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.
Enigma, aka Michael Crétu, turns out more light electronic ambience on Voyageur, mixing in an occasional twist but sticking pretty close to his successful, easily digested formula. Since Enigma’s massively popular debut MDMXC A.D., Crétu has moved toward a more New Age/adult contemporary sound, culminating with 2000’s bland The Screen Behind The Mirror. As with that record, Voyageur’s weakest moments happen when Crétu puts his mediocre vocals front and center on tracks like "Total Eclipse of the Moon." Better are more beat-oriented songs like "Boum-Boum" that concentrate on seedier, sexier material and stay away from Crétu’s sappier instincts. While overall, Voyageur counts as an improvement over Mirror, Enigma still hasn’t found a replacement for the Gregorian chants and whispery techno that made MDMXC A.D. such a groovy sensation. --Matthew Cooke
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