description: combines traditional/native chants,
from cultures other than Native Americans, with modern music and rhythms
This Dutch composer's debut album, The Arctic, features 14
tracks of mood music combined with chants and vocals from the Inuit tribes
of the Arctic. The chants do not sound remarkably different from the ones
you would find in the Native American
Cross-Over style. Published by Sony Music in 1997, it is
overall a pleasing album but not a remarkable one. The tracks do feature
traditional rhythms and also more modern drumloops, which are often disappointingly
basic and 1980's sounding. Best songs on the CD would be the upbeat Sasquatch,
the eerie Gathering of the Tribes and the meditative In Search
of the Lost Chord. According to a sticker on the CD case, music from
the album was used in a Dutch television series "Noordpool '97 Expeditie". If you are looking for a more exciting Inuit Cross-over group, check out Terra Nuna. Although I was not particularly impressed with Aereda's debut album, the new 2001 release From a Long Forgotten Future is much more enjoyable. Perhaps this is due to the presence of Dan Lacksman as producer (he most famously co-produced the first Deep Forest album, as well as Difang, Michel Sanchez and also created the Pangea project). The new 12-track album is far more layered and, despite the occasional uninspired drumloop, we are treated to large choral passages, emotive flutes, powerful ethnic vocals and overall a more epic feel. The CD, published by Tah-Dah Music, was recorded at Lacksman's Synsound Studios in Brussels and is centred around the mystery of the hidden treasures of the Rennes-le-Château.
Norwegian composer/producer Øystein Ramfjord has released a stunning debut album entitled
Odonata, now published by Neurodisk Records. Although primarily an instrumental work centred around beautiful piano themes, every track combines influences from many ethnic cultures (such as India, Tibet and Indonesia) with upbeat rhythms and swirling textures combine to create a rich tapestry of electronic music. Tracks to take a special listen to include Opaque with it's
female Sanskrit chanting (similar to that used in Enigma's The Child in Us), ethnic rhythm, bright electronica, wailing Vangelis-style lead synth and floating piano notes. Arcane Voices features a beautiful Gregorian chant that is repeatedly used, set atop steady electronic drums and basslines which form an irresistible groove. Ranging from the meditative Fairytale to the ominous Avalon and the inspirational female vocals of Ilona, this album has received numerous good reviews -- which it rightly deserves!
This site does not only seek to make you aware of published artists,
but also the unsigned artists who produce music of a quality equal to
and sometimes better than their published contemporaries. Ashes is one
such group, they produce remarkable 'dance-ambient' works featuring chants/singing
from around the world, emotive female singing and spoken passages. The two masterminds behind this project
are the American duo Clinton Bradley and Richard Edwards. If you enjoy
any artists mentioned on this page -- especially the Traditional Cross-over
Style -- you will enjoy Ashes. Their first album World Ritual
features 8 tracks -- all of which are winners, especially noteworthy is
Touch the Sky with hard rhythmic drums centred around Native American voices and a heavenly female refrain. An inspirational work! This album deserves to be in your collection,
and you can preview and purchase it right away from www.mp3.com.
They are currently seeking a worldwide publisher
and distribution. Support good music!
Víctor Ruíz is the mastermind and composer behind this global-fusion project which mixes heavenly Indian mantras with dance-style instrumentation. The chants are performed by Ratnabali Adhikari, who was living in India at the time before she moved to Brazil where Ruíz is based. Once there she also formed a band with Krucis (who plays sitar) and Edgard Silva (tabla drumming). The four together formed the group Atman and on their 1998 album Eternal Dance they created a fascinating work which fuses traditional Indian culture with modern synthesisers. Some of their songs were also featured on the world-renowned compilation series Buddha Bar. A follow-up album The Lonely Road is set to be released in May 2002, although it will be more ambient and slower than their debut with a greater Asian influence. Note: Atman is also the name of a two-decades old Polish new-age project which has absolutely no relation to this group.
This project is produced and composed by Phil Sawyer, a British composer
who was one of the founders of Fleetwood Mac. In Existence is an amazing seventy-plus minutes of haunting music that
takes one into the very ambience of Africa. The album alternates between original Swahili vocal tracks (performed by the warm voices of Beryl Marsden and Russian Roulette) and the lengthy, evocative instrumental songs which are often centred around Sawyer's spine-tingling piano themes. The majority of tracks feature dark, ominous synth-chords combined with ethnic and electronic drumming. The title-track
is exceptionally inspiring with an infectious theme, all five instrumentals are stunning sonic adventures (most notably The Silk Road and The Final Emotion) and although the album can occasionally be let down by an overly-pop track like I Know, it is truly a worthwhile purchase. The second album Forever
seems more spiritual and is much lighter in its approach, resulting in
an album which is pop-orientated and therefore not as impressive as the debut. Both albums are published by Warner Music. Some of the music has been
used for BBC nature programmes and the track In the Beginning, from the debut album, accompanied various televisions advertisements. What many fans of the Enigmatic genre may not be aware of, is that the very first single by Beautiful World called Wonderful World (released in 1992) in fact pre-dates Deep Forest, b-Tribe and the second Enigma album which makes it an important contributor to shaping the Enigmatic genre. Unfortunately this pioneering group seems to have disappeared from the scene after their 1996 release, which is a huge pity. If you have any news about Beautiful World, please let me know.
The concept album, The Covenant, released in 1997 by this
composer/producer features samples of Jewish cantoral vocal performances
along with modern music and arrangements. For example, the track on Kiddush Le-Shabbat features a traditional Friday-night blessing over the wine, supported by warm synthesiser, with didgeridoo interjections, haunting violins, electronic drumloops and traditional percussion including tablas. Interestingly Brill stated
he did not want the project to "...turn into another Deep Forest/Enigma
clone..." and therefore was very wary of how and what he would sample. Stand-out track would be Rtzeh (We Pray), where a rousing voice battles it out with screeching guitars, growling synths and loud modern drumming. The album is published by Six Degrees Records which should immediately tell you that the music won't be to everyone's tastes. Not every track has percussion or even a rhythm, in places it can be rather experimental and eclectic: from the dramatic, detuned Middle Eastern strings of A Loop in Time to the discordant brass passages in The Secret of the Sabbath and the disturbing computer-synth voice reciting Deepak Chopra in The Universe! However if you're looking for something different and original, then take a listen.
b-tribe, or The Barcelona Tribe of Soulsters, is one of a string of projects from Austrian producer-arranger-composer Klaus Zundel (he produces and composes Sacred
Spirit, Ancient Spirit, One Little Creature, Moroccan Spirit and Divine Works
as well). b-Tribe's first album, Fiesta Fatal! released in 1993, was also Zundel's first outing into the realm of Enigmatic music. The album is quite aggressive and less-layered than his later works. However with the second album Suave Suave, he wove his magic and created one of the most beautiful enigmatic albums in existence. Strong rhythms and percussion on a bed of warm synthesisers with
a smattering of cello solos with lonesome Spanish chants echoing through
it all. This album has obviously been more commercially successful than
the others from this group, as it has been re-released and should be easier
to find now. The third album Sensual Sensual is once again
different from both previous albums. This time round the music is darker
and less dance driven. It feels more ambient, melancholic and classical although there are definite drum rhythms. In October 2001, Spiritual Spiritual was released as the fourth album in the series. The 12 tracks go back to the roots of Spanish traditional music, making this Zundel's most ambient work to date. Only a handful of tracks feature a distinct drumbeat and also disappointingly, the cello features in only one song on the album. Yet despite this, the melodies and arrangements are more memorable than on the third album. One oddity on the fourth album is the inclusion of the Irish traditional song She Moves Through The Fair which includes samples of Fiesta Fatal from the debut album, but all wrapped up in ethereal Celtic-style female vocals.
