Ataraxia - Llyr - 2010



The protagonist of this new musical voyage of ATARAXIA is an avatar, a spirit of light, a healer and a shaman who has taken different form and bodies and has traveled all over the ages till nowadays ...


... This being was born in the mythic Age of Gold, a time in which the male and female sides of human beings were in perfect harmony, a time in which humans didn't need to pray Gods because they were Gods themselves, a sparkle of light shone inside them. They were wise, complete, fulfilled, in harmony with all the living beings surrounding them. Then the Silver Age came, a time in which women, the feminine essence managed to keep a strict relationship with the primigenial forces, Nature laws, all what was sacred and sacredness itself. After, the Age of Bronze came, it was the time of warriors, of virility, brute force and blood, courage and violence. Then we got here, to the Age of Iron, our time, a phase were, apparently, all the values have been turned up-side-down, the links among women, men and primigenial forces have weakened, beauty, grace, harmony and intensity have been forgotten. Crossing different times in different forms (a noble horse, a centuries-old forest, a huge mountain, a sacred drum, a prophetess, a deep abyss, a holy source, a wind, a healer), living different experiences in places very far the ones from the others with traditions, codes, beliefs that were, sometimes, actually distant, our avatar and shaman kept on following his/her path keeping his/her flame alight and vivid, always believing that an awakening, a new awareness in balance with the laws of earth and cosmos can be still achieved. Through music as well and through singing, as voice is made to celebrate, to heal ...

Three years after the last studio album “Kremasta Nera” (which was released on the Italian label Ark Records), Ataraxia is back with a new album on the French Prikosnovenié label. Llyr (Lyra) is the name of the instrument of the Bards and the Greek lyrical poets. For me a new acquaintance with this unique band which I would classify under the label Neo-Classical. But really you can't label a band like Ataraxia ... who earlier said about themselves... “We define ourselves 'craftsmen of the sound' because of the wild, unusual mix of sacred and profane, early and contemporary, neoclassic and experimental music we create”. progVisions is crossing borders again to inform you about this wonderful world ... the world of music (beauty).


Francesca Nicoli - vocals, flutes; Vittorio Vandelli - classical, folk, 12 strings guitars, chitarra battente, backing vocals; Giovanni Pagliari - keyboards and harmonizing, backing vocals; Riccardo Spaggiari - drums and percussion


After the slow and mysterious opening of “Siqillat” the drums give the song some temperament and the swelling synths are bringing the music slowly to a climax. Next song is the Scottish traditional “Scarborough Fair” which everybody will know ... but this version is of course very special. I like the the combination of the delicate vocals and guitars next to the drums and the beautiful orchestrations. Francesca Nicoli uses her voice in “Quintaluna” as an instrument. It has some beautiful vocal melodies and at one point I had to think of Lisa Gerrard ... because of the way she sings. “Llyr” has a great opening with a delicate classical guitar. The drums and the keyboard orchestrations brings the song to the next level. Again beautiful melodies can be heard. The short “Elldamaar (part 1)” is more up-tempo and mysterious. “Evnyssien” is an impressive and delicate song with beautiful vocals and acoustic guitars, flutes and percussion, one of the many highlights of this wonderful album. In “Klepsydra” you can hear some influences of Indian music. The musical palet of Ataraxia's music is still growing. Francesca's singing is at some points breathtaking. This track is one of the finest ... the guitar brings a relaxed Mediterranean feel to the music, the flute lies on top of a bed of beautiful synth melodies and Francesca's voice is woven in between. The percussion in “Klepsydra” brings back some of the Indian influences. The song has a kind of lightness. While “Elldamaar (part 2)” contains more of the dark, intriguing and mysterious side of Ataraxia's music. The last two compositions are impressive. The first one is called “Payatry Mantra” and is based on an Indian traditional (the “Mantra of Illumination”). “Voice is made to sing, to celebrate, to heal”. With “Borea 1” we return to the sounds of the sea. Ataraxia fans will recognise this ... what can I say about this song, it is breathtaking and goes straight for the hart. No further words for this highlight of this wonderful album ... I just want to listen and enjoy the purity of real beauty.


With “Llyr” Ataraxia has made a very strong and beautiful album. The album is in balance and has no weak points. As always the voice of Francesca Nicoli pulls the most attention but there was no Ataraxia without the wonderful musicians Vittorio Vandelli, Giovanni Pagliari and Riccardo Spaggiari. On “Llyr” you can find great orchestrations and beautiful melodies. Recommended for the adventurous music lover. The one with an open heart to discover the beauty of real progressive music ( ... speaking of crossing borders ... ).

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - September 2010 -   - Prikosnovenié