Enigma The Screen Behind the Mirror (Virgin)

National Records

Record Reviews

Enigma

The Screen Behind the Mirror (Virgin)

Whether or not you'll wet yourself over this third full-length CD from German-Romanian über-producer Michael Cretu, aka Enigma, has a lot to do with how well you handled the first two outings. Cretu, a classically trained composer who chucked it all in the early Eighties for love of pop music, hit pay dirt in 1990 with the release of Sadeness Part 1, his first outing under the enigmatic moniker. That track, mixing Gregorian chants with lush electronic production, became an international smash, and Cretu dropped everything else in favor of focusing on his newfound style. A decade later, Cretu's gaze hasn't wandered one iota, and The Screen Behind the Mirror might as well be called Sadeness Part 10. There's something strangely compelling, though, about an artist so willing to forsake pop trends (in an era where increasingly it seems that's all there is) in favor of returning -- again and again -- to the fields of yore. Of course, you could also argue that the guy's a one-trick monk with little else up his sleeve besides chorale chants backed by trip-hoppy beats and the occasional random yowl from wife Sandra. When a CD such as this opens to the strains of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," though, you realize you're either in the hands of a giddy electropop papmeister or John Boorman. Boorman is nowhere to be found here, but Cretu mines "O Fortuna!" for all it's worth, slathering the Excalibrated aria over multiple tracks as though they were the grand Teutons. A kitschy pop Valentine's Day gift to Leni Riefenstahl, or something less? Now that's what I call an enigma.

**

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