Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Ultimate List of Enigma-Like Artists

In my Endless Quest to find Enigma-like artists/albums, I've come to some seriously good results I thought I'd share with you. Because I know a lot of fans out there are looking for such albums. Maybe, you will be kind enough to present a few albums you've come across as well. You may have heard about them, but I doubt anyone has given you enough description about their connections with the Enigmatic genre. First, let me introduce a few less known ones.

1. B-Tribe: Produced by Klaus Zundel (aka the Brave) who maintained Divine Works, Sacred Spirit, Indigo Spirit, Moroccan Spirit and Classical Spirit as well as his main project, B-Tribe. He started off with “Fiesta Fatal!”, combining flamenco and Spanish guitars with dance beats and ambient atmospheres. There are a couple of good tracks on the first album. “Fiesta Fatal” with the famous Sadeness beat, “Lo Siento” with Callas Went Away atmospheres and a great chorus, and “Love, Tears, Heart Aches And Devotion” with great a electronic melody. It fits pretty well in the Enigmatic genre.On the second album “Suave Suave” songs seem to be more mature and have a better production than the first album. Also, there are vocals on a few tracks like the single “Nanita”The third album "Sensual Sensual" utilizes ambient atmospheres along with the tribal chants and the guitars to make the album complete. The melodies are quite sad and Enigmatic here. So take this album seriously.In “Spiritual Spiritual” he removes the beats and takes you on a more spiritual journey with his guitars and choral chants.I have the fifth album called “5” but I haven’t been in the mood to check it out. But from what I’ve heard, it’s pretty good.

2. Conjure One: Solo project of Rhys Fulber of the Delerium duo. His first album "Conjure One" is an absolute masterpiece. It takes the ideas from Delerium project and mixes them with Mid-Eastern elements and fantastic orchestral Violins at some points. There are a few good covers and original “enigmatic” pop songs as well. If you liked Delerium's Karma and Poem, you are sure to love this one.Their next album, “Extraordinary Ways” is no good. Don’t even go near it because it doesn’t have the qualities of the first album at all.

3. Mike Oldfield: This artist doesn’t particularly work around the Enigmatic genre. But his 1996 album "The Songs of Distant Earth" is fantastic. He obviously tried to make an Enigmatic album. The album is an ambient mix of electric guitars and tribal and in one song Gregorian choirs. The album has some Vangelis flavor mixed with Enigma. It includes 17 magnificent tracks so that I can't skip any of them. In "Let There Be Light" he uses "Jens Gad-like" guitars and choral chants. “Supernova” features Enigma flutes and has a nice ethnic synth. In "Hibernaculum" a choir melody is used that seems like something Vangelis would come up with. "Prayer For The Earth" has a very deep tribal chant and great background melody and "Magellan" strangely sounds like Vangelis' "Eric's Theme" in Chariots of Fire. Anyways, this album is greatly recommended for Enigma fans.

4. Gregorian: A project of Frank Peterson, the co-producer of MCMXC a.D. He basically tries to do what was done in MCMXC a.D. But with no sample chants. He has his own chanting crew. Many of the songs he produces for Gregorian albums are covers. For example, In “Masters of Chant Chapter V” he took Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and put Gregorian chants in place of the vocals. But let’s not get into that. “Masters Of Chant” is the only Enigma-like album I see from the group. There are some classics in the album. “Brothers In Arms” is a beautiful track the puts the electric guitars with Gregorian Chants. “Still I’m Sad” uses the Sadeness beat. And “Sound of Silence” combines Harpsichords with chants you can’t miss. Overall, it’s a great album.

5. Dao Dezi: A project of Eric Mouquet of Deep Forest. Only one album was released under this project title. The album is known as “Dao Dezi” or “World Mix Album”. The songs here are a combination of medieval chants, bagpipes and beats. I used to hate the album in the beginning, but it quickly grew on me. The single “Ti Eliz Iza” is a really Enigmatic track. Matter of fact, I would buy the album just because of that one single song. “Hebribes”, ”An Tri Breur” and “La Jument De Mishao” are songs Enigma fans should hear. There are 2 really good orchestral songs in the album. My only skip tracks would be the techno-dance tracks (Track #5 & #6). And finally “Digor” is an emotional outro. I recommend this album to Enigma fans with a wider choice of music.

