatever you want to call it, the glossy pop of Enigma is an international pop phenomenon”, writes the New York Times. “Enigma explores dance music´s mental as well as physical possibilities”, asserts Entertainment Weekly. “Enigma is tripping the world of imagination”, adds Japan’s Elite. ENIGMA mastermind Michael Cretu only has one thing to say: “I make music for myself”. That he reaches millions of people in the process makes each record a new challenge: “I don´t want to repeat myself musically, and I always want to create something new.”

…Nine…

You can get an idea of where “A Posterior´” is heading from song titles such as “Dreaming Of Andromeda”, “Message From Io” and “Goodbye Milky Way”. It takes you on a voyage through a multilayered soundscape, to the limits of your sonic experience, but always stays true to the essence of ENIGMA. The album will carry any hitch-hiker along to explore extraordinary new galaxies aboard the sound-ship ENIGMA. There is also the overture that, as on the five predecessors, welcomes the listener to ENIGMA’s latest album, before creating the first tonal Fata Morgana 30 seconds later. Wafting through a soft carpet of sound come mysterious voices suggestive of power , shouting something Latin into this new sound-sphere-a sphere where “A Posteriori” will linger. ENIGMA once again create associative sound-signals, that embed themselves in your head forever like a mental tattoo.

…Eight…

“I lock myself in my own world of thought, in a kind of hypnotic trance,” says Michel Cretu. He writes, composes and arranges this seemingly other-worldly music in the same way he wants his listeners to experience ENIGMA. “I was able to transform myself into a kind of tranquil, spiritual state, so that I could reach a completely different atmosphere.” The musical rush was just as strong on the maker of this music as it is on the listener. “I am always grateful for sources of inspiration, but there weren’t any.” No TV, no video clips, no studying the music charts. Instead Cretu was able to create his own ENIGMA universe with just a view of the Mediterranean and the stars, and his studio control room, which is a bit smaller these days. He “wanted to do justice to my own high musical ambitions.” The result is an intergalactic soundtrip, in twelve stages, that lasts 53 minutes and 42 seconds. It is the longest of all of ENIGMA´s voyages so far, and one that guides its guests into unknown worlds, with every song leading into another orbit.

…Seven…

In a change from the previous five albums, there are hardly any lyrics on “A Posteriori”. Language appears only in fragments, or as reminiscences of ENIGMA’s own history. “Language is too limited und words are too small to get my sentiments and deepest thoughts across to other people,” Cretu says. The musical vision of ENIGMA lives off what Michael Cretu calls “positive confusion”. Whereas in the past Enigma used voices to serve as “human instruments” within an integrated concept, this album finds voices being used in a very dfferent fashion. “Voices for me are effects and sounds, nothing more”, explains Cretu. He created digital voices-immaculate sounds from another dimension. “Although these artificial voices can be associated with human voices, something about them is disorienting, abnormal.” The effect is magical.

…Six…

A new result. ENIGMA´s debut album “MCMXC a.D.” redefined the idea of a “concept album,” taking it to a completely new dimension. Never before had a concept, both musically and intellectually, been realised with such complexity. It was the birth of the “United Colours Of Music”. Of course, the success of that album transcended cultures and continents, but so did the references and inspirations that Cretu melded together into a synthetic whole. Which is one of the main reasons for the success of all ENIGMA works up to this day. But “A Posteriori” goes a step further. No individual piece will be isolated from the ensemble to be marketed as a single. “I write books, not sketches. I make albums.” With ENIGMA the song is always a way to reach the destination, and only comprehensible within a broader context. The result of that conscious decision is that “A Posteriori” is, so far, the most cohesive work in ENIGMA´s canon. “You can listen to it in repeat mode and it will go round and round, like a Ferris wheel. It starts in c minor and ends in c minor”. Not only is c minor Michael Cretu´s favourite key, it also mirrors his initials. An uncanny coincidence, like so many things with ENIGMA…

…Five…

From the big symphonic concept back to chamber music. Michael Cretu swapped his huge studio command center for a little keyboard-cockpit. “But the way I work didn’t change. I just got rid of that monster of a studio I had, with 35 miles of cables. I now get by with less equipment, though it has to be perfect”. You can certainly feel this newly acquired mobility and dynamism on “A Posteriori”. “Less is more” is ENIGMA´s new working maxim, but without losing its sophistication. After all, one of ENIGMA`s signatures is the way you can always discover something new, little secrets, undeciphered codes, hidden elements that, as they reveal themselves, allow the listener to participate in the magical formula. “I wanted to reinvigorate my philosophy from ENIGMA 1; I wanted to create headspace for listeners so they can finish the arrangements of the songs in their imaginations – depending on their mood, their environment and their sensibilities.”

