Most Successful Virgin-Act 1990/91

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 its 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"

Billboard

"Enigma is the new Pink Floyd"

Entertainment Weekly

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

Details

"Goodbye sadeness, hello good good good good vibrations"

Village Voice

"An entirely baffling success"

Time

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

Playboy

"Enigma is tripping the world of imagination"

Elle (Japan)

"Exciting exotic soundtraveller with a mysterious groove"

Anan (Japan)

Michael Cretu was born in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on May 18, 1957. His mother is Austrian and his father is Romanian. In 1975 Michael Cretu emigrated to Germany. He studied at the Frankfurt Music Academy, graduated in Theory of Composition obvtaining first-class honours and soon became one of the most renowned studio musicians (keyboards), arranges and producers. He started his solo career with the two albums Legionare and Invivible Man. The albums of his wife, Sandra, that Michael produced in his own studio, are internationally successful and made his sound known throughout the world. In 1990/91 his latest project Enigma - the realisation of long-entertained dream - was the most successful act on Virgin.

Michael Cretu and Enigma

"Enigma is not an artist and it's not a group, it's a project, an idea". Michael Cretu, for whom Enigma is the realisation of a childhood dream, did not want his project to be connected to visuals - his goal was to establish Enigma as a symbol for experimental and creative music. "The people will like it without knowing anything about it, without any information". This was the reason for using the pseudonym of Curly MC, and it was with this credit that Sadeness Part I first hit the radio stations in autumn 1990 (Curly is the English translation of Michael's Romanian family name Cretu, and MC are Michael's initials.) "I wanted the music to speak for itself" - and Michael was sure that the people would appreciate this kind of music without any background information on the person/people behind the project. "It is music for everybody. It's intellectual but it has a very simple naive feeling" - a feeling that at the time was world wide, probably one of the reasons - if not the decisive one - for its' world wide success. The new sound was well-received in the USA, in Greece, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, the UK, Japan, Australia and New Zealand - in countries with different cultures, tastes and traditions - and the album MCMXC a.D., as well as the Enigma singles, topped the charts in some countries for weeks. Success shows that Michael was right in trying to break every rule and to create music that had not yet been put on a sound-carrier. "I started working on this project when I wanted to create something that could not be bought in the shops" - and apparently he was not the only one to crave this idea.

The Story of Success

Released in 38 Countries

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Belgium
  5. Brazil
  6. Canda
  7. Chile
  8. Czechoslovakia
  9. Denmark
  10. Finland
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Greece
  14. Holland
  15. Hong Kong
  16. Indonesia
  17. Italy
  18. Ivory Coast
  19. Japan
  20. Korea
  21. Malaysia
  22. Mexico
  23. New Zealand
  24. Phillipines
  25. Portugal
  26. Saudia Arabia
  27. Singapore
  28. South Africa
  29. Spain
  30. Sweden
  31. Switzerland
  32. Taiwan
  33. Thailand
  34. Turkey
  35. UK
  36. USA
  37. Venezuela
  38. Yugoslavia

No. 1 in 24 Countries

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Brazil
  4. Canada
  5. France
  6. Germany
  7. Great Britain
  8. Greece
  9. Holland
  10. Hong Kong
  11. Ireland
  12. Italy
  13. Korea
  14. Malaysia
  15. Norway
  16. Portugal
  17. Singapore
  18. South Africa
  19. Spain
  20. Sweden
  21. Switzerland
  22. Thailand
  23. USA
  24. Venezuela

Additional Top 10 Chart Positions in 19 Countries

  1. Austria
  2. Argentina
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Denmark
  6. Finland
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Great Britain
  10. Holland
  11. Italy
  12. New Zealand
  13. Norway
  14. Portugal
  15. Sweden
  16. Switzerland
  17. Taiwan
  18. Thailand
  19. USA

Gold in 25 Countries

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia (2x)
  3. Belgium (2x)
  4. Brazil
  5. Canada
  6. France (2x)
  7. Germany (2x)
  8. Great Britain (2x)
  9. Holland (2x)
  10. Ireland
  11. Italy
  12. Japan
  13. Korea
  14. Malaysia (2x)
  15. Mexico
  16. New Zealand (2x)
  17. Portugal
  18. Singapore
  19. South Africa
  20. Spain
  21. Sweden (2x)
  22. Switzerland
  23. Taiwan
  24. Turkey
  25. USA

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

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