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on January 24, 2000
I just got it in the mail today and I'm contemplating whether I should superglue it into my cd player so that it's always there! I can't even count how long I've been waiting for the fourth Enigma album! I have all of them and I have to say that I like this one the most. It is the moodiest and by far the most powerful of all! Gravity of Love just sends a shivering wave down my back! Endless Quest is probably the trademark soundscape of Enigma incorporating the amazing panflute sounds that have become synonymous with Enigma. The cd opens like the other 3 which gives a very satisfying unity. You can see this if you listen to all four of them in sequence. Smell of Desire is probably the most mellow track which borrows the female vocals from the first album's Mea Culpa. This is one of those ambient, afterhours songs that is definitely destined to become an Ibiza favourite! After all, the Enigma cd's were all recorded on the island. This is definitely the music to live life with! Don't even dare to hesitate bying it!
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on January 21, 2000
After 3 years of waiting, Enigma 4 finally starts a new story. With the last album Le Roi Est Mort ending a Trilogy, The Screen begins a new journey into what Enigma is about: being mystical and beautiful. Although this album requires some getting used to, once one is in the zone,each tune sounds like a ticket to a strange and mysterious world. "Push The Limits" starts the album off with a bang and the haunting "Gravity Of love" with vocals from Olive set the stage for a classic album. The "Smell Of Desire" works as a combination of elements from all 3 albums so far and "Modern Crusader" lifts the energies. The album is by far the most instrumental so to date and also the most different, which is good to see. Enigma have never been boring, they are bad at it. The strong theme of the album is made powerful by Carl Orffs Carmina Burana sampled several times. The theme of the album: listen, feel, learn and understand, the album is meant to be felt rather than spelled out. SO what if a song is called "Silence Must Be Heard" or Traces(Light & Weight), look a little deeper, maybe you'll know what Enigma mean!
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on January 25, 2000
What a fun recording! If you already enjoy Enigma, then you won't be disappointed. If you're not sure, this may sway you. Along the lines of their earlier eclectic albums, Screen Behind the Mirror offers more of the same flavor and strong moving pulse. Overtones of Orff's Carmina Burana float and sometimes break through the recognizable Enigma fare in an unusual haunt. Overall it's a great CD-I've listened to it five times within 24 hours of receiving it and it still leaves me wanting more. Good job!
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on January 29, 2000
I agree with a previous reviewer who commented that this latest Enigma project left the listener wanting more. It is the final track Silence Must Be Heard, with vocals by Ruth-Ann from Olive, that reminds me of working out before going to bed; It leaves you in overdrive with nowhere to go. Screen Behind the Mirror is definitely miles away from the last Enigma album ( Le Roi Es Mort, Vive Le Roi ! )which was weak. Screen has more bass and driving percussion as well as a handful of"up-tempoed" songs or instrumentals. The reason why some may have found the tracks a bit busy with sound and samples is because if one listens to the tracks with vocals, the vocals are faint and sort of blended in with some type of electronic synth-vocalizer. Also, singer Andru Donalds' voice is somewhat similar to Michael Cretu's. The vocals are used mainly as part of the instrumentation( with exception of Gravity of Love and Silence...) and not at the foreground such as the two previous Enigma albums. Yes, there are samples and familiar sounds from the first two Enigma c.d.s but no Gregorian chanting (shucks). Also, for the listener who has heard Ruth Ann Boyle sing before with her group Olive, it is evident why Cretu chose her for some of the vocals; Her own group has that slight hip-hop or trip hop feel to it with an edge of ambience or techno. Ruth Ann's vocals have been compared to as a cross between Sophie B. Hawkins and Sade; throaty( not in the Stevie Nicks sense) yet soulful.
The #1 complaint is the absence of vocals by Louisa "This Is the Voice of Enigma" Stanley replaced by another woman with a less effective and passionate tone. Stanley's was very seductively soothing and convincing. The #2 complaint is not allowing or having Sandra Cretu do any lead vocals (actual singing--not whispering or breathing) on any one of the tracks as rumored earlier on from other entertainment media sources. Sandra's vocal abilities have made her a great sensation back in Europe. For anyone who has not purchased her import c.d.s, they should give her a try.
So, the question is, "Does Enigma/Cretu have a hit?"--ABSOLUTELY ! However, it remains to be seen if it lives up to or surpasses Enigma's debut from 1990 . Only the charts and masses will tell...
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on February 14, 2000
I loved the first Enigma cd, but the two follow-ups left me cold. The Screen Behind The Mirror is indeed an incredible return to form. From the moment the cd begins with that familiar "Voice of Enigma" music, it is enchanting. Ruth Ann from Olive is an exciting addition and provides the cd with two of its best songs, "Gravity of Love" and "Silence Must Be Heard." If you've never heard her from Olive's "Extra Virgin" album, get that one too. You'll be wanting to hear more of her. My other fave tracks (at the moment) are "Push the Limits" and the title track. Unlike some of the other reviews, I enjoy the fact that Cretu returns to some of his themes from the past albums. And although this cd is a bit shorter than the other three, it still packs an emotional wallop. Good job all around, Mr. Cretu.