Chorus of Tribes
Simon Hulbert created this project, whose first album is called Myth. It instantly received the blessing and perhaps curse, of being described as a cross between Enigma and Deep Forest. However this work is no mere copy and often displays some inspired composition and arrangement. African chants were specially recorded for the album which was released in 1996 as Gondwanarain which also includes some chants from various sample-CDs. Eventually in 1997 the album was re-released in America by Etherean Music with new packaging and called Myth. The music ranges from high-tempo, synth-laden dance numbers like LoLo featuring fast repetitive chanting to slower, more ambient works like the tabla-driven Shackera. The best song would probably be Hiyahiyahey with its dark driving beat, shamanic chants and scratchy, almost 'dirty' trance basslines. Overall the comparison to Enigma is unfounded, and Myth is in fact superior to the Deep Forest debut. Simon has already finished the 13-track follow-up album entitled Myth 2.
David Antony Clark
This New Zealand born musician and composer released an album entitled
Australia: Beyond the Dreamtime published by White Cloud
in 1995. Described as 'neo primal impressions of ancient Australia' we
find an album with ambient synthesiser, light beats, smatterings of didgeridoo
and the occasional Aborigine chant. The album is primarily instrumental,
with an interesting-sounding mutated flute playing most of the lead melodies.
Overall, not very remarkable - much more could have been done with such
a rich source - but the album makes for pleasant background music or for
German-based producer John Deere conceived of this project after meeting Australian didgeridoo-player Marshall Whyler. The first release is the 8-track album Sacred Memories of the Future published by New Earth Records in 1997. Each tracks features the guttaral sound of the didgeridoo (a traditional Australian instrument made from a hollowed out branch of a eucalyptus tree) supporting modern music and dance rhythms with a variety of Aborignine and tribal vocals specially performed and recorded for the album. Immortality is the follow-up album and is based on the real-life notes of a sea- captain who was shipwrecked on Tasmania for 14 years. He found engravings by the Aborignes detailing the crash landing of an alien spaceship. The second album also sees an improvement in overall production. The second album received the remix treatment on Dharma Cafe which sees 6 songs being completely re-invented from the ground up and covering everything from trance to laid-back -- definitely only advised for those who enjoy more progressive and adventurous music. The third official Cybertribe album, tentatively called Aeons of Dignity, is due for release in 2002. Besides Cybertribe, Deere has many other projects which cover a wide spectrum of genres.
This female singer can be considered the Chineses equivalent of Enya,
along with traditional Tibetan chants. The songs are inspired by ancient
Tibetan folk music. The album Sister Drum is composed and
arranged by the Shanghai music professor, producer and composer named
HE Xuntian. He invited a popular singer from mainland China named ZHU
Zhegin, who is known as Dadawa, to sing on this spiritual album. The best
song on the album is the last one entitled The Turning Scripture
which is very unsettling with the deep, guttural chants of Tibetan monks,
but forceful with the large choir choruses. Dadawa's follow-up album is Voices from the Sky which showcases a wider range of influences and has far more layered arrangements than before. The music is powerful and demanding.
Dao Dezi is a co-production of Eric Mouquet (one half of the Deep
Forest duo) and Guilain Joncheray (executive producer of Deep Forest's debut album). Dao Dezi, meaning
'come on' or 'move it', is a term from the Celtic language of France called
Breton. What makes the Dao Dezi production so intriguing is that Mouquet has arranged and incorporated some traditional Breton folk-songs sung by a variety of male voices
specially invited to sing on the album. None of the lead vocals are sampled,
as is often the case with other groups of this genre. These vocals are
placed upon uptempo synthesiser backings, making for a wonderful clash
between the very organic voices and the electronic dance beats (as Deep
Forest have expertly displayed on their albums). Other traditional
Celtic instruments such as the Uillean Pipes (the Irish Bag Pipes), Bag
Pipes, Bombarde, Hautbois and a number of others also enjoy solos within
the songs. The music is always very impressive and grand, with the album
exploring many emotions from sadness to joy. The first single off the album is the dance remixes of the rare La Jument de Mishao which was only released in France. However the follow-up single was
the 7 minute long epic Ti Eliz Iza, the best song from the album. Two versions of the album were released, the one most readily availble is subtitled World Mix and includes various dance remixes of some of the tracks (mostly remixes of Ti Eliz Iza). Before this though, is the rare self-titled version which features the original versions of those songs that are only available as remixes as well as the track Pop Plinn.
Thanks to Curtis for providing some corrections and additional info.
Dead Can Dance
With a group-name like that, you can expect a very strange, semi-acoustic sound that runs the gamut of Medieval incantations to Arabic chanting. This long-standing group was created by Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard
and in the late nineties was disbanded. However the duo produced numerous
intriguing albums often defing categorisation, labelled as Gothic, New Age and Industrial all at the same time! The majority of the vocals are performed by Lisa, with Brendan doing English singing.
There have also been a few compilations
released of their music, most notably A Passage in Time,
and these can serve as a great introduction to the group. If you have adventurous tastes, you will be intrigued by the exotic qualities of Dead can Dance.
