Jan 3, 2016

Sundaze 1601

Hello, let's start the new year with 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.

For Epicureanism, ataraxia was synonymous with the only true happiness possible for a person. It signifies the state of robust tranquility that derives from eschewing faith in an afterlife, not fearing the gods because they are distant and unconcerned with us, avoiding politics and vexatious people, surrounding oneself with trustworthy and affectionate friends and, most importantly, being an affectionate, virtuous person, worthy of trust.

For Pyrrhonism, given that neither the sense impressions nor the intellect, nor both combined, is a sufficient means of knowing and conveying truth, one suspends judgement on dogmatic beliefs or anything non-evident. It is from this suspension of belief ataraxia arises as one realizes one thing is 'no more' than that. No more up than down, no more wet than dry, no more hot than cold, no more night than day.

Today's artists 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.

Today's artists have dedicated their lives to art, to explore the nobleness of centuries in many possible ways (music, poetry, theatre, and photography). They are an Italian neoclassical band who combine modern technology with archaic instrumentation over various media, founded by Francesca Nicoli and Michele Urbano in November, 1985. In the first five years there were many musicians in the band, until finally Francesca Nicoli, Vittorio Vandelli, and Giovanni Pagliari became the basic line-up until today. Defined as 'craftsmen of the sound' because they create an unusual mix of sacred and profane, atmospheric and experimental, contemporary and early music, using acoustic and electric instruments as well, always with such language which fits best to the actual work.....N'joy

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Within the music of the so-called ‘Gothic’ movement they do exist many various tendencies. For example there is a clear, huge difference between the ‘Post punk’ and the ‘Ethereal’ front While the Post punk, deriving directly from Punk music, deals with a classic Rock set (bass, guitar, drums and voice, sometimes with key-boards), the Ethereal current is not so easily classifiable. When describing the Ethereal musical set, it is easier to list what is missing rather than what is part of it: it lacks the electric guitar, for example In its place we often find an acoustic twelve string guitar. Keyboards are important  There are no drums, however various types of percussion find their place. Very often there is no bass guitar. In few words, the Ethereal approach has no, or at least not much, ‘Rock’ attitude. Furthermore, it is to be said that the label ‘Ethereal’ is not such a good one and it is going to be used within this context only because at present we are lacking a better description. We could also talk about ‘Neo-classical’ bands for example, or ‘Neo-Medieval’, or ‘Neo-Folk’ as well but also ‘Dark Wave’ and so on, picking one of the many conventional labels that journalists have used in the past in the attempt to create a classification. In any case it is undeniable that those bands of the ‘Gothic’ movement that have the Middle Ages among their main references
are usually clustered under the label ‘Ethereal’

Among the so-called ‘Ethereal’ bands, the reference to the Middle Ages is not exclusive. In their careers these bands show a particular interest for the past in general, for myth and for the unusual and often also for the ethnic exploration As we can read in Ataraxia’s words below, lead singer Francesca Nicoli often says things like these:

"We are interested in history in its whole entirety; we travel across the ages to propose again, in current times, the spirit of Time, seeping through our sensitivity  We have embraced several historical periods, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Classic Greece, the Baroque era and the Nineteenth Century; soon we will go back as far as 10 000 years from now to achieve Atlantis "

It is correct and, for many years of their long career, reviewers have recognized many references to the Middle Ages in Ataraxia’s works  For Ataraxia, this has been the key of their musical evolution throughout the Nineties, at least until the beginning of the second millennium. With reference to the first album, Simphonia Sine Nomine (1994): ATARAXIA’s interesting combination of Classical, Medieval, Choral & mood music has appealed to me from the moment I first heard it
With reference to the second album, Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam (1994):After Ordo Equitum Solis or Black Rose, Italy presents us ATARAXIA, another band that walks into medieval reigns

The apex of Medieval references in the Ataraxia’s production was reached with Historiae (1988) and Sueños (2000)  The following sentence, The CD, almost as if it was a time-machine, carries us onto a theatre of ancient sounds and emotions, typical of the Media Aetas, 6 where «Media Aetas» literally means «Middle Ages». Ataraxia have reported many quotations of medieval music in their career

Ataraxia is an Italian neo-classical band who combine modern technology with archaic instrumentation over various media. They 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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The very first edition of Nosce Te Ipsum, was released personally in a very limited edition in cassette format in 1991, before Ataraxia signed to the Energeia label. This here it's 08 remaster

a music which deserves a much wider audience. Comparisons with such people as the Cocteau Twins, Enya, Clannad are inevitable but these influences (if such they are) show through rarely - and the vocalist sounds a little more like a lighter, more melodic Nico, although again, this is an easy cop out, for your humble reviewer - her voice is probably stronger than any of those mentioned below.