6. Sacred Spirit: Another project from the producer of B-Tribe. This time, he puts the guitars away and mixes electronic rhythms with North American tribal chants and violins. I’ve heard 2 albums from this artist and they sound really good.The first album is called “Chants and Dances of The Native Americans” and features a list of fantastic tracks. “How the West Was Lost” is a great intro. “The Counterclockwise Dance” is my favorite, with Shakuhachi flute and native American chants.The second album “More Chants and Dances of The Native Americans” is an instant favorite. It doesn’t need to grow on you because you’ll like it in the first listen.

7. Dead Can Dance: I’ve recently started listening to this group so I don’t really know a lot about the creators. All I know is that the project is formed by Brandon Perry (Producer) and Lisa Gerrard (Vocalist). There is basically no genre to put this group in. It comes close to Enigma in mysticism and cultural mix but differs in terms of production and vocals. Both of the creators have vocals on the albums. The English lyrics are poetic, There is some choral chanting in some songs. In “Aion”, they fuse newage/enigmatic music with elements of the middle age. And in “Into the Labyrinth”, they make songs in a more poetic and mystical way.Anyways, I can’t describe this group very well, so you better give it a listen yourself.

8. Vangelis: The father of Newage music. A Legend. One of the first producers of Newage music and still the best in the genre. The fans of Newage/Electronic should be familiar with him already, so I’ll just cut to the chase and introduce his most Enigmatic albums.“Voices”, His best album in my opinion, is a more quiet, newage-influenced version of Enigma. The title song, mixes tribal voices with choral voices and well-produced music to start the album. “Echoes” the reprise of voices and the second track, takes the title tracks and gives you exactly what you need to hear as an echo. “Come to me” and “Losing Sleep” are the vocal tracks of the album you just need to hear to fall in love with. Overall, all of the songs are masterpieces and this album qualifies as top 5 best Enigma-like albums of all times.“Oceanic” is another masterpiece with the orchestral “Bon Voyage”, dreamy “Dreams of Surf”, beautiful upbeat “Spanish Harbour”, electronic “Islands of the Orient” and the ambient “Fields of Coral”.You might also like the award-winning movie soundtracks “1492 – Conquest of Paradise” and “Alexander”. Although all of his albums are great newage achievements, I only named a few that satisfy Enigma fans.

9. Chicane: I find his “Behind the Sun” album quite similar to Enigma’s Voyageur. Except that it has a little techno/trance flavor in some songs. It creates Enigmatic atmospheres with complex rhythms and good lyrics and vocals. I started listening to this artist last week, and therefore, I can’t give you a very good description of it. I like almost all of the songs on the album. Some of you may not agree with me on Chicane being enigmatic, but I believe that the album has a Cretu-like touch. I seriously recommend this to Voyageur fans.

10. Synaesthesia: One of the many side projects of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. This time, they take you on a more ambient journey. The project started in 1995 with “Embody”, continued with the double CD “Desideratum” in 1996 and ended with “Ephemeral” in 1997 (exactly in Delerium’s “Semantic Spaces”-“Karma” period) and no album has been released since.Synaesthesia combines tribal and Karma-style beats with ambient sounds and lush electronic rhythms and melodies. All the songs are instrumental with chanting at some points.I have their last album, “Ephemeral” and it’s surely a must-have for Delerium and Enigma fans.

11. Schiller: A more trance influenced version of Enigma. I have his “Leben” (Life) and it’s a great electronic and enigmatic album. “Summer Rain” is a track with a good electronic melody and a nice beat. “The Smile”, the best track of the album has a good beat with Iranian ”Daf” and “Tombak” and fantastic vocals by Sarah Brightman.Schiller's 2006 album "Tag and Nacht" is also worth listening, but in that album, he's taken a more cheesy pop way, and therefore it's less Enigmatic.

13. Jens Gad: I’m sure we all know about him. The co-producer of Enigma and the greatest artist in the genre next to Enigma. He released albums under project titles “Achillea”, “Enigmatic Obsession” and “Jens Gad Presents”.

