Ataraxia - Sueños - 2001


Two years after releasing "Lost Atlantis", the musicians of Ataraxia (Francesca Nicoli: vocals, flute, cymbals; Vittorio Vandelli: classical and medieval guitars, vocals; Giovanni Pagliari: keyboards, vocals; Francesco Banchini: percussion, clarinet and vocals; Lorenzo Busi: actor) go out from monasteries, gardens and oceans to offer us another CD plenty of musical investigations, art and beauty entitled "Sueños", an album divided in three different parts, with diverse instrumentation, atmospheres and languages. These Italian musicians go on exploring with each CD they release instead of repeating the same music. Let´s go with the review of "Sueños" (with beautiful photos taken at "Arcana Europa" festival in Spain) and if you want to know more about this band, you can take a look at the interview and biography in progVisions.


The first part of the album - Ego promitto domino - opens with the polyphonic and monastic "Parti de mal" in which some voices form a leiv motiv motiv while a male voice leads all the choral. The second track is the happy "Saderaladon". Great work of Francesca whose voice multiplies in a cascade of wonderful voices which continue in the enigmatic and delicate beauty of "Belle jolande", a journey through an unexplored territory with the compass of the voice, the percussion and the Spanish guitar. The first part finishes with "Il bagatto", a medieval traditional song covered years ago by Jordi Savall and, the most popular cover, by Blackmore´s Night (yeah, "Play Minstrel Play", the song in which Ian Anderson collaborates and Ritchie signs as if it was an own composition). This version is closer to Savall´s and, of course, it maintains that medieval air with a nice duet of male and female vocals.

The second part - L´âme d´eau - begins with a very decadent and sad song in which an accordion sound transports us to the fog of the ports of Marseilles. The melancholy and the aquatic references persist in "Eleven", another sad song, and in the enigmatic, fragile and crystalline "Mnemosine". The last track, "I love every waving thing", is an Ataraxia´s statement about their love for oceans.

The third and last part of "Sueños" is Sandy dunes, an allegory to the miscegenation produced by the irruption of the Islam in the European medieval music. The first song "Encrucijada" ("crossroad" in English language) is simply a doctoral thesis about the influence of the Arab world in the Spanish medieval musical forms. All those Arabian influences along with European influences (and, in spite of what people think, more European than Arabian) in Spanish music create the worldwide known style "Flamenco". "Funeral in Datea" it is more solemn, martial and epic, evoking anonymous gestes and legendary victories of the Crusaders, while "The corals of Áqaba" is a marvelous acoustic song with Francesca´s vocal harmonies impossible to describe with human words. The grand finale of Sandy dunes and therefore the whole CD is "Nemrut Dagi", probably one of the most epic tracks written by the band.


I hope you have followed my advice when I recommended you "Lost Atlantis". As a quick reference, those who have already crossed the threshold toward the worlds of Ataraxia, will find in "Sueños" some elements which transport them to other albums of the band ("Ego promitto Domino à Historiae"; "L´âme d´eau à Lost Atlantis"), being Sandy dunes the part with less connections. Anyway, Ataraxia continues with its constant study in new musical and artistic paths. You will discover this art and music if you listen to this wonderful and original band.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - February 2001 -   - Cruel Moon