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LABEL: Virgin Records RELEASE DATE: September 2003 GENRE: Pop, Ambient, New Age
// review by SoyBomb

Not to be confused with "Voyeur".

Wow, it's been a LONG time since I reviewed the 2003 Enigma album "Voyageur. I think I actually wrote the review over 14 years ago. I was just a wild-child starry eyed youth with inexperienced review-writing skills. (I haven't read the old review very closely; hopefully it has withstood the rest of time.) Voyageur was a very interesting album, a sharp left turn for producer Michael Cretu, pushing strongly into pop territory after living ten years in the shadows of Gregorian chants and multicultural influences. Several singles spawned from that album, none of which lit up the charts, but I still think it's a very underappreciated album. One of those single is the title track, "Voyageur"; let's see how it holds up.

The single starts with the Radio Edit, which immediately presents a stark contrast to everything Enigma has ever done. With a bleak combination of guitar and a thick bubbling bassline as the beats roll in, this one's definitely different, painting an energetically sad picture. A blend of chopped Cretu vocals and a young lady whispering to "Viens chez moi..." (come to my place), Voyageur gives off creepy vibes, yet it's hard not to want to keep listening as additional elements crash in, like strange droplet noises or a powerful organ. At times a cacophony of sound, Voyageur is still a very attractive experience.

For people who want a trancier mix, the Club Mix is here to deliver. The bassline is far more synthetic and flat-out funky, culled out of a hip synthpop track. There's a smoothness here missing from the original, and it's refreshing; the Club Mix would make for great backing music in an upscale dance club with a power level that is never overwhelming. For a more relaxed experience, however, the Chilled Mix is here for you, featuring ocean waves and a slower beat. With a greater focus on the vocals, as well as softer pads and a pretty standard bass guitar replacing the in-your-face bassline of the original, there's more of an opportunity to just take everything in.

Last but not least is the Dance Mix. Starting out with a thumping beat right out of the gate, this tune wants you to know that you're about to party down. Again, the bassline has been altered to be more straightforward and uplifting, leading to more limbs flailing about. Enigma plays around with the instruments a bit more here, like the odd synthethic flute warbling about, but overall, the track doesn't do anything outstandingly.

Voyageur is a strong indicator of the tone of Enigma's fifth album: it's saying, "I'm going to be different." And Voyageur was different, being distinct and breaking from the expected. After four albums of reinventing chants with more modern sounds, it was time for Enigma to reinvent itself as a whole, and Voyageur is proof that it was possible.

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