Michel Sanchez came up with the idea of mixing Baka Pygmy chants with modern music after hearing on-site recordings of these tribes. Along with good friend Eric Mouquet they created the project Deep Forest which has become the second most famous Enigmatic group (after
Enigma, of course). Their first self-titled album was released in 1992, with Sweet Lullaby being the smash single which would put
Deep Forest on the musical map. The album was very dance-driven
and the samples were heavily digitised and edited. Dan Lacksman, producer of the debut album, wanted the group to remain focused on African chants but instead on the second album
Boheme, Eric and Michel left behind the sounds of the forest and
ventured into Eastern Europe bringing us tender, lonesome Hungarian and Gypsy chants with upbeat, yet sad, music. Due to this shift, Lacksman decided to go his separate way and continue his idea with projects like Pangea. However it is fortunate Deep Forest considered changing focus as Boheme, arguably their best album to date, is a more mature and impressive album. The chants were no longer brief and chirpy, instead extended phrases
had been sampled from Hungarian and Transylvanian sample CD's, like Fonti
Musicali's albums Rom Som Ame
and Musiques de Transylvanie. You can visit the Fonti
Musicali Website to listen to some brief RealAudio samples of these
and many of their other CD's. The follow-up third album,
Comparsa proved that Deep Forest was not one for recycling sounds, they believed in musical evolution: this time they were using Spanish chants and sounds. The music is often times very upbeat and celebratory. A recording of their live concert in Japan was also released on a CD called Made in Japan and proved how Enigmatic music can indeed be performed live on stage. Although all the songs featured in the show
are from the previous three albums, they have completely new often-longer arrangements and it is wonderful to hear all the chants performed and reinterpreted
by live performers. In December 2000, Deep Forest did something completely new --
they composed a soundtrack for a film. The album is entitled Pacifique and accompanies the French film "Le Prince du Pacifique". It is a welcome return to a more ambient and melancholy sound, with beautiful lilting piano themes (the title-theme being particularly memorable) riding above moody synth textures, Pacific Island chants, scratchy synth-leads and electronic drumming. Besides a few stand-out tracks such as the title-song and Le reveil de Barnabe: Part 2, with it's grinding basslines and chirpy samples, there is little that will grab you on first listen. Due to its soundtrack nature the album is meant to be taken as a whole, tracks merge and segue into one another as they conjure up the film's atmosphere. Some fans though may find it too 'aimless' in places. The duo also performed and produced the remixes for the Youssou n'Dour single Undecided in 1994. The remixes were in fact tremendously better than the original song: using the now-famous style of chirpy sampling, dark synths, more driving rhythms, classical piano and some guest vocals by Neneh Cherry (who featured on n'Dour's break-through single Seven Seconds). In 1996 Deep Forest collaborated with Peter Gabriel on the fantastic song While the Earth Sleeps which was specially written for the film "Strange Days". Centred on a heart-wrenching vocal sample by Macedonian singer Kate Petrova, mixed with Mongolian chirps and the distant voices of the Tsinandali Choir (who hail from the European region of Georgia) all set to a driving dance beat and electronic basslines make this possibly the group's greatest track to date! Inbetween work for Deep Forest, Sanchez and Mouquet busy themselves separately with a variety of side-projects and solo albums. Sanchez has two solo
albums out and produced Wes's successful debut album; while Mouquet created the
group Dao Dezi, collaborated with Catherine
Lara and arranged Thorgal. Despite all these various projects and unlike most other Enigmatic composing duos who have since split, Sanchez and Mouquet are thankfully continuing with their main project. Music Detected was the title of their fourth much-anticipated official Deep Forest album which saw the duo turn its attention to the Far East and the Orient for inspiration. It also signalled a change in musical style for Deep Forest, from dance to a more rock-influence. Time will tell whether this is an evolution fans will like.
Desert of Spirits
Subtitled Musical Moods and Chants of Native Africa, this is a part of a series of relaxation-style albums published by Disky Communications
Europe B.V. (of The Netherlands). The 12 tracks are composed by A. Bates
and R. Lee, and makes use of the Sacred Verses & Tribal Chants of Native
Africa. The album vaguely resembles Deep Forest's first,
self-titled album due to the African vocals, but is more similar to Hans
Zimmer's soundtrack to the movie The Power of One. Information
supplied by Toni
South Africa's very own Enigmatic artist, hailing from my home place of Cape Town. Their debut album Sands of Time was released in 2001 by local publisher Saville McLowe Music, with a distribution deal in Britain through Passion Music Ltd. Combining a variety of inspirations, these 12 songs composed by Lynne Holmes and David Beukes, are atmospheric and rhythmic using synthesisers, chants and gorgeous acoustic piano themes. Native American, Tibetan, Hebrew and Gregorian chants all find their way into this album, but the samples that feature most are the African San samples. The English singing on some tracks is perhaps the only slight down-side on an otherwise fantastic album (like in Dead Can Dance, I prefer the female vocals to the male vocals). The first single San Song is probably the best track off the album -- a type of Robert Miles dream-dance song with chants and uplifting trance sounds. Clay People is reminiscent of Deep Forest, with a slightly more African pop flavour.
Many may not be familiar with his name, but millions across the globe will recognise this Taiwanese traditional singer's voice. A sample of his plaintive Elder's Drinking Song chant was used by Michael Cretu as the backbone for Enigma's Return to Innocence which went on to become one of Enigma's biggest selling singles. However Cretu had not obtained Difang's permission prior to using the chant which prompted a court-case in 1996 that saw the two settle out of court three years later with Difang being compensated. The controversy around the case propelled Difang into the international spotlight, and Dan Lacksman (whose most famous project had been the first Deep Forest album) approached him to produce an album together. Released by Rock Records Japan in 1998 Circle of Life is a mesmerising combination of Lacksman's usual electronic drumloops, ambient synths and sounds carefully constructed so as not to interfere with Difang's heart-felt singing based on traditional Taiwanese songs of love, work and celebration. Slower, more laid-back beats support songs like Visiting Song and the contemplative Fully Laden with Riches with its tinkling piano instrumentation and Difang's characteristic yodelling calls. However the more upbeat tracks like Love Song (with Deep Forest style lead synth-flute) and Working Song (with its dark string theme) are the real highlights of the album. As an obvious reference to the court-case with Enigma, Lacksman made his own, gentler modernisation of Elder's Drinking Song as well as including the original version of the chant unaccompanied on the CD. With the layered and more reverential sound of Circle of Life we see Lacksman mature as producer, in comparison to his previous outings such as Pangea. Difang was a prominent producer and supporter of Taiwanese aboriginal artists. His last work was to be the solo-outing Across the Yellow Earth in 2001 as sadly, just as Difang was gaining much-deserved international acclaim, he passed away in March 2002 at the age of 82.
Published by Oliver Shanti's record company, Emao is a complete divergence from the previous releases by that company. Composed and produced by China's electronic-music guru Zhang Dawei, after his journey through Tibet, the self-titled album is ultra-fast dance/techno beats with male and female Buddhist chanting and Chinese folk-singing. Like many artists who use this land as inspiration, Zhang invited one of the spiritual leaders, in this case H.H. Lamren, to feature on his album. After being arranged and recorded in his Beijing studio, the album was and co-produced in Sweden by Thomas Hedquist. Please note this album is nothing like an Oliver Shanti recording, even though it is distributed and published by his company.
