Ataraxia – “Deep Blue Firmament” (2016)

Label: Sleazy Rider Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Tranquillity is the short translation of Ataraxia, they are of course also a band with a massive output – they have created 29 albums in their career since the early 90s! The latest of those is “Deep Blue Firmament”, forged with the passion which must drive all the band members to have such a prolific career. This album has a general theme of exploration, however the poetry of their musical compositions feels too complex to simply categorise. Ataraxia have style alike an interplay between innocent light beams and sombre darkness. Even though the general mood is calm there is still considerable drama at play. Atmospheric, ethereal, and ambient are all suitable descriptions of what you experience. “Delphi”, the first song, opens with a repeating four note melody sounding like a simple musicbox. It is gradually joined by various musical elements including a chanting vocal style. Overall it reminded me of the music created by Enigma – though more acoustic. Cello playing features on this song and throughout the album, it is my favourite musical element of “Deep Blue Firmament”. “Message to the Clouds” follows on from “Delphi” with a vocal/cello duet introduction. On this and many of the subsequent songs the lead vocals spend significant periods in an upper range which, combined with generally acoustic and sometimes symphonic backing, gives the album a gothic choral sound. As “Message to the Clouds” progresses guitar and percussion are added, in this case I am reminded of Mike Oldfield. The album stays in the zone created by the first two tracks throughout, though each song has its own personality. One of the final tracks, “Phoebe”, transitions from a simple acoustic arrangement with the power of added orchestral elements – it is my favourite song on the album. There is a lot to love about “Deep Blue Firmament”. So much so, I am inspired to find out more about Ataraxia. Having not heard their creations previously I am most impressed by “Deep Blue Firmament” and now face their huge back catalogue with anticipation. They are obviously successful with such a career, and deserve a trial from those delighted by the magic of music. The band claim they perform as “craftsmen of sound” at a crossroads of Mediterranean and Celtic cultures and I can only agree.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Delphi
  2. Message to the Clouds
  3. Greener Than Grass
  4. Myrrh
  5. Alexandria Pt. 1
  6. Rosso Sangue
  7. Galatia
  8. May
  9. Vertical
  10. Ubiquity
  11. Phoebe

 

Line Up

  • Francesca Nicoli – Vocals, Flute & Recorder
  • Vittorio Vandelli – Guitars, Percussion & Vocals
  • Giovanni Pagliari – Keyboards & Vocals
  • Riccardo Spaggiari – Percussion & Vocals

 

Links

facebook.com/AtaraxiaFB

ataraxia.net/

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