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23 February 2000

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Review

The language of meditation

Silence, space, Borges, and vibrant voices coalesce in this compelling album

The Screen Behind the Mirror
Enigma
Virgin
Rs 125

"The path of excess leads to the tower of wisdom," says the inlay card, on which you will also find all the lyrics.

Come to think of it, there's little excess of the pop variety in this album. Listen to the track Modern crusader. It has a strange, calming effect.

There's a track called Silence must be heard. Ah, paradox! For all its aphoristic enthusiasm, this is still a compelling album.

Enigma is one of those rare groups that is able to make the synthesizer evoke space. That they do by layering echo after echo of synthesized sound.

Three tracks use parts of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (O Fortuna), lately made famous by an Old Spice TV ad, which shows a hunk surfing the crest of gigantic green waves to the accompaniment of awesome choral surges.

The second track Push the limits uses the tabla in its percussive arrangement.

The tracks flow into one another and weave a sheet of thought and sound. The rhythm section is as good as ever, strong and vibrant, as is the singing (Ruth Ann, Andru Donalds and Michael Cretu). Elisabeth Houghton and Sandra Cretu have rivetting voices.

Enigma's themes revolve around love and alternative living, and that also explains one of their famous videos in which a little Buddhist monk, innocence personified, rides into town on an elephant.

Enigma's images border on the Borgesian. Take the title track Screen behind the mirror. Borges might have written one of his fantastic novellas based on it.



S Suchitra Lata



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