From the heavenly, simple piano notes of the song Whitesands to the ominous tabla rhythm of Netherland, fans of Enigmatic or World Fusion music will immediately be captivated. The most impressive track would have to be Apocrypha with it's Delerium-esque darkness, eerie whale cries, a sensual but powerful drumloop and the almost hypnotic repetitive Eastern choral chant sample. On the track Lyonesse, beautiful ambient flutes are supported by a laid-back rhythm, reminiscent of Oliver Shanti. Ephemerid's 9-track debut album was released in June 2000 and is entitled Icarus Wings, although you owe it to yourself to purchase the accompanying 7-track album Still Waters...Run Deep, which features 3 of the slower songs from the first album but with 4 all-new songs (including Apocrypha). In 2002, Ephemerid released the follow-up 9 track album called Sleeper on the Sea featuring the hit song The Rain Makers.
In 1994, film producers Hugh Rule and Bill Leimbach set out on an ambitious journey to tour the world between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Their mission was to document and record the music of the various traditional and native peoples they encountered. A year later they returned with over 100 hours of recorded music. The album's producer S. Sadia together with keyboardist Stephen W. Tayler then proceeded to catalogue the music and chants according to key and tempo etc. The goal was to find a relationship and unifying theme between this myriad of voices and instruments that they now had. The result is the lively self-titled album by Equa, released by PolyGram Publishing Australia in 1996. Although the on-site recordings take precedence throughout the 10 tracks, electronic synthesisers and steady drumloops are used to make the album cohesive -- because despite the fact that the chants and instruments originate from many varied locations, the album semlessly combines the cultures. For example, on one of the best tracks Spirit Song, Indian prayers to Shiva are mixed with a Fijian choir together creating a song that conveys a sense of the epic quality of the world. Ethnic instruments abound, Thai mouth organs answer an 8-stringed Tanzanian harp on Procession. Independece features Senegalese drumming, Tanzanian male chants and a Cuban band. All in all it is a rather remarkable achievement. Special thanks to Curtis for providing information on this group.
This German film and television music composer left the group Tangerine Dream in 1988, after being with them for 18 years, to pursue a solo career. In 1996 he released The
Celestine Prophecy, an album which can be considered a soundtrack for the famous inspiration-book of the same name by James Redfield. Each tracks progresses the
story . The music
contains many samples of chants from Peru, Africa and Asia as well as Gregorian-style
choirs on some tracks. A kaleidoscope of traditional instruments is featured
on the album as well from Australian, Japanese and Native American flutes to Celtic harps and African percussion. This is the only Enigmatic album Franke has worked
on, although all his music for various television series (most notably
"Babylon 5") is usually very impressive and atmospheric.
In the 1980's this composer/producer/singer had a string of pop and rock
hits. What will be of most interest to Enigmatic fans, is his album Passion
released in 1989. This is the soundtrack to the highly-controversial Martin
Scorsese film "The Last Temptation of Christ" (which was and still
is so controversial that it is banned in many countries). The music on
this album is simply superb, featuring many original vocal performances
from Africa and the Middle East. Although synthesisers are used as well, the album is
a perfect introduction to world music, featuring a myriad of traditional
instruments especially the haunting Armenian Doudouk, perhaps one of the most beautiful ethnic instruments in existence. Stand-out tracks include the sombre Of these Hope - Reprise, the breathtakingly haunting
coranglais theme on With this Love (and its reprise later on the
album featuring spine-tingling choral interpretations) and the epic title
track, with its seamless mixture of Brazilian percussion, African and Arabic singing,
double violin and boy-soprano. It is an album that at times can be very unsettling and claustrophobic, but always exotic. Peter Gabriel had always been an avid supporter
of world music, so much so that he formed RealWorld Records which is nowadays
the leading publisher and promoter of world-music artists. The albums published by RealWorld Records tend to be more folk and acoustic in sound. Gabriel also
collaborated with Deep Forest in 1996 for one of their
best songs While the Earth Sleeps.
Former member of the ambient group Tangerine Dream, released a solo
album, World Without Rules. This album is quite different
from his previous music, consisting of strong tribal chants and dance
rhythms. It will appeal to fans of Deep Forest's Boheme
album and the second Enigma album. Thanks to Candi
for providing all of this info
If you enjoyed the Celtic bagpipes featured on Dao Dezi, then you will definitely
enjoy some of the songs on this primarily instrumental album entitled,
Tierra de Nadie/No Man's Land. The tracks feature electronic
and asturian bagpipes, tin whistle, traditional drumming as well as more
upbeat modern rhythms. The group is named after the composer and player
of these songs, Jose Angel Hevia, who hails from Spain. The best tracks
include the Dao Dezi style Busindre Reel and the lonesome Sobrepena
featuring flute and bagpipes. Only a few songs feature chants, two of
them being my very favourite tracks on this album: El Ramu which
features a repetitive but inspiring female chorus and the uncredited bonus
track at the very end of the album which features a similar chant. In
many ways the album will remind one of the music from the stage-show Riverdance.
Published in 1999 by EMI. Hevia's new album The Other Side was released in 2001.
David Lyndon Huff
An eclectic mixture of Middle Eastern, Native American and Gregorian
chants, makes the Worldbeat album by David Lyndon Huff difficult
to categorise. Released in 1999 under the Green Hill label, it takes you on a journey across the globe; with an epic combination of sampled chants, sounds of nature, synths and underlying beat. Anyone who enjoys Enigma or Deep Forest will love this deeply layered, haunting solo album. Huff followed this with the release of Worldbeat Brazil which, as its title clearly implies, has more of a Spanish and South American influence. The second album is slightly different and lighter in feel. Thanks to Jeff
Mills and Sebastian Ude
I am constantly amazed and impressed by the showcase of artists to be
heard on www.mp3.com This Austrian project
(notice how all the quality groups are from Germany and Austria!) was
conceived by Wolfgang Stindl (known as Wolf), after he heard the first
Deep Forest album. He knew immediately then that the
ethnic-meets-electronic music was what he wanted to do. Harald Pairits
(known as Hari) joined in November 1999 and the duo have gone on to create
some beautiful and very well produced music. Featuring chants from India,
Africa, East Europe, Tibet and many more combined with ambient-trip-hop,
traditional instruments such as pan-flutes and didgeridoo and electronic
synthlines makes for an unforgettable experience. Fans of artists in this
category are advised to take a listen to songs like Electribal
from the album Praying to Different Gods and the utterly
inspiring Touched the Sun from the debut album Touch the
Sun which are published by Earthtone Records.
