TITLE: “SOUS LE BLANC ROSIER”
CATALOGUE#: SPR 040
FORMAT: 2xCD, jewel case + cartoon overcase
RELEASE DATE: 02.2007
OFFICIAL SITE: http://www.ataraxia.net
For sales in the territory of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine & Baltic States only
01. Hovering (new version 2007 / from 'Des Paroles Blanches' 2003)
02. Lucretia (from 'La Malediction d'Ondine' 1995)
03. Orlando a male (from 'Orlando' 1998)
04. The Gentle Sleep (from 'Saphir' 2004)
05. Blanche (from 'La Malediction d'Ondine' 1995)
06. Bonthrop (from 'Orlando' 1998)
07. La Lira d'Apollo (from 'Il Fantasma dell'Opera' 1996)
08. Cobalt (from 'Arcana Eco' 2005)
09. Il Violino Incantato (from 'Il Fantasma dell'Opera' 1996)
10. Etretat (from 'Des Paroles Blanches' 2003)
11. Migratio Animae (from 'Kremasta Nera' 2007)
01. Antinea (from 'Historiae' 1998)
02. Belle Jolande (from 'Suenos' 2001)
03. Agharti (from 'Lost Atlantis' 1999)
04. Filava Melis (from 'Historiae' 1998)
05. Incabala (unrealeased song)
06. Mnemosine (from 'Suenos' 2001)
07. Nei Sotterranei dell'opera (from 'Il Fantasma dell'Opera' 1996)
08. Outremer (from 'Saphir' 2004)
09. Alsicon (from 'Mon Seul Desir' 2002)
10. Keladine (exclusive track 2007)
11. To be Without Being (exclusive track 2007)
I’ve already reviewed this a couple of months back (url at end of this) but as we’re going through the Shadowplay releases I felt I’d remind you it’s out there, because Ataraxia are the most adventurous and artistic band around within Goth waters, like a ghost ship with a troubled mind of its own and a figurehead sometimes scowling, sometimes enigmatic, sailing forever onwards. This is a fabulous double CD compilation of their more recent recordings, the earlier work having been assessed on the ‘A Calliope’ collection.
Always emotive in ways you can’t necessarily understand they send you into a dreamworld where things are often dark, where the past, represented by musical pomp and ceremony, collides with the present with style and guile, vocal mystery and elegant surroundings. It is a whole world. A very distinctive blend.
You will find more enchantment here than in most people’s record collection in terms of vivacious threats and harmonious havoc. So let us simply look at the three unusual entities again, because on here they have redone ‘Hovering’ from the quiet, controlled ‘Des Paroles Blanches’ EP and it remains exquisitely modest, waves in the background behind leisurely synth and whispered vocals which turned into high plumes and float through the hazy sounds.
Then we come to ‘Keladine, and ‘To Be Without Being’, the two exclusives, the former genteel, contemplative and softly stirred, gradually rising like an ashen angel, the latter sweeter with delicate guitar strands circling a darker central column and insistent, seemingly pained vocals.
That leaves 19 of the best things you could want to hear, so if there’s one record I would recommend as a gateway to another musical port dimension, this is it. Please don’t pass it by if you haven’t been smitten yet. It’ll be the start of something special.
Don’t be taken in by the photo. Get too close and they’ll drown you!
In contemplating any selection for a ‘Best Of’ Ataraxia would always have an embarrassment of riches to sift through, and they’ve certainly left some in the bank. I appreciate they haven’t, without the exception of ‘Orlando (A Male)’, replicated anything from the earlier ‘A Calliope’ compilation, but even so this 2CD collection shows that while the band may appear fairly normal they are anything but. They include three songs from their “Il Fantasma Dell’opera” album, but nothing from “Simphonia Sine Nomine”, thereby excluding ‘Canzona’ or ‘Pregheira.’ Not one of ‘Aigues Mortes’, ‘Zweistimmenstauschung’, ‘Bleumarine’ or ‘Vitrage’ get on from the exceptional “Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam.” “The Moon Sang On The April Chair” is an odd record, littered with great tracks, such as the snappy title track or ‘Colouring Nocturnal Lemon’, the brooding ‘Satis Vixi’ and a gorgeous ‘Lady Lazarus’? but they are also turned away. Even “Concerto No. 6”, which they regard as pivotal in their existence, is ignored, so forget ‘Astore Serontina’, ‘Lei Morra’ or ‘Maybe-O-The-Leaves.’ “Paris Spleen” is not incorporated either. Then again, what can any band do with so much material? Leave anything well known out and people will be shocked, and there’s no ‘Oduarpa’ on this either. (They have included ‘Bonthrop’, morally obliged to under pain of death.)
