REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/06/2007
Enigma’s sixth effort, A Posteriori, has everything that one would expect of an Enigma record. It is new age, gothic, moody, ethnic, psychedelic and sensuous. But it is also boring; a very pedestrian album, this A Posteriori. The music on it is more soporific than relaxing.
When the Enigma project first began, it had a formula that was unique and an idea that was fresh. All it needed were catchy pop melodies that would blend and make beautiful the traditional old-world chants to make hit records. “Sadness” was the perfect creation for Enigma. It was as close world music or cultural music could get to mass radio as possible. I didn’t matter what the album MCMXC A.D. was like, it still had a crowning glory and that’s what mattered.
Enigma is a pop outfit, and radio-friendly cuts that reach out to the most inattentive and untrained listeners is what is expected of it. Sadly, A Posteriori has nothing that sounds like a good tight pop track. It’s as if the thought and the creativity that goes into putting together a good song is absolutely nonexistent on this record, and the moods and ambiences that define Enigma’s type of music alone just aren’t enough.
Bear in mind, there is still a lot of playing around with gothic chants going on in this album, but the result seems like that from a house music DJ fumbling to create an experimental album than a seasoned pro with five albums under the belt. Though “Eppur Si Muove” has a nice spacey groove and a matching robotic chant that gives the disc a promising start, the music quickly plummets down to “Feel Me Heaven,” which is nothing but ambience of the most humdrum kind, very similar to “Northern Lights” and “The Alchemist.”
The couple of ambient tracks that are somewhat decent, “Message From 10” with its wavy underwater feel and “Hello And Welcome” with a fine display of masculine leads, are interesting, but only because they possess some deal of uniqueness that the rest of the CD doesn’t.
Still, in this dismal effort, there are standouts: “Dancing With Mephisto” and “20,000 Miles Over The Sea.” Neither one is any different from the rest of the album in matter or style. But they have the element of pop dynamism that A Posteriori needs so badly. They are slick and snazzy dance numbers possessing Enigma’s trademark gothic mysticism mixed nicely with sharp pop arrangements.
The biggest let down on A Posteriori, more than anything else, are the male vocals on “Invisible Love,” “Sitting On The Moon,” and “Goodbye Milky Way,” which can be described by one word: terrible. On “Goodbye Milky Way,” Enigma tries to pull off another “Return To Innocence” with English-sung verses and a native sounding chorus, but comes nowhere near to its brilliance and class.
Whichever way you look at it, A Posteriori is a disaster. Even though it has the right “Enigma” recipe, it is uninteresting, either as a dance album or as an experimental record. Having all the correct ingredients is useless. What matters is personality, which, A Posteriori isn’t blessed with at all.