A once-off British collaboration between composer-producer Kenny Young and Franco Lautieri, published by EMI Records in 1996. Kenny Young has been working in the music industry for many years, but this is his first outing into the Enigmatic genre despite his long-time support and interest in traditional cultures. Indigo's album entitled (one:) is a 14-track journey through the territories of some of the world's most famous indigenous tribes and people. Native Americans, Amazonian tribes, the Masai people of Africa, Australian Aborigines, Tibetans amongst many others. As on X Cultures and One Little Creature, each track for the most part focuses on one specific tribal group at a time -- however Indigo does share many similarities with Deep Forest's debut in terms of the haphazard, chirpy-style of sampling and the way the music tends to favour dance arrangements over ambience. Modern lush synth pads, basslines and drumloops weave around the various hoots, calls and vocal snippets such as on As Above, So Below with its guttural chants by the Throat Singers from Tuva (who were also sampled for One Little Creature) counterpointed by staccato semi-soprano choir. One of the best tracks is Guarana with its sinister flute introduction that melds seamlessly into techno-electronic basslines and housey synth punches. The majority of songs have steady, pronounced drumloops that aren't vastly different from other groups in the genre. However tracks like Shell Shocked and Aliens of Red Rock take Indigo into an exciting realm of ethnic voices combined with much faster, driving club-dance arrangements. The album may have been even more original had the composers explored this concept more fully. Overall an enjoyable work that is superior in many ways to the first Deep Forest album (primarily thanks to the greater variety of vocal samples and sources) but Indigo does tend to lack the mood of that group and the depth of One Little Creature. As the recycled-paper of the CD booklet shows, Young and Lautieri's project is endorsed by the United Nations and the two have tried to provide as much credit to the original vocal sources, hoping the album will highlight the plight of the indigenous people. Very special thanks to Ayuth for mentioning this artist.
Another project of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber, the two composers who
brought us Delerium. Future Primitives was Intermix's last album and the only truly enigmatic one because of its greater focus on chants. As with Delerium, songs are rather lengthy but have many various parts. Strange sonic textures are steadily
created atop pronounced drumloops, weird basslines and smatterings of tribal and religious chants. If you're looking for an album similar to Semantic Spaces this would be it, especially tracks like Ceremonial Chant and Mantra -- however the album is nowhere near as layered or mature as Delerium's later albums.
On the album Eden ambient, moody synthesisers with hip-hop
style beats support the fairly sparse, affected traditional samples that
sound Mongolian. Not too different from many of the other bands listed
in this category, but well produced and composed.
Despite what some first-time (English-speaking) listeners may think, Ivan Kupala is in fact a group not a single composer. Hailing from St Petersburg in Russia: Denis Fyodorov, Alexei Rumyantsev and Alexei Ivanov were all working at the same radio-station when they teamed up and decided to make modernised versions of Russian folk-songs. A variety of live shows and tours across Russia resulted in the group Ivan Kupala and their debut 11-track album Kostroma released in 1999. The group is named after the feast of John the Baptist (who is known as Ivan Kupala in Russia) which is a Belarusian version of the midsummer-festival on 7 July. Lead voices on the album are all female, and each track for the most part features solo voice and group-chants interchangeably. The title-song was also released as a single and serves as a great primer to the album -- Russian traditional-singing combined with upbeat arrangements and lots of synthesiser work including Dao Dezi-like bagpipe solos. Brovi follows this with a similar approach, but adds more complexity and thus is even better: a thumping club beat introduces us to the track with perky synth-instrumental and verse/chorus chants that are exceptionally performed and highly infectious. Vinograd slows things down slightly with a rock-pop beat and accordion instrumentals to create a more folk-like piece. Molodost is a laid-back, more romantic piece with beautiful flute interludes. Slower tracks are in the minority though, the album is primarily a collection of fast-tempo uplifting songs: like the accordion flourishes and staccato male backing yodels of Kanarejka and the bouncy-synths of Kolyada which culminates in a fantastic clapping-yelping section that urges everyone to come dance. However Galia stands as a true highlight; its slow steady beat, lush synth chords, faint mandolin playing combine with a haunting vocal performance continually multi-tracked, light electronic basslines and even a sitar bridge-section. Polosa ends the album off nicely by continually growing more excited, with the listener unable to resist being swept along. A 'hidden' track follows this a few mniutes afterwards which features a brief unaccompanied group-chant. The album is near-perfect and only let down slightly by the unfortunate use of reggae influences and brass-instruments in the song Svatochki. If you are a fan of Eastern European singing you will surely love Kostroma. Similarities with Deep Forest's second album Boheme are inevitable due to the Eastern European influences, but Ivan Kupala is much more than a clone. After the release of the first album all the songs were then handed over to various producers to create the compilation album Remixed Kostroma (released in 2000) which saw the original tracks re-invented into commercial styles that are very popular in Russia today. Although none of the remixes better the original tracks, what with many chants being hardly recognisable due to the heavy processing by the remixers, the material is taken down some rather interesting roads -- trance, hip-hop/breakbeat, club, drum'n'bass, jungle and even salsa! Ivan Kupala is definitely a project that deserves wider distribution and worldwide attention. Although difficult to find commercially outside of Russia, the albums are now available through MP3.com (the actual album being exceptionally reasonably priced). Here's eagerly awaiting a new Ivan Kupala album in the near-future, it is sure to impress. A very special thanks to Alexander Koshkin for his tremendous help regarding this project.
Published in 1999, Gaia, Earth Spirit is a lively album filled with energy and praise for the planet. Combining synths, guitar, Uillean pipes and rhythmic loops with the occasional tribal chant or choral phrase.
After experiencing a near-fatal car accident, Bruno Reuter decided to travel to India for a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts. He took on the new name Karunesh which means 'compassion' in Sanskrit. Born in 1956 in Germany this new-age artist has released many albums, but the one of most interest to fans of Traditional Cross-Over would be his 2000 release, Global Spirit (under the Oreade Music label). It took 2 years to complete and signals a new musical style for Karunesh as it explores more beat-driven music with exotic vocals from Africa, Australia, Middle East and North America. Besides the up-tempo perky synthesiser backing, acoustic instruments such as the sitar, violin, didgeridoo and bamboo flutes also make a welcome appearance. On the seven-minute track Punjab a heavenly female Indian chant is heard along with bubbling electronica, sitar flourishes before tabla percussion and programmed drumloops enter with Eastern European violin and Enigma-style shakuhachi solos. Kabula Ma features South African Zulu chants, some of which are sampled from the same library that was used in the Deep Forest song Madazulu. Best track on the album would have to be Earthsong with its dark drawn chords, hard ethnic drumming, lonesome Native American male-chant interjected by African-style hoots with Asian flutes and whistles providing instrumental breaks. The 10 track album is instantly listenable and overall arrangements are uplifting though fairly lightweight and not as layered or dark as some other artists in this category. Note Karunesh's other albums are pure new-age, not particularly beat-driven and thus may not appeal as much to fans of Enigmatic music. Karunesh nowadays lives in Maui, Hawaii.