…Four…

Nomen est omen. “The Alchemist” is not only the title of the second to last track on “A Posteriori”, but also the ideal definition of what the album’s creator represents. Alchemist is the perfect description of the Michael Cretu of the 21st century: singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer and sound engineer. The set of musical formulas that he deciphered and commands mirrors those of the wizards of organic and anorganic sciences. “What is completely new about “A Posteriori”, is that, for the first time in my life, with the exception of two spoken lines, I have done everything myself.” That, too, is a conscious result of his new minimalism. “I felt that if I wanted a guitar, I didn’t necessarily need a guitarist.” Indeed, even experienced guitar players will find it difficult to believe that most of the subtle riffs and effervescent solos were done on keyboards. “It’s probably the first pure synthesizer-album that doesn’t sound like synthesizers at all.” The dream of latter-day alchemist Michael Cretu has come true.

…Three…

“I have a very precise idea of the effect I want to generate in the listener. It’s about the emotional effect, about what music conveys.” Cretu consciously abandoned any message or grand ideological conceit. His working concept was that of “whole body music” – disarmingly harmonic, good-timey and easy-going, at least on the surface. Because no boundaries should be erected against the listener´s urge to discover.
Here it becomes clear that the person hiding behind the ENIGMA moniker is indeed an experienced composer and full-on musician. “A Posteriori” provides world-wide DJ culture-with its inexhaustible hunger for references and remembrances-with a new sound fodder. There are hardly any chill-out or lounge mixes that don’t include samples or snippets nicked from the ENIGMA sound-galaxy. “A Posteriori” is, again, a completely new sound collage. But there’s a massive difference in art terms between creating an original and merely making copies. Michael Cretu paints sound collages for which any canvas would seem too small.

…Two…

People who set trends don´t have to worry about the zeitgeist. From the very start, Enigma ignored conventional wisdom in the music industry. “No melodies, no English lyrics, the song structure chopped into eight parts, and all you can hear is incomprehensible double-Dutch”, is Michael Cretu´s own description of ENIGMA´s global hit “Sadness Part 1”. And he has continued to ignore musical and industry trends, even as Enigma has continuously evolved and changed. “Even though ENIGMA has an identity of its own, a sort of signature style, it would bore me to death if I just copied myself over and over.” Cretu knows how risky it is to challenge his listeners with “a little culture shock” as each new record diverges from the familiar sounds of the current musical landscape. “It can sound quite different from what people have been listening to. But when you let yourself really breath in the new sound, it can be a rush. You don’t have to understand my music, it’s only designed to spark a feeling of general well-being.”

…One…

You can draw an analogy between ENIGMA and silent movies. With silent movies, the music, the sound, and the words emerged from inside the viewers’ minds. With Enigma, the pictures, the colours and worlds are created in listeners’ heads and allow them all to experience the unique, personalized intoxication of being transported to another dimension. The acoustic gravity dissolves. You lift off – most effectively at night. “A Posteriori” does this without cheap sound effects and trance-inducing loops. “Not a single measure is repeated. And I played nearly everything through from start to finish, as opposed to building it measure by measure.” On no other ENIGMA album before has his classical training as concert pianist has come in so handy as with this one. “There are these little serendipitous coincidences on “A Posteriori”, where I transformed a mistake into something positive, I integrated a false note harmonically in such a way that the listener gets confused in a positive way. Only then music becomes alive.” For Michael Cretu musical success means emotion trumping rationality. Which is another reason why this time, he has bridged the transitions between the songs with “more emptiness, with absurd, multidimensional sounds. I wanted to create a tonal vacuum similar to the sensation you get when pressure builds up when dive under water.” But these are only short moments before you re-enter the “living, constantly morphing monotony,” as Cretu describes it. “This monotony, of course, is false, because with every new measure something different happens.”

