Jan 31, 2016

Sundaze 1605

Hello, we've started the new year with a month of, what in a sense is the concept behind sundaze music. Ataraxia is a Greek term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a lucid state of robust tranquility, characterized by ongoing freedom from distress and worry.

Today the fifth and final post on these Classic Goths, they are an Italian band and that means outside the Anglo-US sphere and it's dominance in the musical realm. As a result just getting noticed is no mean feat, and i hope by giving them some over exposure here, i gained them some more fans. Who knows, one day you might be able to see one of their shows..

“It’s a form of wisdom,
 humbly and indulgently,
 seeking inside ourselves
 the deep meaning of life,
 rather than expecting the others
 to give us
 their truth.”

Today's artists are one of those "condemned bands" that, due to their style, move between several fan environments. Prog heads, Gothic, lovers of medieval music, etc. have already surrendered to these magic and unclassifiable Italians. Their music takes after infinite sources whose roots belong to classical cultures (Greece and Rome), to the Middle Age, to some texts and to more recent works. Their concerts are always held in places that provide a perfect scenery for their music (abbeys, churches, castles, gardens), and they are always full of theatrical parts, dances, poetry and, definitely, beauty.
They are master of the neo-period ambient darkwave sound that comes from combining medieval liturgical chants and subdued Gothic influences. Ataraxia often uses authentic French minstrel material as the basis for their songs. They use simple drum rhythms, basic acoustic guitar sounds, and the nostalgic sound of free flute to accompany the multilingual renaissance harmonies of vocalists Francesca Nicoli and Vittorio Vandelli.......N'joy

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Ataraxia is an ensemble that, since many years, works in the balance between avant-garde and tradition writing music, setting up performances and giving concerts consisting of several art forms like theatre, poetry, painting and dance in castles, squares, parks, concert halls, and theaters all over Europe and Latin America. We define ourselves 'craftsmen of the sound' because of the wild, unusual mix of sacred and profane, early and contemporary, neoclassic and experimental music we create. We feel like 'traveling minstrels' inspired by the inner and geographical voyages we make in places that still preserve the charge of centuries and the mystery of history. Walking along old paths and listening to the call of the stone we become a 'living crossroad' between the Mediterranean and Celtic cultures. We make researches and write music about European legends and Greek and Latin myths. Our lyrics are written in several ancient and contemporary languages, we try to give a musical shape to the treasures and revelations hidden inside each language. Contemplation, dream experiences, twilight and elegiac atmospheres, ritual movements and our memories float in the mysterious garden of Psyche and Desire where enveloping textures of notes meet the echo of both acoustic and contemporary instruments. Four minstrels paint whimsical musical landscapes opening passages on far-off dimensions able to stir up emotions and memories. We walk along a path that has its origins in a very far time. The Ancient Spirits are still speaking. Ataraxia's best performances take place in natural or architectural fascinating environments where magic flows as it happened in the primordial drama.

They are a neo-classical band who combine modern technology with archaic instrumentation over various media. Ataraxia describe their music as a cross "between sacred and profane, ethereal and neo-classical, contemporary and early music". They make researches into the European legends crossing the Greek and Latin myths. Contemplation, dreamy experiences, elegiac atmospheres, ritual movements float in a mysterious garden where contemporary textures of notes meet the embracing echo of classic sounds. Their lyrics are written in many ancient and contemporary languages as they try to bring to surface the hidden treasures and revelations that each language owns. Many of their performances take place in locations the band professes to possess specific spiritual qualities.Since the beginning of the group in the late 80's, they released some 25 albums.

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In the pantheon of conceptual artistic works, Italy's Ataraxia have certainly had highly acclaimed releases but there has always been the traditionalistic medieval approach to assure the fans that their beloved trio have not completely abandoned their sound. They have decided to do exactly that with this new album "Paris Spleen". A neatly tied up album of maniacle overtures. If only it was that simple.

"Paris Spleen" came about due to a medium by the name of Josephine Corelli who was continually tormented by visions of a long-gone Parisian institution known as Circus Kump, a collective of deviants who, according to the tale, put on their theater of the grotesque for only one night before vanishing completely. These visions commanded her to get in touch with Ataraxia, a band she knew nothing about but who were completely suited to channeling these long departed characters onto an album. The results speak for themselves.

Ataraxia are an outfit primarily known for their alienated, vitriolic sound courtesy of vocalist Francesca Nicoli's unique vocal range fortified by Vittorio Vandelli's precise yet historically resonant guitar work. For this outing, the orchestrations border on the monumental with violent flourishes of kettle drum thundering down the length and breadth of certain tracks and classical arrangements that will take your breath away with their delicate tapestries; the frailty of this album is its core, the tenuous level of detail twists and eddys out into the black luminous sea... this is Ataraxia possessed. Gone is the lilting wistful balladeering of their last few albums, it has been replaced by madness. An intoxicating mixture designed to confront and terrify, "Paris Spleen" showcases the beauty in chaos, the elixir of dark ideals which have always been with us, whether we want to acknowledge them or not.