The album opens with "Aigues Mortes" - large and dramatic music built around a thudding bass drum. The vocalist has a strong voice which follows the music perfectly while choral backing adds just the right amount of colour. "Te Es La Force Du Silence" follows with a sort of crossover between the Cocteau's and the Brith gof / Test Dept album sound - melodic yet retaining a spine of pure granite. "Fleè Et Fabian" follows this, again like the Guthrie / Frazer partnership, but somehow this reaches further, goes beyond mere music to tap human emotion, showing us some place of beauty and inspiration we didn't know we were missing. It ends leaving you feeling empty with loss in the visceral seat of your soul. "Nosce Te Ipsum", the last track on side one begins a little Folksy/Medieval, then gains a good running pace, carrying the listener along on a tide of intense music.

"Zweistimmenstauschung" starts side two, another fastish-paced, massive piece of music which diversifies in style and composition at intervals, keeping a hard, tight sound while making occasional forays into the field of tense madness. "Torquemada" - which may be about that nice Spanish guy - has a chilling hardness with a rising sound which might give members of Whitehouse bad dreams. It has a Middle-Ages feel to it, which certainly adds to the atmosphere. "In Articulo Mortis" closes the album with a medium-paced track - fully-fleshed out but somehow loose, closer to improvisation, this time the vocalist bringing Siouxie to mind, even to the point of gritty flanged guitar.

Ataraxia - Nosce Te Ipsum (flac 257mb)

01 Prophetia 1:37
02 Aigues Mortes 6:20
03 Tu Es La Force Du Silence 4:19
04 Flée Et Fabian 4:43
05 Nosce Te Ipsum 6:23
06 Zweistimmenstäuschung 6:19
07 Torquemada 4:40
08 Incabala 3:31

Ataraxia - Nosce Te Ipsum (ogg   91mb)

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Ataraxia's interesting combination of Classical, Medieval Choral & mood music has appealed to me from the moment I first heard it. This 11 track album, the first they released as a cd is a slow-grower, lacking the immediacy of the previous cassette only releases. But the sound, presented here more for it's strident strength & energy than it's often beautific images, slowly invades the mind, seducing the listener with forceful songs which combine Nico's flat strength with martial music which could come from Death In June or Test Dept circa "Gododdin". Where many of their previous works give the impressions of shifting diaphanous walls of time, religious obsession, darkly mysterious happenings, and beauty - always beauty - this album sounds almost like protest music, an often clever Folk music backing of acoustic guitars and simple hammered sounds, mixed with sweeping keyboard strings driven often by the fast martial drumming. But it's always, Always those layers of voice which make them so distinctly Ataraxia. Ataraxia are always worth seeking out for those gorgeous waves of female voice which wash over the listener in wraith-like waves, like ghostly Nuns plain chanting through time & dimension. I'm not totally convinced they chose their material well enough to show the world how highly they should be regarded.

Ataraxia - Simphonia Sine Nomine  (flac  301mb)

01 Preludio 0:46
02 Entrata Solenne 3:38
03 Canzona 3:19
04 Inno Corale 3:06
05 Fuga Trionfale 3:36
06 Preghiera 6:10
07 Marcia Cerimoniale 4:14
08 Elevazione 4:38
09 Pastorale 4:34
10 Ode 4:43
11 Vespertilia 6:37

Ataraxia - Simphonia Sine Nomine   (ogg   103mb)

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The combination of ancient instruments and modern technology convinces across the board. As a highlight exceptional is the unusually deep vocals of frontwoman Francesca Nicoli and the skilled use of flutes. Ataraxia have not yet the maturity of the gods of the genre, Deal Can Dance, as succeeded to significant pieces make but curious for more Anyone who is interested in even remotely for Gothic, Neo-Classic or Ethereal, this should not be missed under any circumstances. You can almost feel the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and listens quietly in the distance the sound of the sea. The deep, rich voice of Francesca Nicoli robs you, like on any of Ataraxia's albums, of your breath  .

Ataraxia - Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam (flac 409mb)

01 Prophetia 1:37
02 Anno Domini MDLVI 5:53
03 Aigues Mortes 6:21
04 Tu Es La Force Du Silence 4:21
05 Flée Et Fabian 4:44
06 Nosce Te Ipsum 6:21
07 Zweistimmenstäuschung 6:20
08 Torquemada 4:41
09 Bleumarine 3:05
10 Vitrage 4:05
11 Aquarello 9:10
12 Emeraude 7:50

Ataraxia - Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam  (ogg   150mb)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gelukkig Nieuwjaar