The year is MCMXC A.D...
1990, a year that launched the greatest decade of music in history. From that point on, the music only got better. Radiohead burst onto the scene with the inspiring OK Computer, Daft Punk created one of the most influential club songs in the world and many more artists (yes, we could actually refer to them as true artists) became a solid landmark in the industry. One of these acts was Enigma, a New Age band/solo composer that shook up the likes of chant music and electronica. The combination was genius, although some might complain about it being ahead-of-its-time and uninteresting. MCMXC A.D. added the same amount of Gregorian chant in with high risks, expecting positive feedback. And it did. The album alone had sold over 16 million copies worldwide, and became one of the few only debuts to keep on the charts 282 weeks in a row. So what was so special about this colossus of an album?
The fusion of different genres here is spectacular. All from electronica, to rock and ambient. The first track, Principles of Lust
, includes a combination of 2 songs, one being the legendary (and official "monk" theme) Sadeness
and the other a temporary split, or interval, of the song. It does drag very close to the 12-minute mark, but you never lose your interest in this magnificant piece. The techno beat accompanying a chilling chant orchestra will more than likely give you goosebumps. Mea Culpa
is a very similiar track, following the same rhythm pattern. The chanting is back, slightly more diverse than the first, and a much more "antique" feel, as if made in the back of a crazy hippies van during the 70's. Safe to say, all the songs follow a similiar pattern. Callas Went Away
is a drafty 4-minute mix of piano, flute and ambience. You can't help but notice the similarities in tone to one of the Spice Girls' hits.
If you own a copy of the original, the album has only managed to spawn 7 tracks, passing little over 40-minutes. Lengthwise, some songs seem almost a minute too long, and tiresome at points. A literal sleeper hit. The production work is incredible, but lacks variation, especially in tracks like Knocking on Forbidden Doors
. The message conveyed in some songs are sexually explicit, and based on religion and belief. This caused some contreversy in the community, with Curly (the bands female MC) muttering orgasmic sounds through the album. However, it doesn't affect the actual quality of the music at all.
MCMXC a.D. is one of the most original and contreversial albums to grace the planet. The religious influences, fusion of musical genres, sexual references and awe-inspiring Gregorian chant has helped Enigma make a name for itself. The project was purposely meant to arrouse the public and spread peace and sanity. Each song is relaxing and mind-bending, like a perfect jigsaw puzzle without the effort. You can truly appreciate it as a form of art, and even if it further proved "Make Love, Not War" to be more than just a hippie's saying, it created the feeling. MCMXC a.D. is one of a kind.
The Rivers of Belief
Callas Went Away