13 December 2007

"return to innocence" || enigma || 1993

Enigma was a revolutionary musical act when it arrived in underground clubs in 1990. The whole project is driven by French producer Michael Cretu, who came up with the idea of placing Gregorian monk chants over downtempo, ambient, tribal house music. As pretentious as that idea sounds, the result is quite fascinating.

Enigma represents, to me, the whole point of electronic music. There are 10,000 producers, deejays, etc. out there in the electronic realm who, quite simply, suck. They think they're original for making one cool loop and then distorting it beyond all recognition, putting some (usually unintelligible) vocals over it, and then getting it pressed onto wax.

To these icemen and icewomen, I say: EPIC FAIL.

I also tell them to go buy an Enigma CD.

Thank you, Michael Cretu, for actually using electronic equipment to make musical art. Thankfully, Enigma is anything but unrecognized by electronic music fans; most fans of modern trance & house music will likely have Enigma in their collections somewhere.

I chose this track today because it's always been a personal favorite. Sure, it was one of their biggest "successes" (I use quotes because it wasn't heard outside clubs or Pure Moods compilations), but I think it was so successful because it was one of their best tracks.

This track is about nature's cruelest impossibility: The inability to go back to one's youth. When you finally figure out one day that you'll never be young again, it's not an easy thing to cope with. It seems as though Enigma has written this track as a way to tell everyone, "Don't worry, it's going to be okay; getting old doesn't mean anything bad."

Stopping the wheels of time is life's inattainable golden ring. The music video for this song demonstrates that very concept; we see what life would look like if time did indeed run backwards. It's one of the most visually intriguing music videos I've ever seen, and I'm very pleased to share it here today.

Listen to (and see) it here.