The Deep Forest producers each have numerous side-projects in which they explore modern
music meeting a variety of traditional, ethnic and live performances. One half of this talented duo, Eric Mouquet (whose previous solo outing was the superb Dao
Dezi) co-produced and co-composed the album by acclaimed violinist Catherine Lara entitled Aral. All the tracks are arranged by Mouquet which is immediately
evident on first listen, with its mixture of eclectic vocals and energetic music arrangements combining ethnic instruments and synthesiser textures. Although mostly an album to showcase Lara's emotive voilin-playing, many songs have vocals of some sort. Primarily African samples (like the resounding choirs of Requiem for a Dying Sea, to the warm group-singing on Marayeva), but other cultures are occasionally used such as the Turkish chanting in the opening track Eastern Land and the airy female sighs of Unity which are mixed with distant Far Eastern calls. Lara's violin weaves through each track and is never lost in the detailed arrangements, but it can be seen more as an accompaniment to Mouquet's well-produced and
wondrous electronic soundscapes. The song to definitely listen to first is the title
track Aral which has wonderful Deep Forest-style chirpy chants echoing atop a pulsing bassline and droning male choirs with accordion flourishes by guest Michel Sanchez, the violin alternating between plaintive cadences and heaven-reaching themes. Although unfortunately no follow-up album to Aral has been announced to date, Lara and Mouquet have continued their collaboration on the project Thorgal. She and Deep Forest also worked with Cheb Mami on the song L'enfant Fleur.
Best known for his television-music contributions, Lowe released his solo album Dreamcatcher which effortlessly combines chants from South-East Asia, the Far-East, Middle East, Africa and Europe with modern synthesiser work and thumping beats. Seventh Heaven opens with a Chinese-style strumming, before the instrument morphs and bends into an infectious riff supported by light beat, forest yodels and distant calls. Miriam Stockley of Adiemus fan, also provides guest vocals.
Another project from the mastermind Klaus Zundel; he of b-Tribe, Divine Works and One Little Creature. The word 'spirit' crops up often in his album/group titles which may imply that one should consider this album along with Sacred Spirit and Ancient Spirit, two more of his projects. However this 12-track album couldn't be more different from those two in terms of style and approach. Zundel, as always credited as The Brave, recorded authentic Moroccan singers and instruments for this album to which he then added his trademark ambience and mood. The vocals are generally solo-voice, some male and some female. The track Midunya is a reworking of Medunya from the One Little Creature album, now with a more Arabic feel. It is easily the most groove-orientated song on the album, and along with the title-track Moroccan Spirit are the best. Released in 2002, Moroccan Spirit however may not appeal as much to fans who were expecting another Sacred Spirit-style album. This is a more atmospheric, ethnic-orientated project -- proving that The Brave still continues to surprise his listeners even after nearly a decade of composing in this genre. Once again a big thanks (as always) to Mitchell Press for providing this info
Sometimes listed as Nomad. This French instrumental, traditional cross-over
album entitled Spirit of Silk Road (subtitled: quelque part sur la route de la soie) fuses upbeat dance and techno beats with traditional
Armenian instruments. All the tracks are produced and composed by Rupen
K and published by Karamel Music (Paris FR). Thanks to
Olivier Aichelbaum for providing some
of this info
Almost all major traditional chants and singing have featured on some
or other Enigmatic album. However this is the first album to exclusively
feature New Zealand Maori chants. The 9-track album released in 2000, is composed by Jaz (Killing Joke) Coleman who was formerly of the group Art of Noise. Oceania consists of vocals by half-aboriginal vocalist Hinewehi Mohi,
traditional instruments, along with techno dance beats.
One Little Creature
Easily one of the rarest albums ever mentioned on this site would have to be
Music of Fading Cultures (Pieces of Time) released under this project name. The reason is, that it has only been released in Japan, a country that seems to enjoy Enigmatic music more than any other. However what is very important about this little known album is the fact that it is another project by the prolific Austrian composer/producer Klaus Zundel -- known as The Brave (he of Sacred Spirit, b-tribe, Ancient Spirit, Moroccan Spirit and Divine Works fame). Published in 1998 by Virgin Records Japan, the 11 track album includes ethnic chants from all across the globe (something different for Zundel as usually his albums concentrate on only one set of chants). Inuit, Tibetan monks, African nomads of the desert, Middle Eastern -- each has one track of music dedicated to them. Zundel's now-famous cello solos make welcome appearances throughout the album and some are based on themes such as Adagio by Samuel Barber. It is imperative that all fans of Zundel and his projects make it their mission to track down this rare, apparently once-off, item. You will not be disappointed if you enjoyed his other six Enigmatic albums to date. Note this project may also sometimes be referred to as World Spirit. A very special thanks to another Zundel fan, Mitchell Press, for informing me about this project.
A long-standing group formed by Marcelo Velis, Daniel Valladares and Rodrigo Fernandez all hailing from Santiago in Chile. Although the group has released various albums to date their self-titled work, published in 2000 by Warner Strategic Marketing, would be of most interest to Enigmatic fans. The three incorporate acoustic guitar, flute and keyboards with their Spanish singing and light rhythms. However what elevates this album is the involvement on some tracks of the Huara Choir who lend an inspiring and joyous air, at times reminiscent of Era. The majority of the songs are composed by Velis, and some are co-written by Valladares and Jan Peter Odendahl. Unfortunately the album can be a rather hit-and-miss affair with standout tracks like Sur azul (the opening song that introduces us to a dark and mysterious atmsophere), Ilumbarada and the large choral sounds of Ayemé interspersed with pieces that are more romantic and less-focused. Hopefully in the future Ortiga will feature more of their darker, choir-orientated sound than they did this time round.
Dan Lacksman (Belgian producer who worked with Deep
Forest, Difang and Aereda) created this group as he wanted to continue exploring
the sounds of the jungle (as opposed to Deep Forest who wished to explore
other traditional and ethnic chants). 'Pangea' is the name given to the
one large land-mass at the beginning of the earth before it divided into
the respective continents. The music on this album, seems to be honouring
the beginning of earth. Unfortunately the album tries too hard to copy
the Deep Forest sound. The chants are a variety of African tribal chants,
hoots and vocals but there is often no relationship between the samples
used. The music is not as fervent as Deep Forest's first album,
and comes across more as light pop-music combined with chants. The exception
to this is the tracks composed by Cooky Cue: which are heart-felt and
create a wonderful forest atmosphere.
The self-titled album, composed by Mark Adams Allison with Anne Lai and Aco Takenaka on vocals, combines a myriad of chants from across the globe into an upbeat and moody production. The first track Soul of Desire sounds very much like Enigma, with it's breathy female vocals. Earth Ritual features strong African chanting and some vocoder effects. Bol Taan takes us to India with its concentration on sitar and tablas. Although described as a 'new age' group, Phobos is not because of the groovy electronics and the heavy drum rhythms that permeate the entire album. Be sure to check out Allison's other, arguably better, project: Spirit Level. Thanks to Mitchell Press for providing info about this group.
