The Cross of Changes Notes (Gavin Stok)

[The CROSS of Changes Cover]

by Gavin Stok December 1993

These were my initial thoughts/criticisms/interpretations/etc. of the album which I wrote to Joar Grimstvedt in late December, 1993.

Second Chapter

  • True it does have the same ending bars ('phrase' isn't a good word to use!) as on MCMXC a.D., but with the bass drone as well.
  • I will actually listen to this track on the album, unlike track 1 on MCMXC a.D. which I usually skip.
  • The track brings about a great atmosphere and thus a good start/feel to the album.
  • I thought of the track as being the closing of the first chapter, with the second chapter taking over (climax of first chapter to silent ambience.... then things get louder for start of 2nd chapter with vocals coming in). Then it seems the whole underlying theme of the album is introduced with the Out from the Deep lyrics..... Before we know it, the Eyes of Truth are watching over us (link to next track!).

The Eyes of Truth

  • I like this track. It is very 'layered', with there being many things you only pick up on if you listen really carefully or have earphones on. Examples include the constant talking in the background from the middle of the track, and further occurrences of the U2 sample after the climax.
  • Samples were taken from many MCMXC a.D. tracks, such as Sadness, Rivers of Belief, Principles of Lust, and more!
  • I wonder if there may be legal wrangles since Cretu didn't list U2's sample. Island (U2's music label) are known to sue anyone and everyone who infringes copyrights or whatever.
  • I love the peak part of the track, where the choir really gets in to it. I think this singing is from Songs from a Victorious City.
  • I tried to work out where the vocals spoken in the background were from. It seems that it is either from an aircraft carrier or news broadcast. I'm not sure though because I couldn't really interpret anything said.

Return to Innocence

  • Hmmm... well this is probably my LEAST liked track on the album (mind you, no tracks are being skipped yet!). It is the most simplistic track and has a very European sound to it (no offense!). It has 'single release' written all over it, which of course has come true since they did a music video for it.
  • Has a cool chant.... nice sounding and uplifting.
  • Also has decent enough lyrics (unlike other tracks!)
  • The beat is very simplistic as is the instrumentation. If released as a single, it seems as if it will further the myth that Enigma is nothing more than adding a simple beat and instrumentation to 'stolen' samples. Pity.
  • I can't stand that distorted instrument which doesn't ever seem to stay on the same note! (Kicks in at around 2:40)

I Love You...I'll Kill You

  • OK, I think this is one of my favourite tracks. Complex, unique, original.
  • Great beat, almost comparable to Vangelis' good choice of beat on Ninta, Pinta, Santa Maria from 1492.
  • Because of the beat it allows for a great sense of atmosphere. I can really imagine the beat on a surround sound system with it encircling me. (try imagining it....!)
  • I love the first distorted sample... which sounds like a guitar (kicks in at around 3:00). It was a good choice of instrument in keeping with the ambience.
  • The main line sung put me off a bit because of the voice. Someone with a much smoother voice was needed. Like Julee Cruise perhaps.... Sandra (or whoevers) voice just seemed too rough and sultry.
  • I thought that perhaps the ambient part was to reflect the "I Love you" and the heavy part to reflect the "I'll Kill You".... It just seemed to reflect this from the raw energy from each part.... Loneliness does not have to be of one's self... it could be a wishing to be with someone for example... thus "Loneliness. I feel loneliness in my room.".
  • I get some high frequencies happening just before the heavy part and just after. The sounds are comparable to what I hear on Procession by Vangelis on his City album (1990). They don't seem like they should be there (track references 4:20 and 6:40)
  • I love the harmonica sample.... nice touch.
  • I love the electric guitar part too (in heavy section).... it was a great solo.
  • Oh look, some deep breathing!!!! About time! :) [hardly heard as against MCMXC a.D. though]
  • The voice near the end seemed to say to me "You'll be fine".
  • Stab in the dark: The title seems to reflect euphenasia (sp?) but doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the album's theme. [Although this song was written by someone else!]

Silent Warrior

  • I didn't find your digital glitch! This was even when using my expensive headphones.
  • Oh look, some monks singing!!!! About time! :) [hardly heard as against MCMXC a.D. once again though]
  • I like the chorus with its nice military sounding beat and all. Did you note that the second chorus is 'clearer' than the first?

  • Cretu sings quite nicely with his emotional voice on this one.
  • Part of the beat in the intro seems to come from a Jarre sample from Oxygene! (the little click bit in the beat... although on this it is shorter in length than Jarre's).

The Dream of the Dolphin

  • Well it's better than The Voice & The Snake on MCMXC a.D. at least (which is, btw, a track I skip all the time!)
  • I don't like the higher pitched instrument (no not the piano!) which is used while the piano plays.

Age of Loneliness (Carly's Song)

  • I've heard this before!!! :) Now I know what you meant by that 'reed' sample you referred to in another post. I liked it's use in the track.
  • Most of the bits using the reed are extra to what's on the CD single (I guess you could say the CD single is a less-layered version with a different, more bassier beat).
  • There is also an extra bit from around 2:15 -> 3:00 which is not on the single. All those MCMXC a.D. samples come out to play.
  • I'm not quite used to the track without so much bass.

Out From The Deep

  • To me, this is the title track and carries the title theme.... Maybe Cretu didn't like the name for the album though!
  • I love the voice sample which seems to fade from one speaker to the centre, twist around, and then fade to the other speaker. I can imagine this sample in surround doing just this.
  • Yep, this one has 'single release' written all over it. Except it in a store near you some time! I think it will go well too.....
  • It is a nice song, but once again is not uniquely Enigma..... I'm not complaining though.
  • You may pick up on some quiet voices/beeps here and there.
  • You may also find that the electric guitar starts earlier than the solo, which is one reason why the solo seems to 'emerge' from the music (Check it out!)

The CROSS of Changes

  • I seem to get some deliberate distortion/crackling/rumbling from the bass drone.... wonder if it was supposed to be deliberate (no it's not the speakers!)
  • The use of the children singing was a very nice touch.
  • Yet another nice piano piece from Cretu.

Overall

  • Well an AWESOME album once again. It was weird. My first listen made me think the album was good, but not great. But the second listen blew me away. Then the third listen was like the first! Since then most listenings have been just as good as the second (well not quite).
  • The album is deeper, heavier, but definitely better (I haven't listened to MCMXC a.D. for days now!). There is no track I don't like yet, and most tracks seem fine to me. Cretu does it again!
  • The sound quality on this is definitely much better than on MCMXC a.D. (I am referring to the recording). You can tell this by listening to the very start and end of the CD... little hiss compared to MCMXC a.D. While I don't think it may be DDD, it is definitely ADD or better.
  • The Euphonix bit MAY refer to the system used to record the album. For example there are sound systems such as Q-Sound and another one used on Frank Sinatra's new album, which primarily determine the 'sound' and 'feel' of the album (ie - they're really engineering/mastering tools).
  • The album is mythical as always, with its ancient pictures and ideas.
  • Unlike MCMXC a.D., this album has distinctive tracks which are different from others. For example, on this album track 3 and 8 have 'single' written on them, whereas this was not the case for the tracks on MCMXC a.D.
  • As said before, the album is more 'layered' with many things only picked up by headphones or after many listens.
  • I like the art and layout of the actual CD surface.

  • Look at the Cross of Changes review

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