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LABEL: Virgin Records RELEASE DATE: September 26, 2006 GENRE: Ambient
// review by Jeff

Prepare your space suit; it's going to be a pleasant ride.

This is not an album that can be carefully dissected, song by song, ping by ping, and then analyzed to see what's good and what's bad. That's not how "A Posteriori" was designed. Instead, it can only be seen as a whole, for in its entirety is where the absolute beauty lies. This particular group of songs must be heard collectively in order to be appreciated. Starting to listen in the middle or near the end will not do the experience justice -- start at the beginning, don't run away until the end, lest you wish to miss any part of what has been deemed a "space symphony" by the one and only Michael Cretu.

I can't seem to write this review in my standard track-by-track analytical fashion; instead, I can only ask myself, "What is this album trying to tell me? What is the metamessage hidden within?" Immediately I am struck with a bout of familiarity as the classic horn of Enigma, which has sounded five times since the arrival of the Enigma project, beckons yet again at the commencement of the journey. The wailing soft pads of Eppur Si Muove lift me off my feet and so I begin to see the big pictures. And every beat resounds with me as another step upward, past the mellow heavens, towards the sweet beyond. It is not an album, no! It is a musical description of the ethereal!

Voices cry out -- some real, some imaginary, but all with messages for me. Yet no voice strikes me as rigorously as that of the creator: Enigma himself, Michael Cretu in the flesh! He only sings in three songs, but his distinguished humble vocals need not be overexposed, for his effect would be ultimately ruined with it... Synthetic operatics assist in the tour of space, but do not compare with the cries of the simple man as he serenades the Earth in Sitting On The Moon or everyone surrounding him in Goodbye Milky Way, where the galaxy collectively responds with the moans of a metaphoric dolphin (a possible reference to the Enigma song "The Dream Of The Dolphin" from 1993). Yet even voices are not always a necessity, as the instrumental melodies themselves are enough to captivate even the blindest of hearts.

Repetition does play a bold role here, but just as a poet may mark his papers with lexical repetitions, so to does Enigma use this technique to engrain in your mind all the positive interplays of the music. There is nothing wrong with repetition, for it aids the memory! Admittedly, some journeys on this record are longer than probably necessary, but one should enjoy themselves as much as possible, which is what is attempted here.

Indeed, this is a space symphony that takes us across a variety of soundscapes. From the racing beats of Feel Me Heaven to the more fiery surfaces of Dancing With Mephisto, from the almost submarine sensations of 20.000 Miles Over The Sea to the tear-inducing galactic epitaph of Goodbye Milky Way, to even the strange rock opera that is The Alchemist, one can sense that they are entering new territory with each new song, and this must be appreciated, as I said before, in its entirety, or else the journey is broken. It was the original intent of Enigma to have each song slide into the next like a river's waters that intertwine as they flow. Accept the path that you are sent upon, or choose never to travel at all.

I realize that this review may seem a bit cryptic, but to analyze each song individually as I usually do would not make much sense here. All I'm doing is looking at the album as one long song (with many different elements, no less!). This is an album that I have failed to tire of, and is quite the departure from the pop-oriented 2003 album, Voyageur. In fact, if you listen to this album, you may notice that while all the songs are very nice, none quite meet the standards of a single release. I can only imagine that this album was not designed for commercial purposes; instead, it is simply the love of creation and the joy of music that has driven this magnificent spectacle of an album. Interestingly enough, this was the first Enigma album made on his new portable studio (called "The Alchemist", oddly enough, as this is the title of the eleventh track as well). Traveling music is good music. Many had doubted the Enigma project after the previous album; A Posteriori relieved them of these doubts. This is an album that represents the original idea of Enigma -- mysterious yet energetic. It's definitely worth the purchase.


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