Ataraxia - Kremasta Nera
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Full Length Digipack CD
Ataraxia return to Greek shores to rediscover ancient rituals and traditions. A felt following of "Lost Atlantis". The natural accomplishment of the voyage.
The record includes fourteen songs. It is initiated as a ritual, with a chanting based composition over which Francesca's voice recites in Italian about nature, ointments and rituals. The voice slithers sweetly in a snake-like manner or drops with energy with a bombastic feeling, always surrounded by choruses, swaying instruments and chimes. After the introduction, the percussion explodes with rich rhythm layers and an epic, elongated instrumentation over which the voice chooses the energetic reciting in English about the rituals mentioned above. The guitar line works as an instrumental response to the voice, glowing with the intense arpeggios.
The voice is, as always in Ataraxia, the element that distinguishes each song the most. It is directly related with the instrumentation: its intensity and pace. Yet the combination of the different ways Francesca has to sing are really the axis over which the song swirls. In many songs the voice is almost speaking, emotional and strong. In others it murmurs, and yet in others it moves into the singing high-pitched falsetto. Depending on where the voice goes, the song undulates from passion to vigor to intimacy to heavenly voices. 'Kremasta Nera' is a perfect example of the complexity of the voice work, and all songs where the voice chooses to introduce all different shades become enthralling, deep and changing compositions. In this case, it is constructed over the contrast of gliding guitar notes and longing synths where the singing moves into reciting and mourning, always with a glimpse of delicate beauty escaping just in time, before it can be completely explained. There are other songs in the record that are similar in this way. For example the haunting beauty of 'Efestia', where Francesca's voice moves into the height of its modulation capacity, initiation as a subtle and crystal-like chanting, sometimes gaining unusual strength and approaching. A composition, during four minutes, created solely by the voice work, reverb and echoes. The percussion then slowly moves in, as if summoned by the voice, wrapped in a dense atmospheric synth where the voice slowly dissolves.
'Ochram' moves back into tribal, oriental-like percussion, always with the atmospheric synths enveloping the sound and carrying the composition into a darker place. 'Therma' moves into a liquid watery sound, where the female voice walks in almost whispering words that glide through the music. It includes, however, a male and a female chorus that seem to playfully move in and out of the background almost touching. The final result is sensual, mysterious and impulsive, making a luring composition. 'Ebur' opens with an almost cinematographic epic sound and the effect-filled reciting and singing voice. Electric guitars, violent percussion and almost martial percussion create a theatrical song. The following 'Kaviria' recuperates the divergence between delicate oriental sounds and tribal percussion, while the voice softly recites and chants over the looping melody. During 'Kaviria' the percussion really shines, extremely well defined and ever changing. The guitar line opens 'Fengari' over some bird chirping and nature sounds. The voice moves in, singing clearly and with a sweet melody in stride. It marks off as a song where the voice almost doesn't recite, there is simply a clear song line followed into a world of smooth and silvery folk. In 'Klethra' the strong theatrical voice appears again over tribal percussion and the, excellent as always, guitar arpeggio. A sort of chorus appears in the song with a reciting and its answer, where the composition twists around and charges again. Surprisingly the synth line opens 'Gria Vathra', soon surrounded by vibrant percussion and they move around the entire song, playfully.
As a great contrast comes 'Migratio Animae' (which was also on, in a remixed version on the Waerloga/Radio Rivendell compilation The Book of War), with an almost dark wave beginning, where falling notes and a modulating voice line with a strong melancholic feeling. Francesca's voice really shines in this song, accompanied by simple somber notes, some bells and chimes, towards the end a violin synth, and an excellent melody line. In the meantime, a piano line breaks 'Wings (I had once)' where the voice immediately starts. It shakes off its tribal feeling and almost moves into a vintage world, laden with instruments, where the piano marks the melody and the pace. 'Migratio Anime' works as a uniting link, if it weren't there it would feel as if 'Wings' didn't even belong to this record. To end 'La Fame e la Danza' moves back into a folky world, with a weaving guitar line and the swaying voice backed by taciturn atmospheric notes. Suddenly the song changes pace, it gains a strong percussion and the voice line is elevated in yearning. It closes reprising the beginning, bringing back the ritual-like sounds of 'The song of Axieros'. The instrument combination and the voice line's freedom are, as always in Ataraxia, deliciously remarkable. Vittorio Vandelli is a superb musician, and the italian band have managed to make a mark in the music world through their surprising mixture of the old and the new. 'Kremasta Nera' is another voyage through imagination on the wings of Ataraxia's sometimes sweet sometimes belligerent, always seductive music.