Thursday, 7 May 2020

Tribute album "Midnight Man - Tribute To Songs & Sounds Of Michael Cretu" Reviewed

PBH Media continue their fine run of releases with two tribute albums, the first of which is a really
interesting project, it focuses on the music of Michael Cretu, the man behind Enigma.

The album is called "Midnight Man - Tribute To Songs & Sounds Of Michael Cretu", and once again we have some familiar names making a contribution, including, Vogon Poetry, Electric City Cowboys Ft Mia Moilanen, Leaderboard, Cliff Wedge Ft James Knights, Eurotix, Octolab, Uncreated and more.

The opening track is "Angel 07", by Paul Rein, a track originally released by Hubert Kah, this version has been given a fresh modern day sound, which reminded me of the sound of Italoconnection, warm synths and throbbing bassline, a fantastic vocal too.

"Samurai" was originally a single released by Cretu in 1985, Octolab's cover retains that 80s sound, fantastic synth work, again I love the bassline, superbly produced, a song that suits Octolab perfectly.

Retroteque & MJ Ft Louise Marchione tackle the track "The Different Story (World of Lust and Crime)", a track Cretu co-wrote with Peter Schilling, which has been given a brilliant italodisco makeover, a wonderful chorus that packs a punch, uplifting and infectious, an album highlight.

"Midnight Man" is a track Cretu Co-Wrote and produced for German singer Sandra, and our dear friends Eurotix put their mark on this song, and they have done a fine job too, this bass driven gem is fabulous, Dennis and Larry have a track record, for producing melodic infectious songs, and that is exactly what they have done with this track.

"Don't Be So Shy" is a song that dates back to 1985, when Michael Cretu was in a band called Moti Special, Stormby have covered the track, and it is a synthpop diamond, memorable chorus, superb production, for me, better than the original.

Francesca e Luigi have covered the track "(I'll Never be) Maria Magdalena", this is a band that is getting some well deserved attention and they have just released their debut album "Disco darkness", worth checking out.

They have done an excellent job on this track, outstanding vocals over a fantastic synth backdrop, everything about this track is perfect, catchy, melodic and fun. The song was co-written by Michael Cretu and is another song recorded by Sandra.

You just know that if James Knights is featured on a track, you are going to get energy, and his collaboration with Cliff Wedge (The duo collaborated on a fantastic cover of "10 O'Clock Postman") on the track "Cold Days, Hot Nights", doesn't disappoint, a mighty fine pop song given the perfect synthpop makeover, originally this track dates back to 1985, again when Cretu was part of the band Moti Special, it was a hit in Germany too, reaching number 3 in the charts there.

Another band we have followed for a number of years are Vogon Poetry, their brand of synthpop is both endearing and warm, their task was to cover the song "Secret land", they have produced a darker sounding track, that works really well, as ever strong emotional vocal delivery, a strong melodic take on the song originally co-written by Cretu for singer Sandra.

Electric City Cowboys have teamed up with Mia Moilanen to cover the track "In The Heat Of the Night", once again they deliver, it is pure pop from start to finish, the vocals by Mia work perfectly with Electric City Cowboys soundscape, a very memorable highlight on this album, I highly recommend you check out ECC's debut album "Superstar", for more infectious synthpop bliss.

This is another co-written track by Michael Cretu for German singer Sandra, what strikes me about the songs featured on the album is Cretu can write some brilliant pop songs, a world away from his Enigma output.

Wow what a start to Uncreated's cover of "So Many People", that melody synth sound is just heaven, the chorus hits you like a firecracker, the combination of Patrik's vocal and the synth sounds used, awesome! One of the best tracks produced by Uncreated, a candidate for best track on the album. I don't need to say anymore, just listen to the track! The track was originally featured on Hubert Kah's album "Sound Of My Heart", produced by Michael Cretu.

Stormby has a second track featured on the album, and it is a collaboration with Peter Wilson and Yuhniversia, they have recorded the track "Hi Hi Hi", and it won't surprise you to learn it was another track Cretu co-wrote for Sandra. This version again has a killer chorus and the music is wonderfully produced, a well executed cover.

"The Picture" is a track covered by Leaderboard, I really like the feel of this track, more of a ballad, the sound is superb, every synth has it's place in the mix, a strong vocal, a well executed cover version, another highlight for me.

"Missing Words" is a cover of a track that was released as a single by Cretu & Thiers in 1987, the title of the original being "When Love Is The Missing Word", the track has been covered on this album by Humanoid Invasion and they have kept faithfully to the original, a beautiful piano section over the synths and beats are what makes this track, it's melodic and has plenty of synth hooks, an excellent cover version.

{ich} close the album with a cover of an Enigmna track, dating back to 1993, called "Silent Warrior". They have done a mighty fine job too, sounds like Enigma! That's the best compliment I can pay. They have done their homework here, a soundscape that has both dark and light sounds, an excellent way to close the album.

It has to be said PBH Media know how to deliver music that fans want, this compilation is superbly executed by every artist that appears on the album, a testement to the respect they have for Niclas Blyh, the man that runs the label.

A superb collection and a really intereasting choice to pay tribute to the work of Michael cretu, which shows their is a lot more to his music than just Enigma, this has been an education listening to this album and finding out about the original tracks that have been covered.

Highly recommended 9/10

The album is available on both CD and as a Digital Download from Bandcamp here:

Midnight Man - Tribute To Songs And Sounds Of Michael Cretu

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