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The Screen Behind the Mirror
emd / virgin
our score: 5.0 out of 5.0
I fell in
love with a song unlike any I had ever heard on mainstream pop
radio back in 1993. Like most of the free world, the song corrupted
my mind for months with its blend of ethereal instrumentation,
inspirational lyrics and the most infectious use of a Native American
chant I had ever heard. That song was Enigma's "Return To Innocence."
the accompanying album, The Cross of Changes, and listening
to the rest of the new-age tinged songs, however, I scratched
my head in ignorant incomprehension and put the album away to
collect dust until earlier this year. After becoming addicted
to the exotic vocals and some of the most beautiful production
my ears had ever heard, I began to treasure the album, and the
band, that I once had absentmindedly neglected.
With a new
album that is being hailed as "the first must-get album of the
millenium," Enigma is back with The Screen Behind the Mirror.
Much to my delight, Screen instantly reminds of The
Cross of Changes, with more modern instrumentation and a new
female vocalist-from-the-gods in former Olive frontwoman, Ruth-Ann.
Like its 1993
predecessor, The Screen Behind the Mirror blends intelligent,
inspirational lyrics atop brilliant electronic instrumentation,
an amazing use of samples and even a smattering of the often-used
speaking voices of Elisabeth Houghton and Sandra Cretu.
stand out track is the lead single, "Gravity of Love," a beautiful
electronic ballad featuring the haunting vocals of Ruth-Ann at
its forefront. Other single-worthy tracks include the electronic-rockesque
"Modern Crusaders," with vocals by Andru Donalds and a driving
electronic backdrop including choral chants not unlike those used
in the recent Star Wars Episode 1 score.
on The Screen Behind the Mirror have the surreal and ethereal
new agedness of previous Enigma productions. "Traces (Light and
Weight) lacks vocals of any kind but still manages to captivate
and calm with its water drop effects and synthesizer bell line.
More Native American chants are utilized to full effect on the
beautiful title track. And the Star Wars Episode 1 choral
chants are used again in "Between Mind and Heart," a track sure
to please fans of Moby's latest album.
If there are
any downfalls to Enigma's latest offering, they are few and far
between. The album does sound almost frighteningly similar to
earlier efforts. While Michael Cretu's production has many modern
sounds to it, it never sounds drastically different from what
he was able to produce in 1993. Along with this, the album, while
brilliant, is sure to find a disgustingly limited audience due
to its avant-garde approach and lack of "radio-friendly" singles,
especially in a day when teen boy bands and cute, no-talent girl
singers smother the airwaves and minds of consumers. Finally,
it is a shame that Olive frontwoman Ruth-Ann is used so sparingly,
with leads on two songs and partial vocals on another.
these quibbles matter little. The Screen Behind the Mirror
is an amazingly elegant album that should be heard at least once
by every person who considers themselves a lover of music. Go
buy it now.
liked The Screen Behind the Mirror...
2. Push The Limits
3. Gravity of Love
4. Smell of Desire
5. Modern Crusaders
6. Traces (Light and Weight)
7. The Screen Behind the Mirror
8. Endless Quest
9. Camera Obscura
10. Between Mind & Heart
11. Silence Must Be Heard