's megamillion superseller sparked international artistic fistfights when it was first released in 1991. In fact, its tantalizing mix of ambient beats, Gregorian chants, French lyrics, seductive breathing, and sensual mea culpas is anything but enigmatic. The music's steamy mixture of sexual and religious overtones helped fuel the breakaway single, "Sadeness." Though there were no liner notes, and the musicians' real names weren't revealed, most listeners took to the concept album immediately. It wasn't long, however, before the album's anonymous producer, Michael Cretu (MC Curley), was attacked by the Catholic church, which claimed the album was immoral. Lawsuits were filed by the offended Kapelle Antiqua choir charging unauthorized use of their Gregorian chant recordings. Time and the Internet have since "solved" many of the album's mysteries: Cretu deliberately shrouded the album in mystery; "Sadeness" refers both to the Marquis de Sade and to sadness; the French lyrics challenge Sade about his beliefs; and the seductive vocals were performed by his wife Sandra. One of the album's special surprises is the appearance of the five-note Close Encounters of a Third Kind
theme. MCMXC A.D. popularized ambient drum loops and inspired many musicians to include Gregorian chant and classical vocals in their mixes. And somewhat ironically, Enigma set the stage for the runaway success of CHANT
-- an album of pure Gregorian chant sung by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos -- in 1994.