CD Review

Ataraxia – “Arcana Eco”

By Marcus Pan

Arcana EgoA very nice, slim and pretty cardboard fold accompanies this CD of ghostly ambience and classical overtones. Ataraxia take guitars, strings and add some backwash synthesizer to their music along with ghostly effects and vocals – the result is a feeling of deep antiquity that borders on just the edge of your black and white field of dreams. With the fold comes a second CD that contains the band’s press kit which is nothing short of extraordinarily done. Wonderfully artistic with Flash animation, PDF sections and it’s laid out in the format of an old tome.

Cobalt immediately ushers in a feeling of comfort with the Celtic rhythms and orchestration while applying female vocals hovering just beyond words to convey a deep seated idea of loss and age. The juxtaposition of the two has an eerie effect on your mind and psyche. Fans of the Medeival Babes or Dream Into Dust[1] would find a lot of brooding goodness here. Occasionally I find some of Arcana Eco leaning a bit towards operatic vocal movements which, admittedly, isn’t really my bag. The surrounding music however, the strumming and twinkling of Astimelusa for example, is nonetheless nice and bittersweet.

Mirsilo grabs a swifter rhythm with an Arabian-like style. Then we get a little old world Spanish as Fire in the Wood comes in powerfully and with gusto. Fire in the Wood is one of the highlights to Arcana Eco and retains most of its charm due to its close-to-roots exterior – a break from the backwashes is given here though the ghostly female vocalist is still wooing us with her cold touch. De Pourpre et d’Argent steps close to opera again, so I won’t comment much on it.

Ataraxia’s work here is brilliant on the whole with superb rhythms, old world classical and infused with dark elements and ghostly ambience. Well done – they’ve taken classical music and laced it with only a touch of modernism so Arcana Eco remains steeped in splendid antiquity.

Contact Information:
Strange Fortune
Post: PO Box 440383, Somerville, MA, 02144, USA
Phone: (617) 718-9990
E-Mail: salo@strangefortune.com
Web: www.strangefortune.com
[1] Dream Into Dust were interviewed in Legends #142.