ATARAXIA: SAPHIR
CD: Cruel Moon BC-010 [2004]


Azar
Outremer
Jardine de lune
The gentle sleep
Rue - bleue
D'arc d'harpe
De pourpre et d'argent
A green for her voice
Blood of cherries
Of asphodel

With a fortified discography as sublime and musically proficient as Dead Can Dance, Ataraxia return with their latest full length album in two years, and this reprise is no less in stature with its predecessors. By Ataraxia's own admission, Saphir is an album dedicated to the magical gardens of myth and legend that inspires music of nature's spirituality: a portal for entering the realms of dream and fantasy. In such locales harmony and nature go hand in hand, a cradled animism protective of humankind's right and ability to have such freedom as to dream by inspiration of the nature's intrinsic aesthetics.

If you are familiar with Ataraxia's music you will find no dismay in experimentation for there is only room for refinement of skills well honed for their chosen theme. Romanticism, Classicism, Medieval, Folk and Baroque filaments form a backbone for the dark and beautiful expressions from Ataraxia.

Classical guitar deftly arpeggiates flickering, somber chords that weave into elements of flamenco flourish and defiance. Far from being pigeon-holed, Vittorio Vandelli adds restrained chaos with brush strokes of acoustic guitar before striking harmonic melodic pieces that either define the main expositions of other instruments or become a reflection of song melody itself. The percussive elements on this album, courtesy of Riccardo Spaggiari accompany Ataraxia with such subtlety that the listener could nary feel as if his mastery was not ever removed, from the unrelenting thunder of timpani to the lilting finger rolls and pinched bells of the many classical percussive instruments used on the entire album, truly showing that percussion is not only meter to music but has its own varied voice equal of any instrument. Giovanni Pagliari piano and keyboard skills conjoined in dance with acoustic guitar pattering, to blissful waves of synth and back to piano as necessary as any of the musical strains. Francesca Nicoli's voice as ever scales soprano heavens to graveled hells, tumid with emotion, carried as ever with a strength and operatic resolve that outshines any delicate sensibilities; hers is a sun over the land of musical accompaniments.

NYR

[Ataraxia] / [Cruel Moon]

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