I did wonder if they were trying to avoid any of the harsher material and give this the more modern flair and feel, but that doesn’t seem wholly the case, as they are still sharp moments amid the gloom and glamour. They have a newer, darkly fluid ‘Hovering’ (‘Des Paroles Blanches’) to open side 1 and then a droopy, weepy ‘Lucretia’ and pretty ‘Orlando A Male.’ ‘The Gentle Sleep’ is mature and deep, ‘Blanche’ high, bubbly and fluttery, ‘Bonthrop’ majestically mysterious. ‘La Lira D'apollo’ rises enigmatically behind the weird male vocals, and ‘Cobalt’ is beautifully shady, with so many exquisite threads moving through its subtlety is almost audacious. Some restrained majesty from ‘Il Violino Incantato’ moves into the crouched tension in ‘Etretat’ and lolling dementia of ‘Migratio Animae.’
‘Antinea’ makes a bracing, sternly sober opener on the second disc, where the traditional fare truly lurks, and ‘Belle Jolande’ makes you think you’re walking round an art gallery where the paintings have been stolen, while ‘Agharti’ has you convinced you’re surrounded by luxurious lunacy. ‘Filava Melis’ is stirring in a, ‘this is Sparta……Library, so sssssh!’ manner as it twirls and tickles, enchanting throughout. ‘Incabala’ is listed as unreleased song but I have it on the ‘Flowers Made Of Snow’ compilation. It’s inverted bitter-sweet Celtic cool, and then the trilly, sighing ‘Mnemosine’ floats swiftly like dandelion seeds trained in ballet. ‘Nei Sotterranei Dell'opera’ shatters the mood, huffing and puffing weirdly, before also rising to the skies,
‘Outremer’ is like an organic version of spaghetti western drama, the sweeter ‘Alsicon’ is almost bashfully beautiful, and then two wholly exclusive tracks are revealed which hover in the murkier end of “Saphir” material. ‘Keladine’ seems initially to be a troubled form of indie, as is ‘To Be Without Being’ but there’s a guitar threat slow to ignite, and wild vocals held back until the end and where they fit in the overall current scheme who knows?
Apart from the boring art and lack on information on a drab, all but unreadable insert, it’s stuffed to the rafters with brilliance, but given that there are no real extremes of tone exhibited here I will tell you what I think. It’s as if they have tried to equate the scope of all that they have done with how they feel and sound now. This means they can still pick material right across the board, but looking for what could, at a pinch, have been recorded over the last few years. It means it is still a representative collection of Ataraxia songs, but could also, to anyone who doesn’t know, be a new record!
That’s how good they are. You really wouldn’t know how old some of this is, and when they were recording the songs originally they were often way ahead of their time. Well, they still are, naturally, which is why you should take note of them if you haven’t yet had the opportunity. And where better to start than this?
SIMPHONIA SINE NOMINE 1994
AD PERPETUAM REI MEMORIAM 1994
LA MALEDICTION D'ONDINE 1995
THE MOON SANG ON THE APRIL CHAIR 1995
IL FANTASMA DELL'OPERA 1996
CONCERTO N. 6 : A Baroque Plaisanterie 1996
LOST ATLANTIS 1999
A CALLIOPE... COLLECTION 2001
MON SEUL DESIR 2002
DES PAROLES BLANCHES 2003
ODOS EIS OURANON 2005
ARCANA ECO (Book + CD) 2005
PARIS SPLEEN 2006
SOUS LE BLANC ROSIER 2007
IN AMORIS MORTISQUE 1995
IL FANTASMA DELL'OPERA 1995
SUB IGNISSIMA LUNA 1993
NOSCE TE IPSUM1991
NOSCE TE IPSUM 1991
WOULD THE WINGED LIGHT CLIMB ? - 1995
CONCERTO N. 6 : A Baroque Plaisanterie - 1997
OS CAVALEIROS DO TEMPLO 1998
SPIRITO ANCESTRALE 2002