Do You Hear What I Hear?

John Leland

Newsweek (USA) 27 January 1992

Enya port in the storm: Pristine New Age

... At the quieter end of the spectrum, compact discs allow musicians to do this without the rumbling vibrations. Enya, the 29-year-old Irish New Age singer uses the exaggerated intimacy of digital technology to create a breathy, ethereal music that is ultimately as anonymous as techno. Her left-field hit, 'Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)', set sharp, electronic plucks underneath a wispy chant that sailed away as airily as its subject. Playing her new album, the vaguely hymnlike Shepherd Moons, is like listening to sound before it's been fully produced. You hear the moist breath gliding over her tonsils more than the nasty business of singing. At times - especially when she's alone with a resounding piano - she sounds inhuman, like a synthesizer. The loop between the surfaces of the sound and the listener gets so tight that it excludes the singer's humanity. At this range, all you get is air and soft tissue moving. This is sound about sound, technology about technology...

Note: Transcribed by Dan Pon and posted to, on 18 March 1995. This is an extract from a longer article about what post baby boomers are listening to