Ataraxia - Lost Atlantis - 1999


Ataraxia is 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. Each Ataraxia album has a life of its own; there are not two records merely similar and in none of them has quality lacked. In Lost Atlantis they show many years of study on the Atlantis culture, a mythical continent that supposedly submerged thousands of years ago and that has always fascinated the whole human race. For this purpose, the band has gathered classical texts such as the Estrabon’s Geography, the Herodoto’s History, works from Safus, Seneca, Plutarco, etc..


Well, the result is one of the most beautiful, oneiric and evocative Italian records, full of aquatic references that immediately involve the listener. Contrary to their previous works, Ataraxia makes use of more modern instruments (keyboards mainly) to be able to provide a closer approach of the marine world. Nevertheless, the acoustic guitars, percussions and, in particular, that beautiful angel voice from a woman called Francesca Nicoli, are the most remarkable parts of the CD.

I will make you a quick review of the album, although I’d recommend you vividly to experience it yourself. The short instrumental "The early days" takes us directly to "Daytia", a rhythmic topic in which Nicoli’s voice reaches a sublime technique. Not less sublime is "Aperiae", definitely one of the best tracks in the CD. It starts with sea-like sounds and beautiful acoustic guitar parts. The voice here is captivating and, along with the delicate keyboards, brings us to submarine Kingdoms. "Dolphins" shows us an unknown experimental side based on synthesizer sounds that reproduce the language of dolphins. "Agharti" is another beautiful acoustic composition that includes a flute. It gives you goose pimples! Once more, Nicoli’s voice leads us hand in hand through the submarine depths. "Fountains" is dark, tense, mysterious and captivating. Electronic music supports this time Francesca’s whispering vocals for one of the best parts of the album. "Mu-Land" is a song that takes us back to the medieval passages of "Historiae" just like the following track "Oduarpa", more quiet than the previous one and with a tremendously intense ending. The epic poetry comes back with "Lost Atlantis", a beautiful song with dramatic ambiences and a great tension that precedes "The land of sand of gold of ruin", another marine and experimental theme. It closes with "Departure" in the style of "The early days."


There are few things to add about this album. "Lost Atlantis" is a different CD made by Italians who are much more than simple musicians. In cases like this, when the limits of progressive rock become confusing, I always recommend listening to it before anything else, even though I am sure that you will end up surrendering to the enigmatic beauty of Ataraxia.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - July 2000 -   - Cruel Moon International