Ataraxia - Paris Spleen (flac 402mb)

01 Bienvenue A L'Enfer! 6:11
02 Où Vont Les Chiens? 5:09
03 N'importe Où! 5:46
04 Mon Cher Toutou... 4:27
05 Le Marchand De Nuages 4:15
06 Le Saltimbanque Décrépit 5:20
07 La Reine Des Hommes Aux Yeux Verts 4:50
08 Tango Des-Astres 5:54
09 Longtemps Pierrette D'Orient 4:41
10 Oh Rhadamante 4:34
11 Petite Chanson Lycanthrope 4:02
12 A Votre Guise ! 4:20

Ataraxia - Paris Spleen (ogg   144mb)

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Ataraxia return to Greek shores to rediscover ancient rituals and traditions. A felt following of "Lost Atlantis". The natural accomplishment of the voyage. The record includes fourteen songs. It is initiated as a ritual, with a chanting based composition over which Francesca's voice recites in Italian about nature, ointments and rituals. The voice slithers sweetly in a snake-like manner or drops with energy with a bombastic feeling, always surrounded by choruses, swaying instruments and chimes. After the introduction, the percussion explodes with rich rhythm layers and an epic, elongated instrumentation over which the voice chooses the energetic reciting in English about the rituals mentioned above. The guitar line works as an instrumental response to the voice, glowing with the intense arpeggios.

The voice is, as always in Ataraxia, the element that distinguishes each song the most. It is directly related with the instrumentation: its intensity and pace. Yet the combination of the different ways Francesca has to sing are really the axis over which the song swirls. In many songs the voice is almost speaking, emotional and strong. In others it murmurs, and yet in others it moves into the singing high-pitched falsetto. Depending on where the voice goes, the song undulates from passion to vigor to intimacy to heavenly voices. 'Kremasta Nera' is a perfect example of the complexity of the voice work, and all songs where the voice chooses to introduce all different shades become enthralling, deep and changing compositions. In this case, it is constructed over the contrast of gliding guitar notes and longing synths where the singing moves into reciting and mourning, always with a glimpse of delicate beauty escaping just in time, before it can be completely explained. There are other songs in the record that are similar in this way. For example the haunting beauty of 'Efestia', where Francesca's voice moves into the height of its modulation capacity, initiation as a subtle and crystal-like chanting, sometimes gaining unusual strength and approaching. A composition, during four minutes, created solely by the voice work, reverb and echoes. The percussion then slowly moves in, as if summoned by the voice, wrapped in a dense atmospheric synth where the voice slowly dissolves.

'Ochram' moves back into tribal, oriental-like percussion, always with the atmospheric synths enveloping the sound and carrying the composition into a darker place. 'Therma' moves into a liquid watery sound, where the female voice walks in almost whispering words that glide through the music. It includes, however, a male and a female chorus that seem to playfully move in and out of the background almost touching. The final result is sensual, mysterious and impulsive, making a luring composition. The instrument combination and the voice line's freedom are, as always in Ataraxia, deliciously remarkable. Vittorio Vandelli is a superb musician, and the italian band have managed to make a mark in the music world through their surprising mixture of the old and the new. 'Kremasta Nera' is another voyage through imagination on the wings of Ataraxia's sometimes sweet sometimes belligerent, always seductive music.

Ataraxia - Kremasta Nera  (flac  465mb)

01 The Song Of Axieros 5:14
02 The Nine Rituals 6:07
03 Kremasta Nera 7:20
04 Ochram 4:59
05 Therma 3:38
06 Efestia 6:54
07 Ebur 4:12
08 Kaviria 6:01
09 Fengari 3:13
10 Klethra 5:09
11 Gria Vathra 2:55
12 Migratio Animae 7:23
13 Wings (I Had Once) 4:40
14 La Fame E La Danza 6:30

 Ataraxia - Kremasta Nera   (ogg   173mb)

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Three years after the last studio album “Kremasta Nera”, Ataraxia is back with a new album on the French Prikosnovenié label. Llyr (Lyra) is the name of the instrument of the Bards and the Greek lyrical poets.

After the slow and mysterious opening of “Siqillat” the drums give the song some temperament and the swelling synths are bringing the music slowly to a climax. Next song is the Scottish traditional “Scarborough Fair” which everybody will know ... but this version is of course very special. I like the the combination of the delicate vocals and guitars next to the drums and the beautiful orchestrations. Francesca Nicoli uses her voice in “Quintaluna” as an instrument. It has some beautiful vocal melodies and at one point I had to think of Lisa Gerrard ... because of the way she sings. “Llyr” has a great opening with a delicate classical guitar. The drums and the keyboard orchestrations brings the song to the next level. Again beautiful melodies can be heard. “Evnyssien” is an impressive and delicate song with beautiful vocals and acoustic guitars, flutes and percussion, one of the many highlights of this wonderful album. In “Klepsydra” you can hear some influences of Indian music.

The musical palet of Ataraxia's music is still growing. Francesca's singing is at some points breathtaking. This track is one of the finest ... the guitar brings a relaxed Mediterranean feel to the music, the flute lies on top of a bed of beautiful synth melodies and Francesca's voice is woven in between. The percussion in “Klepsydra” brings back some of the Indian influences. The song has a kind of lightness. While Elldamaar contains more of the dark, intriguing and mysterious side of Ataraxia's music. The last two compositions are impressive. The first one is called “Payatry Mantra” and is based on an Indian traditional (the “Mantra of Illumination”). “Voice is made to sing, to celebrate, to heal”. With Borea we return to the sounds of the sea. Ataraxia fans will recognise this ... what can I say about this song, it is breathtaking and goes straight for the heart. No further words for this highlight of this wonderful album ...

Ataraxia - Llyr (flac 345mb)

01 Siqillat 6:47
02 Scarborough Fair 5:52
03 Quintaluna 4:22
04 Llyr 5:58
05 Evnyssien 8:47
06 Klepsydra 4:50
07 Elldamaar 5:21
08 Gayatry Mantra 5:45
09 Borea 5:55
10 Lunar Oceans 4:12

Ataraxia - Llyr  (ogg   122mb)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rho - Looking forward to next batch of Sundazed offerings.