…Zero – Go!

“Now, after 16 years I know what the common thread of ENIGMA is. I have an explanation for why people listen to my music – and buy it – again and again, despite the fact that each of my CDs sounds completely different. It is that yearning-yearning for humanity, a universal longing – and a yearning that is a bit naïve, too!” Micheal Cretu yearns for infinity, transcendence on “A Poseriori”, which is Latin for “what comes after”. So ENIGMA´s sixth opus invokes Antoine de Saint-Exupéry´s “Le Petit Prince”, the literary visions of Jules Verne, Steven Spielberg´s “E.T.”, Galileo Galilei. Leonardo da Vinci, , the myths of Jupiter moon Io, the Andromeda galaxy, the end of the milky way… That´s why we wanted to give you a little manual for “A Posteriori”: Whether you listen to it on your I-Pod under the night sky, with closed eyes in your own room, or as a soundtrack to the most enjoyable things in life, you can chose the way you experience the “360° sound” of this multidimensional music. In December “A Posteriori” will be released as 5.1-surround-DVD, so listeners can experience the 3D mosaic of this beautiful synthesizer-album even more effectively. With “A Posteriori” Michael Cretu has managed to come up with another groundbreaking ENIGMA album.

 

Σ

 

Enigma’s music is evolving with each album released

September Michael Cretu has presented the world with his new masterpiece called A Posteriori. Unlike the previous record Voyageur, which has been the most pop-influenced, there are not many vocals on the new work, and in all the instrumental compositions one can feel the flavor of Cretu’s very first creations. A Posteriori has all the hypnotic and celestial sounding of Enigma, and the fans will be glad to hear the legendary opening phrase ‘Good evening. This is the voice of Enigma’ here. This time vocalists sing of the whole universe, the state the humanity is in now and draw our attention to the space. No doubt Enigma’s music is evolving with each album released and A Posteriori can be righfully called the project’s TOP3 album so far.

A Posteriori presents a unity of time and space

The first track from A Posteriori that the audience came to hear in 2005 was Hello And Welcome, (just for a change, its new version is presented on the record), and the official lead single is Goodbye Milky Way. Both songs deserve to be unleashed outside the album, but there are enough of other unique compositions on the album as well. Michael Cretu has created artificial voices that add mystery to the atmosphere of the album. A Posteriori presents a unity of time and space; it embraces simultaneously the remote past and the unknown future and passes through all the elements. Take, for instance, the opening track: Eppur Si Muove, meaning ‘And yet it moves’, is what Galileo Galilei exclamed centuries ago about the Earth, and the song Dreaming Of Andromeda invites us to even earlier times of antiquity. The unforgettable melody of another breathtaking composition Dancing With Mephisto interweaves with the words to end up as an indivisible harmony of voice and music, while the pulsatile trance track Feel Me Heaven blends all of Michael Cretu’s early creations. Guitar featured dance song Invisible Love pleases with the composer’s powerful vocals, and dynamic The Alchemist is going to become many listeners’ favorite song on A Posteriori. Another candidate for this status is a beautiful peaceful composition 20,000 Miles Over The Sea, yet on the whole there is not a single failure track on A Posteriori.
Music that quickens imagination

The Latin expression a posteriori means ‘based on experience, empirical’, and hence the name of Enigma’s new album may symbolize the conclusion made by its creators after some significant period of time. On the other hand, many treat it as the hint that Michael Cretu is going to sum up all that he has done before and perhaps take a time-out. However, if one listens to the album carefully and more than once, one realizes, that its tracks are devoted to different notional events in human history and to the legends of the past that might have helped people to draw the moral. There are not many words actually sung on A Posteriori, yet it is enough to give the necessary mood and involve you to reflection. The most unusual thing is that these serious ideas are submerged into the magic atmosphere of vivid images and mindbending tunes. The ambient sounding and special audio effects serve as a bridge, which passes the listeners to an unforgettable journey. Michael Cretu has once again created a collection of music that makes people believe in miracles, brings many interesting thoughts to their minds and quickens their imagination. A Posteriori is the album you have been longing for and can now enjoy it setting your fantasy free.

 

 

© Credits:

Marcin Papke, Virgin/EMI press releases,
public internet materials