Virgin Italy Press Release

Virgin Italy 1991

The Mastermind

Michael Cretu was born May 18, 1957 in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. His mother is Austrian, his father Romanian. In 1975 he moved to Germany where he studied at the Hochschule für Musik (College of Music) in Frankfurt. He completed his degree with the highest grade possible in composition. He became a successful studio musician (keyboards), arranger and producer. Among his past projects are Moti Special and Cretu & Thiers. His solo work consists of the LPs Legionärè (Legionnaires) and Die Chinesische Mauer (Invisible Man). In the meantime, his 'sound' has become recognized by millions due to the world-wide success his wife Sandra in enjoying with her records which were produced by Michael in his private studio. His current project, Enigma, is the realization of a long-time dream, music the captures, provokes and reaches new sound dimensions.

The Project

The reason for calling the project Enigma into life, is the desire to make music that I have long heard in my head. Till now, I've had neither the time nor the opportunity to make my plans reality. Enigma has given me the possibility to experiment in the studio without paying any regard to musical conventions whatsoever. Additionally, with Enigma I wanted to create music that I cannot buy anywhere. I found a particular challenge in creating a concept album combining the apparently conflicting elements of style of Gregorian chants, black dance rhythms, French spoken-word and the keyboard sounds of Art of Noise and Vangelis. The music of Enigma was to produce a relaxed atmosphere, not like typical synthesizer music, however, but rather on the basis of black rhythms that practically form the backbone of contemporary music. The overall album is founded on this basic idea.

The Enigma

I view Enigma as program-music, as a reminiscence on the 1970's. The themes of the album are the unexplained occurrences of the past centuries. Thus, the name Enigma. Its root is Greek and means mysterious, obscure. But, I did not want to discuss simple secrets of the first order. I was interested in the less clear-cut, more complicated personalities like Jack the Ripper, or even Marquis de Sade, to whom Sadeness Part I pertains. The title should be viewed in both its meanings. On the one hand, 'Sade' as in the Marquis' name, and on the other, 'sad' in the sense of his unhappy existence. After all, he spent fifty years of his life in prison. I enjoy multiple meanings because they give the listener enough room for his own interpretations. It is also an opportunity to intensively concentrate on such discordant personalities without immediately stamping them as crackpots or perverts.

Church and Sexuality

When thinking of unsolved cases, you don't need long to come to the Catholic Church, 'the world's oldest corporation'. Actually, it is rather mysterious club and very paradoxical. You could make five double albums about these gentlemen. We arrived at the Gregorian chants through this connection to Christianity. Connecting the chorales to the Marquis de Sade should ultimately also show one of the endless discussions - the plaguing discrepancy between the church and sexuality. Sexuality plays a large role in the life of human beings. This fact is often played down, or ignored. Unjustly, I believe. Humans possess two undeniable drives: the survival instinct and instinct to reproduce. We will never succeed in doing away these motors. Looking at world history, you must come to the conclusion that this barricade toward sexuality is based on the teaching of Christianity. Over the millennia, this has led to some ludicrous occurrences. It it simply irresponsible for the Pope to travel throughou t the Third World and forbid the use of contraceptives. It really comes close to unintentional mass murder when infants are born to starve in the streets, or children are forced into prostitution. With its unrealistic ideology, the church succeeds in creating the exact opposite of what it wish to archive, like preservation of life. I, by no means, feel that the Pope is not a man of good will, but, he is treading the wrong path, something that I find most unfortunate because I feel that belief and religion are good things. I deal with sexuality on the album in a subdued fashion, basically only in the trilogy Principles of Lust. My desire was merely to set thought processes concerning the Church and sexuality in motion. I neither ask questions nor do I offer answers in what I do.

The Album

With Enigma, I have fulfilled a dream of my youth. I view the album basically as instrumental. But, instrumental music is usually very cold and for that reason I have integrated the human voice. Inserting Gregorian chorales should not be understood as being used merely for means of effect but rather as an organic part of the whole piece of music. I used the religious chants practically as a musical instrument to amplify and complete the moods on the record. Where other words appear on the recording, they are spoken, not sung. I integrated the vocal parts to create a certain atmosphere. The album gives the impression of a soundtrack, to a certain extent, without really being one and although the music is very much synthesizer-oriented I made every effort to keep it from sounding cold. I wanted the music to have a human and warm effect while simultaneously giving the sense of levitating.

The Disclosure

The reason why I initially kept my name far in the background was that I did not wish to promote the single Sadeness Part I in the usual manner. I expressed my unconventional wish on the record company to sample this single on radio DJs only to find out what would happen. Mine is not a world of TV studios, promo tours and press interviews but rather one of working in the studio. Apart from that I used the pseudonym Enigma so that people would not start speculating. I wanted the audience to decide whether it liked the music or not. Most important is that the music speaks for itself, without any hidden meaning.

The Future

Within the framework of Enigma, I am trying to do everything musically possible. Enigma is, to me, a free field without stylistic borders. In future Enigma projects, I will probably concentrate more on the problems of the Third World. The basic principal will remain to avoid tying the music either to a language or an artist. They will be complexes based upon one certain idea. It is very possible that someone will sing in Indian or Bulgarian if it fits into the concept and above all when in conveys feelings. However, nothing I do will be based on the need for success and there will be no repetitions. The basic requirement is that I find the right theme with a sound basis in credibility.

Document provided by (the) Max.
Original from Virgin Italy. Reproduced without permission for private and research purposes only.