14. Delerium: The main project of Leeb and Fulber. It started in 1988 with dark melodies on “Faces, Forms and Illusions”. They released a couple of albums in the period between 88 and 93. In 1994, they released “Spheres II” which is known to be their turning point toward the enigmatic genre. “Spheres II” has quite a few good songs itself, with great electronic melodies and a newer Jean Michel Jarre feel.“Semantic Spaces” is absolutely a must have for any newage\electronic\enigma fan. It has tribal and Gregorian chants with great electronic elements. “Karma” is their best and most enigmatic album with many vocal tracks with great poetic lyrics as well as rich instrumental ones with flutes, Gregorian chants and tribal sounds.“Poem” is another good album with another change of style in the project. Almost all of the tracks on this album are vocal. This album has a more “live” feeling to it. The choirs and most of the instruments (strings, drums, etc.) are played live rather than sampled. Their style may have changed, but it still has that Delerium sound."Chimera" is an alright pop album with a mixture of different genres (Chillout, Enigmatic, Trance, etc.)Their latest album "Nuages Du Monde" is my least favorite Delerium album since "Karma".

15. Deep Forest: The famous project of Eric Mouquet and Michael Sanchez. Combining elements and chants from different cultures. In “Deep Forest” they take you to Africa with “Sweet Lullaby” and “Nightbird”. Deep Forest's second album “Boheme” is a masterpiece. Deep forest doesn't just sample the chants and mix them with drums and synths. It emphasizes instrumental support from different parts of the globe, and that's why it's unique.Their 2003 album “Music Detected” is one of the greatest achievements of the Enigmatic genre and their best album so far in my opinion. In this album the duo fits a lot of musical genres (Including Enigmatic, Rock, Industrial, etc.) into one.“Pacifique” seems to be another good album to hear, but I don’t have it yet.For hearing what Deep Forest sounds like, I recommend their Best of album, “Essence of the Forest”.

16. Jean Michel Jarre: One of the first artists of the electronic genre. He’s famous for his “Oxygene” and “Equinoxe”, also boasting great electronic albums such as “Chronologie” and “Rendez-Vous”. I love his “Odyssey Thru O2” remix album. It’s not very Enigmatic but it’s still great electronic\trance.

17. Michael Cretu: The creator of Enigma himself. Check out his collaboration with Peter Cornelius under the title “Cornelius & Cretu”. The Cretu vocal tracks look like they could have belonged in an Enigma albums and a couple of Cornelius tracks are good.Also, you might like his 1985 album “Invisible Man”. It’s Cretu at his turning point toward Enigma. The songs are very 80’s, so it’s not that good. But there are a few enjoyable tracks.

18. Sandra: I’m sure we are all familiar her too. I only suggest “Fading Shades” and “Wheel of Time” (Both produced by Cretu and Gad). I’m sure you will find a lot of Enigma material in these albums specially in Wheel of Time.

19. Trance Atlantic Air Waves: A project from Michael Cretu and Jens Gad. "Energy of Sound" contains with a lot of covers and some original songs. You might also find some Enigma material here.

More artists to try:
- E Nomine: Listened to some samples from the album “Die Prophezeiung” and it left me amazed. It’s a mixture of Orchestra and Choir with dance techno beats Well, I don’t like the techno part. But the tracks sound fantastic. Gotta check this one a little more.
-Divine Works: Project of Klaus Zundel. “Ancient Person of My Heart” (which was in the Metamorphosis bootleg) can be found here
.-Thorgal: Side project of Eric Mouquet of Deep Forest in collaboration with Catherine Lara. Judging by the samples it’s one of the MOST ENIGMATIC ALBUMS I’ve ever come across.
-Aral: Another Eric Mouquet side project
-Phobos: Heard a lot about this one. People say his album “Phobos” is one of the best newage albums out there. Also I’ve heard it has killer bass.
-Mysteria: Another project from the producer of Phobos. In the 2005 album “Tempting the Muse”, he mixes Gregorian chants with electronica and airy female vocals. Sounds good.
-Venja: Producer of the tracks: “Sensing the Spheres” (One of the most Enigmatic tracks I’ve heard from a non-Enigma (?) artist.) and “Black Moon Dance” from Enigma bootleg “Metamorphosis”. They were orignially released in his "Dash of Soul".
-Waterbone: Some say it’s similar to deep forest. I don’t completely agree. I have their “Tibet” album and the songs are just too long, repetitive and containing too many melodies and samples. It’s something between a not-so-good Deep Forest and Yanni. Still, some songs are enjoyable.-Michael Sanchez: Released two albums: “Windows” and “Hieroglyphics”. I’ve listened to some samples and they sound Enigmatic.
-Ancient Spirits: Project of Klaus Zundel
-World Spirit: Project of Klaus Zundel Also known as One Little Creature supposed to consist of a mixture of chants from all over the globe.
-Classical Spirit: Project of Klaus Zundel with covers from Bach and Beethoven, I think.
-Moroccan Spirit: Project of Klaus Zundel. The title explains it all-Indigo Spirit: Project of Klaus Zundel. His record label announced that it’s the third Sacred Spirit album. It’s not that good. But still contains a few good songs.
-Amethystium: O.K. I don’t like this one that much. But I decided to include it since a lot of people like it. In my opinion, the beats are too weak and the melodies are overused. There are a few good songs in his different albums for example “Autumn Interlude” or “Into the Twilight” but I wouldn’t normally listen to the whole album.
-Sleepthief: If you are a fan of Delerium’s vocal songs, this artist might please you. In “Dawnseeker” The producers took the singers from Delerium, Balligomingo and other groups and had them do the vocals in one song each. It’s a pretty good album, maybe not so enigmatic but still deleriumic.-Balligomingo: Again, if you like Delerium’s electronic/pop songs, you will like his album "Beneath the Surface".