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on January 23, 2000
Enigma 4 begins with a tribute to the most celebrated work of contemporary classical pop culture... O Fortuna from the opera Carl Orff: Carmina Burana. It's heard everywhere in films like Excalibur and The Doors, to the underground techno-rave band Apotheosis who was the first to "innaugurate" the dance culture remixing and sampling of the pop opera - so much so, in fact, that their techno remix of O Fortuna was incidentally pulled from dance compilation albums over copyright infringements. It seemed only natural that label-backed Enigma would inevitably do its take on it, having formulated its signature style on choral sampling and Gregorian chant layered over hip-hop break beats in three previous successful albums. "The Gate" opens with the familiar "Voice of Enigma" whose narrative has evolved from meditation and relaxation technics to scientific astrological computations about the solar system and prepare you for a transcendent cosmic journey and crossfades magnificently into a primal sample lifted from O Fortuna whose familiar chorus will strike a subconscious, primordial nerve and send a shudder down your spine. The Orf motif is reworked interestingly throughout several tracks thereafter, composing the memorable melody of "The Gravity of Love" and "Modern Crusaders," but the motif dissipates quickly, replaced by Enigma's insistent melodic joy and upbeat ambient splendor that clashes against the epic choral statements set precedent by the opening track. I found myself reaching for Enigma 2: The Cross of Changes and inserting it into my CD player to redeem the O Fortuna theme with a reprise of Enigma's best choral composition to date; The Eyes of Truth. What could have been Enigma's most interesting thematic album fizzles into lackluster sleepy time ambience for the insomnially challenged. The Screen Behind The Mirror as a whole comes across as something of an epilogue to their 3 previous albums. One only wonders how much longer the chemistry of choral break-beat mixing and ambient techno can sustain its cultural appeal before becoming as redundant and passe as the synth-generated, eighties-sounding electronic beats themselves.
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on January 20, 2000
I anticipated the release of this album for so long and was simply blown away by it's content! Better than the second or the third album this one stands right next to their first release "MCMXC a.D." In regards to the person who commented on Michael Cretu's singing he is mistaken! Cretu sings but only one line on one song during the entire cd! The male vocals are mostley done by Andru Donalds who has an increadible, versitile voice. The majority of the album is very instrumental with lots of spoken parts of female voices and two different females singing on three of the songs. I don't expect Enigma to bring back the Gregorian chants. That was already done. This album has something new to offer and despite it's downright immitaters and posers (and we know who they are!) no one, I repeat NO ONE can compare to or top Engima! In fact, anyone else whom from this point on thries to copy the sound of the previous works of this band will quickly sound outdated and cheesy as Enigma is way beyond that now. I most highley reccomend this masterpiece. It's packed with so much energy and intesity which words simply cannot explain. So buy this ... now! You won't be dissapionted unless you're crazy ;-)
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on January 18, 2000
It has been three and a half long years since "Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!" and "The Screen behind the Mirror" continued the journey right where the third one ended. The magic of Enigma flourishes with meditative sounds and soothing voices. Along with this main element, unexpected outbursts of opera and gregorian chant flow into the beats perfectly within these forty-four minutes. Even though these songs are both vocalized and instrumental, they all seem to find a fearless way of reaching the soul and revealing unknown emotions.
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on February 16, 2002
Damn, has it been over two years? I still remember the day this album came out. Some of the songs have the Carl Orff Carmena Burana being the chord structure and it works well as 'The Gravity Of Love' proves. Unforutnately there are very few Gregorian Chants that I enjoyed on past Enigma releases. Oh well. I still find this CD to be great. In fact, despite the lack of the Gregorian chants, I find Screen to be their best CD probably since MCMXC. The Cross Of Changes and Le Moir E Mort, Vive Le Roi were almost like daytime music. This CD is a return to their darker sound although it's no MXMXC. I love all of Enigmas CD.