Professor Trance & the Energisers
Professor Trance is the stage name for Dutch-based producer/composer Frank Natale who conceived of this project. The music on Shaman's Breath (published in 1995 by Island Records) is intended to complement the contemporary meditative practises Natale developed, which are inspired by ancient shamanic styles of so-called 'trance dancing'. Along with Natale, all tracks are co-composed by Alain Eskinasi, Pim Kilian and co-produced by Joe Galdo and together these three arranged and performed the music. The 9 tracks are ever-evolving rhythmic pieces which all employ briefly-sampled chants, voices, yodels and chirps from Polynesia through Africa to North America. Throughout the album there is a predominant mixture of electronic, sampled and acoustic drumloops supporting the main music, with songs like Breath Connect Us All and Emanjah being aimed squarely at the dance-clubs. Due to the album's meditative inclination, there is a great deal of textural, melodic and vocal repetition within each track which can grow tiresome -- especially considering the album is intended to be heard in one sitting. The casual listener may not have such patience for the length of the majority of these tracks and the overall repetitive nature. If you are looking for radio-friendly hit singles you won't find them here! However the album does make for wonderful background music, taking one through a variety of exotic cultures and sounds. Frank Natale has also set up a special centre in Amsterdam called The Natale Institute which seeks to promote the concepts touched on in the album and the accompanying booklet.
Published in 2002 by Oliver Shanti's record company Sattva Music, Passage to the Orient is the debut album by this project which is masterminded by composer/producer Vyanah. Featuring a variety of male and female chants from India combined with ethnic and electronic instruments. Many tracks use pronounced rhythms and drumloops to create a meditative and enthralling journey across the Middle East towards the Orient.
Published by Shiro Records in 1994, this project's diverse and eclectic self-titled album resembles a 'light' version
of Delerium. The songs are all
upbeat and feature numerous brief samples of chants from all around the
world (especially Mongolian and African) and even original opera singing.
The music is dark and ambient and showcases quite a few chants and instruments
people familiar with the genre will recognise as well as many strange
and unsettling effects -- not for the faint-hearted! On roughly seven
songs there are featured vocalists but most sing softly and indistinctly.
Each song seeks to create a mood and world of sound, often combining many
different parts, inspirations and elements into the same song (something
Delerium does to perfection). Unfortunately such a technique can make
some songs feel unfocused and lacking any direction. However it is great
to see an American group trying out the Enigmatic genre. Stand-out song would be
All Alone with it's English-vocal opera singing set atop
a pulsing rhythm. A very cerebral and layered album. The second album entitled Ecstasy In Avila released in 1996, includes 4 songs from the debut (including a remix of Sacred Revelation) as well as some new songs that continue the dark style. In 2000, Chasing Silence was released which is lighter in style: New-Age vocals with a few World influences and some good beats.
An exciting combination of traditional Thailand voices and modern dance rhythms is to be found on this project's album entitled Silk Mind. The group was formed in 1996, being composed and produced by Paul Downes who is based in the Netherlands. Using classical Thai flutes and percussion, combined with western beats and synthesisers. The lead vocals have not been sampled, but rather are live recordings of three Thai women. Also to be heard are orchestral pizzicato strings, spine-tingling gamelan bells, distant temple horns and ominous sampled speech. The group donates 10% of its record sale profits to the Nature Care Foundation which is trying to conserve the natural and cultural heritage of Phu Jom Khom in South East Asia.
Described in the booklet as a 'visionary' guitarist, this Emmy-nominated composer from America has produced only one album of any real interest to fans of enigmatic music -- namely Primal Vision. The 11-track CD combines tribal chants from a variety of sample CDs with light synth-drumming, smoky nylon guitars and some moody synthesisers. Overall a lightweight jazz-orientated album, with Deep Forest-style chant sampling thrown in for good measure. If you found Deep Forest's debut album a little too dancey and synth-driven, and you enjoy jazz, this may be of interest. Enjoyable background music published in 1995 under the Narada Mystique label.
The co-creator of Deep Forest (a band
that propelled Traditional Cross-over into the limelight) also released a solo album called Windows in 1994 which was co-produced by Dan Lacksman. Initially available only in Europe and Japan, it eventually saw an American release in 1996. One single Gold Diggers was released in Switzerland and Germany, and includes a shorter version of that song (which combines Afro-pop beat with Sanchez's expert classical piano-playing) as well as Procession and Tholos (one of the highlights of the album with its thundering drum and electric guitar interjections, distant yodels and various male African voices). Some sounds and textures on the album, especially the synth-pipes, flutes and style of vocal-sampling, will be instantly familiar to long-time Deep Forest fans. Overall though it is a more mature work which favours an intimate acoustic, sometimes-jazzy atmosphere instead of dance and thus won't necessarily appeal to as wide an audience.
His second solo album, the 13-track Hiéroglyphes was released in 2000 and sees Sanchez take an even more experimental and jazzy attitude towards Traditional fusion. The album all starts promisingly enough with the opening title-track and its chirpy Deep Forest style forest voices. From there sadly, the album degenerates into a chaotic mess of samples, dissonant synths and overly avant-garde arrangements. Neither solo album did as well as Sanchez's other side-project with Wes. Sanchez has also ventured into more non-Enigmatic music realms as in the collaboration with French pop singer Liswentitch on the album Regard. Some information courtesy the Deep in the Jungle Deep Forest site.
A group hailing from Quebec, Canada has produced a beautiful album called No Word Needed on the Level Music Inc label. The album is built around the concept that in the future all written words have lost their importance and that music becomes the universal means of communication. The title track has haunting female choirs before breaking into dark electronica. On other songs chants float in and out of the mix which never becomes too new-agey thanks to the ever-present rhythm. Note: this group is called Scripture, in some territories. Thanks to Ayuth for recommending this group.
Not to be confused with the soundtrack to the movie called Soulfood.
This prolific group of composers and performers headed by Scandinavian artist DJ Free have released many albums of note. For the first album, Breathe,
DJ Free made use of chants recorded live by a variety of singers, most
notably Arapata (a Maori/Lakota singer) and Anakwad (an Ojibwe Indian).
The album is "dedicated to the many indigenous peoples of the world
who are willing to share and preserve their invaluable life philosophies,
knowledge and cultural perspectives..." The second bonus disc, Deeper
is included with the album and explores trance-style music. Like the Sacred
Spirit series of albums, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the
album will be donated -- in this case to the Institute for Integrative
Healing Practices (a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and
perpetuating spiritual and body healing practices of indigenous cultures). A new Soulfood album was released in 2000 called Wingmakers which continues his exciting vision of world fusion music. DJ Free is so committed to Worldbeat/Enigmatic music that he has founded his own publishing company called Soulfood Media, which specialises in the World Fusion style.
A project by Mark Adams Allison (who also created Phobos). The 11-track album Of the Earth and Sky concentrates solely on Asian and Mongolian instruments and voices combined with modern rhythms and synthesisers. More layered and deeper than Phobos, the album is a must for fans of groups like Sacred Buddha.
