Enigma – MCMXC AD (Epic 2017 #068)

The Epic 2017 Project #068: 170309

Enigma – MCMXC AD (1990)

MCMXC a.D. (“1990″ in Roman numerals followed by an abbreviation of Anno Domini) is the first studio album by the German music project Enigma, headed by Romanian-German musician Michael Cretu, released on 10 December 1990 by Virgin Records in the United Kingdom and on 28 January 1991 by Charisma Records in the United States.

Before he founded Enigma, Cretu had released several solo records, collaborated with various artists, and produced albums for his then wife, German pop singer Sandra. Following their marriage in 1988, Cretu developed an idea for a New-age music project named Enigma, and recorded MCMXC a.D. in eight months at A.R.T. Studios, his home studio located in Ibiza, Spain. It is one of the first albums recorded onto a hard disk drive. Cretu makes extensive use of Gregorian chants, dance beats, and flute sounds.

MCMXC a.D. received some criticism for its sexual and religious themes and connotations but it became a worldwide success, reaching the top 10 in ten countries, including the United Kingdom, and No. 6 in the United States where it sold over 4 million copies and stayed on the Billboard 200 chart for 282 weeks. Four singles from the album were released—”Sadeness (Part I)”, “Mea Culpa (Part II)”, “Principles of Lust”, and “The Rivers of Belief”. “Sadeness (Part 1)” topped the singles charts worldwide and remains Enigma’s most successful single.

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The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (Epic 2017 #052)

The Epic 2017 Project #052: 170221

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (2006)

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The Crane Wife is an old Japanese folktale. While there are many variations of the tale, a common version is that a poor man finds an injured crane on his doorstep and takes it in and nurses it back to health. After he releases the crane, a woman appears at his doorstep with whom he falls in love and marries. Because they need money, his wife offers to weave wondrous clothes out of silk that they can sell at the market, but only if he agrees never to watch her making them. They begin to sell them and live a comfortable life, but he soon makes her weave them more and more. Oblivious to his wife’s declining health, his greed increases. He eventually peeks in to see what she is doing to make the silk she weaves so desirable. He is shocked to discover that at the loom is a crane plucking feathers from her own body and weaving them into the loom. The crane, seeing him, flies away and never returns.

This fourth album, released by The Decemberists in 2006, was inspired by this tale. It centres on two song cycles, The Crane Wife and The Island, the latter inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The album cover was designed by the Portland artist Carson Ellis, Colin Meloy’s wife, who has created artwork for each of the band’s albums. Colin Meloy is the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist.

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal (Leaping Ahead #71)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #71: 160311

[A winter song (2)]

The first single from the band’s self-titled debut album released in 2008.

I was following the pack, all swallowed in their coats
With scarves of red tied ’round their throats
To keep their little heads from falling in the snow, and I turned ’round and there you go
And Michael, you would fall and turn the white snow red as strawberries in the summertime