Enigma is an electronic musical project founded in Germany by Michael Cretu, David Fairstein and Frank Peterson in 1990. The Romanian-born Cretu conceived the Enigma project while working in Germany, but has based his recording studio A.R.T. Studios in Ibiza, Spain, since the early 1990s until May 2009, where he has recorded all of Enigma's studio releases to date. Cretu is both the composer and the producer of the project. His former wife, pop singer Sandra, often provided vocals on Enigma tracks. Jens Gad co-arranged and played guitar on three of the Enigma albums. Peter Cornelius also contributed to Enigma during the 1990s.
Enigma's first two studio albums also led to the creation and popularity of bands and musical groups that follow similar styles, often called "Enigmatic Music". The first album was named as one of the most important and influential album of mainstream New Age music. The album not only popularized the "Enigmatic" music style but also introduced some technical changes in music production. With MCMXC a.D., Michael Cretu developed the technical features and intentions of sampling. Though samples were in use long before (introduced by such musicians as Jean-Michel Jarre, Klaus Schulze and others), Cretu built his own music around whole sequences of previously recorded parts. His method was not remixing and remodelling, but rather recontextualisation – by changing a piece of music’s natural environment. A new method of composing and album creating process, which was mainly adopted by Hip-Hop artists as well as electronic music producers. It was one of the first albums to be recorded directly to hard drive. “MCMXC a.D.” was one of the first steps in a series of developments which would eradicate the division between mainstream and underground culture.
Era and Gregorian (led by former Enigma member Frank Peterson) are among some notable groups which capitalised songs which heavily incorporate Gregorian chants in their works. Enigma and Deep Forest are also to be considered by many to have brought the tribal chant genre to the ears of the public. Achillea, a musical project by arranger and guitarist on several Enigma albums, Jens Gad, features music with similar atmospherics, while featuring female vocals in different languages, with different singers from different parts of the world. Enigma also influenced Christopher von Deylen's musical project Schiller. The influence can be heard in any album by the band. Cretu's musical project is also included into the list of influences of Schiller.
Critics and fans have noted down the probable influences if not similarities of Enigma and the works of other notable musicians. Some examples include PR MRS Delerium's Semantic Spaces album, Mike Oldfield's albums, The Songs of Distant Earth and Tubular Bells III, all B-Tribe's albums as well as other Claus Zundel projects and Sarah Brightman's cover of Hooverphonic's song, "Eden".
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