The gate has that typical Enigma intro but with a very different tone. Where the first three albums had the intro focused on the same note this album uses that intro but with a totally different feel. The gate build up with the strong ambience at the minute mark with the tingling sound effects to give a very space oriented sound. It the 1:37 mark the Carmina Burana orchestra blasts in for about 22 seconds. After it stops the voice in the background counts down and when it counts down to one the next song begins. Push The Limits is a very intense song with thundering drums at the beginning abd evolving into a hook laden song with staccato strings. Halfway through the song it wuiets down with a female whisper say "Don't accept average habits, Don't submit to stupid rules, Open Your Heart and push the limits". I can relate well to that quote every now and then. The song culminates at the last minute and ends with it achoing away into the next song. Gravity Of Love was the main hit of this CD. This song is built mostly around the Carl Orff Carmena Burana sample. At the middle of the song are mournful horns that were heard in Knocking On Forbidden Doors from MCMXC. A beautiful song. Smell Of Desire is a very melancholy song that fans of Callas Went Away might enjoy. It's one of those jazzy but above average Enigma song. It's the only song that has Gregorian chants. This is a very nice song. The beat fades out with horns tieing this song into the Modern Crusaders. I,ve heard that many Enigma fans don't like this song too much so I had to defend this killer track. It's a great very edgy song that could have made a dent on the pop/rock charts. The song ends with the sound of church bells ringing in the distance tying this song into the next song Traces, Light and Weight. Traces is a very haunting song with the sound of a voice crying in the distance. It starts of with a match lighting sound effect with the church bells still ringing. Synthesizers drown away the bells. A crying voice comes with new church bells to go along with the melody. Traces is one of the creepiest songs Enigma has ever done. It could fit on a Delerium record. I enjoy the middle part with the thundering beats and the quivering synths. The song fizzles out during the last 40 seconds and a male voice comes in with the melody getting higher towards the ending. The next song the title track, contains the drum loop from Sadeness, but the drums sound lighter and less intense. This song borrows the vocals from the Gravity Of Love. This song is my favorite off this album. The drum loop retains the same rhythm but gets lighter with the beats sounding like those from Find Love, the middle part of that 11 minute and 43 second version three track in one song off the MCMXC LP. Endless Quest has very intense drums with the pan flutes we have come to admire from al of Enigmas albums. The heavy drums stop at the 2:49 mark with lighter but much faster drums playing before they stop with the sound of a breathing deeply before Camera Obscura comes blasting in. Camera Obscura is a very intense turbulent but short track that has a fast beat and the lyrics of Modern Crusaders sung backwards. The song echoes away into the Next song. The echoing minor notes of Camera Ibscura continue with a new drum loop for about 10 seconds before a mournful major note somes in. This song is a very sad melancholy song. Cretu sings well on this song. C,mon ppl, give Mr. Cretu a break. I love this song alot. I sometimes can't stand the woman whispering because this is oneof those songs I like with little voice. It's my second favorite song off this CD despite this. The song ends with a minor note and voices chanting in the distance. Silence Must be heard starts off with echoing sound effects. Then the song becomes sort of pop-oriented not much different from the Gravity of Love. The song fades out after the 4 minute mark and the breezy melody marges with the intro horn loop and ethnic cry that becomes the closing melody that vanishes out 40 seconds later bringing this masterpiece to a fantastic close.
I had very high expectation for this album, but Screen far surpassed even those to become in my opinion, Enigmas strongest outing since MXMXC. This album is more medievel in sound and much darker than either Cross Of Changes or Le Roi Est Mort. It's not quite as dark as MCMXC but stormier and richer. Screen might as well be their best album so far. All of Enigmas albumks are worth owning but this should be on the top of your Enigma list and don't listen to the poor reviews critics gave this album. And get the Greatest Hits CD as well. It's over 76 minutes long and some of the songs are very different from the parent album versions. Faboulous work Cretu. I,m looking forward to Enigma 5 later this year or sometime next year.
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on July 11, 2002
I think of all the four albums of original music that Enigma has put out, "The Screen Behind the Mirror" is by far the best album. It was pretty evident on the previous album that Enigma has stepped further away from the Gregorian chants which has now become all too popular in ambient/new age music. Here Michael Cretu furthers his experimentation with beats that are more trip hop and less new age. On "The Screen Behind the Mirror", Sandra Cretu chooses to limit her role as vocalist and for lead vocalist on the songs is Olive's Ruth-Ann who was in my book, the ideal vocalist. Her smooth, silky vocals were a right match with the electronic, ambient beats that Michael Cretu composed. On "The Screen Behind the Mirror", the music (well, most of it anyways) centers around a sample of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana (O Fortuna)" which I thought was just great, although nothing original. Obviously the stand out track on this album has to be "Gravity of Love" with the stunning vocals by Ruth-Ann and the bombastic notes of "Carmina Burana". I found it extremely soothing to listen to "Smell of Desire" with its haunting melodies. "Modern Crusaders" is one of the best examples on this album that uses the Carl Orff track with the bombastic yet grandeur melodies. "Traces (Light and Weight)" almost sounds like it was composed underwater with those bleeps that the listener hears throughout the song. As much as I love Enigma's first two albums, I do think their more recent albums are by far the best out of the four, and especially "The Screen Behind the Mirror". You can hear the constant evolving in Michael Cretu's work.
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