Ivory said...

Thank you for all the recomendations!!! i have been dying to find some more artists that sounds like enigma and you just did that in the best way possible. i have listened to few of them before but a lot of the names were pretty new to me and i hope they would be as great as enigma is...

psychelatte said...

Hmm I don't agree with you about Waterbone's Tibet album. I find it to be one of the most fab and Enigma-ish albums I have heard. And I cannot stop playing it!

I also personally recommend Australis' The Gates of Reality which I think is also stunning.

If you haven't mentioned Mythos, try their self titled album and also Reality of a Dreamer. More piano and acoustic guitar but also synths and very dreamy and with a good beat and amazing female vocals.

I also recommend Edelis 'Cryptic Secret' album which is adorable with lots of flute and gorgeous melodies.

I like the 2 best Mysteria albums. However I get bored with other bands that sound less mystical and more poppy and over-wordy. I prefer foreign ethnic voices I suppose.

If u don't already know Lesiem and Magna Canta, you MUST check them out immediately as they are tons better than Delerium and Era (ugh!) Adorable monk chanting, Enigma beats and the odd bit of electric guitar and stuff!


Enigma & D-Emotion Project---Not Mentioned Here --



Anonymous said...

It was nice to you bring up dead can dance , I have been fan of theirs for more then ten years so it was nice to see their name out there

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Ashran said...

For a truly expansive list of artists connected to Enigma, I would advise this site:

That's the best list I've seen so far :)

Christian Schmeltzer said...

I was looking for a list like this, thx! And very comprehensive.

You might want to try out these projects:

Ambra - Child of the Universe
Ambra - Honor and Glory
Lichtmond 1 + 2

Very enigmatic with respect to atmosphere, sound, beats and chorus!

Don Dunham said...

Alan parsons project instrumentals is goot

Spirit Spellweaver said...

I had a song on a CD a long time ago that I falsely thought was Enigma for years, and couldn't ever find the name for it.

I found it again by chance and there were a lot of comments in YouTube that said the same; they all thought it was Enigma too.

For the life of me I can't recall what it was, but it was something to do with dolphins I believe. I wish I could remember it.

Will Dekkard said...

A couple of albums to check out are "Myth" by "Chorus Of Tribes" and "Pangea" by "Pangea", both are a real treat!

Anonymous said...

|Nice share. Happy to see a big list. Thanks

Jana said...

You've put so much work into this list of artists. Thank you so much for all your efforts. Everything I need in one spot! Awesome!!

Johnny DoeDoe said...

I love this list. I have got ahold of many of these because of this list. My biggest struggle with music is finding "new" music I can add to my collection. My favorite genre is mystic pop (Enigma style). I would love for people to check out some artists I have encountered in my search. These groups sound very enigmatic to my ears. They are Lesiüm, Magna Carta, Vox Nova, Cantara ( Fave is Shepherd Song!), and even though they are classified as Christian which you could never really tell but Rhythm Of Creation. I hope you guys find these artists to your liking as well.

Johnny DoeDoe said...

Oh, and I should be ashamed to forget eRa. They are nothing but sounds of enigma!

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Dj Randy said...

Thanks a lot for sharing btw I have a question to producers , have u ever used this sample pack for ur ambient music , Is it worth it?

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