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ALBUM REVIEWS : Musical Spirits Continue to Inspire Enya : *** ENYA, "The Memory of Trees", Reprise

December 02, 1995|DON HECKMAN

Enya still hasn't come out of her musical trance. That'll be good news to those who were captivated by "Watermark" and "Shepherd Moons," the Irish artist's two previous albums filled with blendings of multitrack vocals and synthesizers. On her new album (in stores on Tuesday), Enya remains on an ethereal plateau of her own, communing with musical spirits that seem to be generated by wind and tides.

Still, there's no denying both the technical proficiency and the mood-sustaining qualities of the 11 selections, which range from mysterious chanting and rich, orchestral-like textures to Enya's angelic, folk soprano (especially on "Hope Has a Place" and "Athair Ar Neamh") and nostalgic-sounding pianistics. As with all her work, the pieces flow together seamlessly, creating a kind of loose connectedness that almost demands that the album be heard in its entirety.

That Enya has written, sung and performed all the music herself is remarkable--less so for her sheer virtuosity than for her ability to bring everything together with such a degree of constantly absorbing musical and emotional authenticity. If anything can restore the tarnished image of New Age music, this may be it.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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