A French production by Jerôme Gueguen (credited as Lach'ilaouet), Dominique Perrier (credited as Terra Cotta), Marc Hazon (credited as Marc de Poncallec) and Michel Valy (credited as Kervador) and published by Sony Music Entertainment. Their three
albums (from their self-titled debut in 1994 to Time Travellers (also known as Les Chronovoyageurs) in 1997 and their most recent entitled Promessa) combine traditional Celtic instruments like whistles and pipes, with upbeat drumming, synthesisers, uplifting group-singing and haunting female vocals in French mainly. Occasionally reminiscent of Dao Dezi, although Stone
Edge overall are more funky and acoustic in their sound. In France this group is marketed as Stone Age, whereas in the rest of the world
they are known as Stone Edge.
On the album Inuit this group combines Inuit tribal chanting,
traditional singing and speech into a dark and ambient journey. Songs like Baffin, Tuvaq and Hir'o consist of a wide array of briefly-sampled chants that are strung together and 'played' along with moody synthesisers, passionate instrumental solos and a steady laid-back drumloop. The track Inuit though is much faster and more like the dream-style music of Robert Miles: combining pounding
dance beats and euro-basslines with beautiful piano and an assortment of chants including a powerful choir. Anemare is
even more upbeat, and is like a celebration with a group chant and expressive
female singing making it the most infectious song on the album. It's a very interesting project and anyone who enjoyed the style of clipped vocal sampling used in Deep Forest's debut, but want quasi-Native American chants, won't go wrong with this. Released in 1998 by Fleche Productions and M6 Interactions.
German composer/producer Martin Scherl released the 9-track album Tribal Sutras under the project name Tya, which is an Australian Aborigine word meaning 'the earth'. Scherl conceived of the project after an extended stay in the tribal areas of that continent. Every track has a predominant beat, masterful synthesiser work and features chants from Africa, Australia as well as the female voices and choirs of Bulgaria. Published by New Earth Records.
Japanese composers Seiichi Kyoda and Kazumasa Yoshioka use this project to mix ancient Buddhist sutra (or spoken-chants) with modern beats and synthesisers. Their groundbreaking debut in 1998 was the album Prayer. From the very first note of the opening track Wintry Wind we are transported to a strange and mystical soundscape. The intro of that song features some of the most ominous and spine-tingling piano, accompanying a deep solitary Buddhist monastic chant. This mood is suddenly interrupted by the introduction of powerful hip-hop techno beats which carry the song higher and higher! The follow-up album East Wind continues the style but introduces the Japanese shakuhachi flute, used to great effect in a song like Wings of the Eagle. This album is a little more pop-orientated in approach, which unfortunately means it is not as awe-inspiring as their debut. The Japanese word Uttara-Kuru means something similar to 'shangri-las' or nirvana.
Vodjani was born in Persia in 1954 and nowadays works from his OM Studio in Hamburg, Germany. He has travelled many countries and is fascinated by Oriental music and culture. His first major album Karmapa was released in 1996 under the name Sijano Vodjani and was co-produced by Oliver Shanti and published by Sattva Records. It is a beautiful recording that features samples of prayers spoken by the 16th Karmapa who had died in 1981. If you enjoyed any of Shanti's albums, especially his Tai Chi series, you should enjoy Vodjani's debut. In 1998 the album Sacred Buddha was released under the name Sina Vodjani, and this time distributed and published by Music Alliance AG in Germany. The album does signify a slight change in style from his first album (most likely due to Shanti not being present as producer). For his second album, Vodjani specially travelled to Tibet to meet the young 17th Karmapa and record his voice live. It is an album that combines very ambient arrangements,
with the occasional trance-like basslines, subdued techno beats and Mongolian-style chants.
Om Mani Padme Hung is a gentle, dreamy song with breathtakingly
beautiful female singing, accompanied by high piano notes; eventually
bringing in a much deeper bass rhythm and harsh, spoken words serving
a great contrast. Milarepa features a deep, guttural Buddhist chant-speech
accompanied by New-Agey synths and
distant, electric guitar. Wisdom of Love features a lonesome pipe
playing, with heavy drums and a throbbing bassline with speech. The most enjoyable track is the opening Straight to the Heart which features the Karmapa's spoken vocals atop faint electronica, flamenco-style guitar playing and then eventually a very syncopated piano rhythm. This album is a voyage into these villages and lands of the East.
This group released an album entitled Tibet which is produced
and co-written by Jimmy Waldo. The eleven tracks combine dance/techno
music with a wide array of traditional and ethnic samples from the East which were recorded while travelling through Nepal and surrounding areas.
Each song is lengthy and a definite must for those who like Enigmatic
music with more electronica and speed. Definitely listen out for the song
Tantra. The album was released in August 1998 and published by
World Disc Label. Thanks to Marcelino
Martir Cavalcante de Sa Neto for mentioning this artist
Another side-project from Deep Forest co-producer
Michel Sanchez. Wes Madiko hails from the Cameroon and
met Sanchez in a music shop in the French city of Lille. The two decided
to work together and for three years they toiled away in Michel's studio
Ekongolo eventually releasing the album Welenga (meaning
'universal consciousness'). Wes would sing acapella improvisations in
his native tongue Bafoun (a language of the Bantou tribe of Cameroon).
Michel later added all the synthesisers and drumloops to create a breathtaking
and energetic album. The first single Alane received worldwide
airplay, and Wes was awarded a World Music Award for Best African Artist.
If you enjoyed Deep Forest this is definitely something to take a listen
to as Michel is in top composing form and Wes has a powerful voice (capable
of many octave ranges as well!) In 2000, the second album by Wes called
Sinami: the memory was released, but beware: if you are
looking for a follow-up to the Sanchez-produced album you will be disappointed
with this offering. On looking at the credits one will notice that Michel
Sanchez is not at all associated with this album, which is a major pity.
Wes still sings in his usual voice, but the music (this time composed
by Benjamin Valfroy) is more Afro-pop, and lacks all the beautiful and
layered arrangement of Sanchez. Africa Free Dance may be a mild
curiosity and throwback to the first album, but ultimately even though
this album has the same publisher, and features the same Wes logo and
management, this album shows the importance of a producer/composer - and
in this case the album is a disappointment.
An ambitious and commendable project by composer Brian Wayy, the 1999
album One World, One People attempts to show, through music,
that all cultures can exist together. Unlike groups such as Deep Forest
and Delerium which mix many chants together in one song, each track on
the X Cultures album highlights one particular culture at a time (much
like One Little Creature did before it). From Iran to
Japan, and Spain to Senegal we are taken through a journey across the
globe. Despite the cultural inspiration for each track, there is a unifying
blend of electronica and digital rhythms which range from slow and sensual
to upbeat and dancey. Overall this is an enjoyable album, published by
Intencity Records, that will greatly please fans of enigmatic music.