Enigma 3 (Biography)

Virgin Germany 1996

"There are infinite numbers of possibilities. However, the art is to create a whole out of the countless details, fragments, and ideas. ENIGMA is becoming a kind of United Colors of Music"

Michael Cretu

Things are changing
But nothing changes
And still there are changes
Le roi est mort, vive le roi!

With the release of LE ROI EST MORT, VIVE LE ROI!, the groundbreaking musical project known as ENIGMA now becomes a trilogy. While possessing a distinctive identity all its own, ENIGMA 3 echoes many of the stylistic touchstones and atmospherics of the two previous albums from 39-year-old Michael Cretu, the creative force behind ENIGMA's global success.

The multi-platinum debut ENIGMA 1 took its form from Gregorian chants, flutes, and deeply sensual grooves. The smashing follow-up, ENIGMA 2, revealed a broad pan-cultural tapestry filled with rock flourishes. ENIGMA 3 combines and reinterprets these elements, providing an evolutionary synthesis of previous ENIGMA works.

On a thematic level, the new ENIGMA 3 explores an even more complex and provocative milieu than its preceding chapters. At its core, ENIGMA 1, MCMXC a.D. examined the dialogue between sexuality and religion; ENIGMA 2, The Cross Of Changes elevated its line of inquiry to metaphysical heights. ENIGMA 3, LE ROI EST MORT, VIVE LE ROI!, ascends to the existential realm: as Cretu notes, "the central question of our being is not to be or not to be, but WHY?".

There's no teacher
Who can teach anything new
He can just help us to remember
The things we always knew

Released in December 1990, ENIGMA 1 immediately captivated fans and critics worldwide with its innovative sound collage. The breakthrough single Sadeness Part 1 topped the charts in 23 countries, while MCMXC a.D. hit #1 in 41 countries and garnered 57 platinum awards - including triple platinum certification in America, where it has reigned the Billboard Top 200 album chart for over five years.

ENIGMA 2 continued the worldwide success of ist predecessor. Since its release in December, 1993, The Cross Of Changes has notched 21 platinum and 24 gold awards worldwide, with double-platinum sales in the US. The single Return To Innocence hit #1 in eight countries, went top 10 on five different continents, and became a top 5 smash in America.

The massive global success of ENIGMA 1 and ENIGMA 2 has transcended all boundaries, demographics, and genres: thus far, Enigma is responsible for album sales in excess of five million units in America, 20 million units worldwide, and an additional eight million singles sales.

ENIGMA 3 now joins the ranks of ist distinguished predecessors, spurred by the debut single Beyond The Invisible (accompanied by director Julien Temple's evocative video clip), LE ROI EST MORT, VIVE LE ROI! has already been preordered to the tune of four million units.

Love is a crazy game
It is real and pure
T.N.T. for the brain

Everything is possible
Beyond The Invisible

Capturing the essence of ENIGMA is no easy task, as Cretu readily admits: "No words can explain music. Music explains itself". Preferring to view an album in its entirety, Cretu regards each song as a "chapter in a book, and therefore only an excerpt from the whole work". In ENIGMA's music, verbal sounds become instruments, synthesized tones become voices, and distinct rhythmic grooves intertwine into an organic, utterly new whole. Espousing the ideal of "Letting go and being free", Cretu's greatest satisfaction is in making the intentional act of creation seem like mercurial chance. In so doing, the sonic mosaic of ENIGMA 3 is designed not only to be heard, but "To be sensed, to be felt".

Most of the energy we spend
Is like a footprint of moving sands

All our life we'll wait for THE answer
And the question is WHY?

"I don't worry about marketing strategies and trends", Cretu confesses. During a lifetime of music making, he has been responsible for setting trends rather than following them.

Born 39 years ago in the Romanian capitol of Bucharest, Michael Cretu began studying music as a child. He completed his studies in 1979, graduating with honors from the Musikhochschule Academy in Frankfurt, Germany. As a musician, composer, arranger, and producer, he has worked with a variety of artists (including Sandra, Moti Special and Hubert Kah) who have collectively sold almost 100 million recordings. Currently living and working in Spain, Cretu continues to explore intriguing new avenues in modern music.

Try to live your lost illusions
They are the spice of life

Here's a sampling of what the critics have said about ENIGMA

"Mood music, dance music, trip music, whatever you want to call it ... Enigma is an international phenomenon"

The New York Times

"Enigma explores dance music's mental as well as physical possibilities"

Entertainment Weekly

"Enigma is liked by everyone from kids buying Smashing Pumpkins to 70-year-old fathers buying The Three Tenors"


"Enigma is the new Pink Floyd"

Entertainment Weekly

"Pancultural easy-listening music, reaching an epiphany on the dance floor"


"Goodbye sadeness, hello good good good good vibrations"

Village Voice

"An entirely baffling success"


"Potential world-hits alternate with daring sounds... consistently"


"Enigma is tripping the world of imagination"

Elle (Japan)

"Exciting exotic soundtraveller with a mysterious groove"

Anan (Japan)

Original document courtesy of Virgin Germany. Reproduced without permission for private and research purposes only.

Read the German version (has more information)