Enigma started out as, indeed, a riddle wrapped in a mystery. Their first album, 1990's MCMXC A.D., had little by way of credits, causing many to wonder just who these Gregorian-chanting chill-mongers were. Enigma turned out to be songwriter/producer/keyboardist Michael Cretu, vocalist Sandra Cretu, and additional guests, and their forte was tribalistic dance music based on samples and laid-back beats, and infused with a sensual spirituality that appealed to both ravers and mainstream audiences. After the huge success of the first record, Cretu did some soundtrack work and released a few more albums and remix collections, but never duplicated the prodigious sales or popularity of MCMXC A.D.
A greatest-hits package sampling four Enigma discs released between 1990 and 2000, LSD splendidly documents the influential output of Michael Cretu, a techno-bohemian who successfully creates cinematic, otherworldly New Age-like musical suites. Now, more than a decade removed from the arrival of Sadeness (Part 1) and its eyebrow-raising mix of sacred and sensual subplots, people can debate whether Cretu''s music represents savvy commercial calculation or satisfying art. LSD suggests a split decision, though tracks with intriguing blends of atmosphere and rhythm, such as "Gravity of Love," "T.N.T. for the Brain" and "Morphing Thru Time," reveal an inventiveness that demonstrates Cretu is capable of more than sophisticated novelty tunes. Two new songs, neither especially noteworthy, open this package. Meanwhile, remastered older tracks segue beautifully to exude a satisfying, seamless unity. Big bonus: run time exceeds 76 minutes. --Terry Wood
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