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Enigma is a German new age musical project formed in 1990 by Michael Cretu, David Fairstein and Frank Peterson.The Romanian-born Cretu conceived the Enigma project while working in Germany, but based his recording studio A.R.T. Studios in Ibiza, Spain, from the early 1990s until May 2009, where he has recorded all of Enigma's studio releases to date. Cretu is both the composer and the producer of the project. His former wife, pop singer Sandra, often provided vocals on Enigma tracks. Jens Gad co-arranged and played guitar on three of the Enigma albums. Peter Cornelius also contributed to Enigma during the 1990s.

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". The first album was an important album to future mainstream New Age music. The album not only popularized the "Enigmatic" music style but also introduced some technical changes in music production. With MCMXC a.D., Michael Cretu developed the technical features and intentions of sampling. Though samples were in use long before (introduced by such musicians as Jean-Michel Jarre, Klaus Schulze and others), Cretu built his own music around whole sequences of previously recorded parts. His method was not remixing and remodeling, but rather recontextualisation – by changing a piece of music’s natural environment. This was a new way of composing and creating albums, which was adopted by some Hip-Hop artists, electronic music producers, and even Rock producers as well. It was also one of the first albums to be recorded directly to hard drive. Furthermore, MCMXC a.D. was arguably one of the first steps in a series of developments which would eradicate the division between mainstream and underground music.

Era and Gregorian (led by former Enigma member Frank Peterson) are among some notable groups which capitalized 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 arranger and guitarist on several Enigma 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.

Critics have noted down the probable influences if not similarities of Enigma and the works of other notable musicians. Some examples include PR MRS 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:

With their 1991 hit "Sadness," Enigma brought the new age fascination with Gregorian chants and old-world culture to the clubs; the resulting single was both unique and irresistible. The rest of the album followed that pattern successfully, although without quite matching the stunning success of the hit single. On their second album, 1994's Cross of Changes, some of the old-world elements remained, but the new age angle came to the forefront in a set of slick, radio-friendly dance-pop. Enigma 3: Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi followed in 1996. A side project, Trance Atlantic Airwaves, issued The Energy of Sound in 1998. The fourth Enigma record, The Screen Behind the Mirror, followed in early 2000, and in 2003 Voyageur came out. Three years later, A Posteriori was released.

90's Hits

Return to Innocence

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