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Enigma
'The Screen Behind the Mirror'
Virgin Records

Since its debut in 1990, Enigma has defied trends and stretched the boundaries of pop music with a style that creator, composer and producer Michael Cretu has come to describe as musical alchemy. Molding eclectic influences into its sensual yet spiritual sound, Enigma's artistic music creates a surreal atmosphere of magic and mystery that bring to mind ancient civilizations, gods and spirits. From its apocalyptic introduction in "The Gate," this carefully sculpted album incorporates excerpts from the famously forceful "O, Fortuna" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana throughout its 11 tracks, bringing an added cohesiveness to the work. From the pulsing heartbeat of the first single, "Gravity of Love" (which features Ruth-Ann from the British dance project Olive on vocals) to the aggressive rock of "Modern Crusaders" to the waterpool dream of "Traces (Light and Weight)" to the tribal trance of the title track, this diverse album is beautiful and unmistakeably Enigma. (Sarah Quelland)


Morphine
'The Night'
DreamWorks Records

Since its beginnings as a Boston bar band, Morphine acquired a cult following for its distinctive baritone vocals, ultra-low-end rock noir blending of bass, saxophone and drums and moody avant-garde tendencies. But despite several critically acclaimed albums, Morphine never became a household name. Even last July's tragedy, when 46-year-old vocalist and bassist Mark Sandman suffered a fatal heart attack onstage in Italy, made little more than a small ripple in the news. The Night, released posthumously, stands as the end of Sandman's living legacy, an intimate, provocative album that was produced and recorded over the course of two years in his home studio. Dark and seductive, Morphine's smoky ease touches listeners like a sensuous caress by a rough hand. Sandman's deep, sexy baritone exudes a mysterious loneliness through lyrics like those found in the title track ("You're a bedtime story/The one that keeps the curtains closed/I hope you're waiting for me/'Cause I can't make it on my own") and in "Like a Mirror" ("I'm like a mirror/I'm nothing 'til you look at me"). The album takes an exotic dip with the Eastern-tinged string arrangements of "Rope on Fire" and incorporates an electronic zing into "I'm Yours, You're Mine." The desolation in this minimalistic album is palpable, and Sandman leaves behind an appropriately haunting good-bye that plays as a fitting tribute to this creative and captivating musician--right down to the eerie concluding track, "Take Me With You" ("Don't leave me alone/I can't live without you/Take me with you"). (SQ)


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From the March 2-8, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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