Ataraxia: An ethereal journey through neoclassical mysticism

Here's an Italian darkwave group that may be somewhat under the radar, yet still has a following.
Ataraxia - Os Cavaleiros Do Templo - 08. Aperlae
Ataraxia - Os Cavaleiros Do Templo - 08. Aperlae / agustin san roman

Ataraxia is an Italian band known for creating ethereal and neoclassical music with a strong emphasis on medieval, folk, and world music influences. According to their profile on Discogs, they describe their music as a cross "between sacred and profane, ethereal and neo-classical, contemporary and early music."

The band was formed in 1985 by Francesca Nicoli and Michele Urbano, and it has gone through various lineup changes over the years. Ataraxia's music is characterized by its haunting and mystical sound, often featuring ethereal vocals and a wide range of traditional and unconventional, typically acoustic instruments (and occasionally "trippy" elements). Ataraxia's music is often described as ethereal, neoclassical, and darkwave (and certainly there is some "goth" appeal). The band combines elements of medieval and folk music with a modern, atmospheric twist.

Their songs typically feature evocative, dreamy melodies and poetic lyrics. Francesca Nicoli, the band's primary vocalist, is known for her enchanting and ethereal singing style. According to Nicoli, “Music opens the doors of conscience making a voyage inside ourselves possible...”
Her vocals are an integral part of Ataraxia's unique sound. They are also quite prolific.

Ataraxia is a prolific act

Ataraxia has released numerous albums and EPs over the years. Some of their well-known albums include The Moon Sang On The April Chair(1995), La Malédiction d'Ondine (1995), Suenos (2001), and The Sentinel (not to be confused with the Judas Priest song). The title of the 2006 album Paris Spleen may refer to prose poems by Charles Baudelaire, which was described by the author with these words: "These are the flowers of evil again, but with more freedom, much more detail, and much more mockery."

International appeal, creative collaborations, and themes and inspirations

Despite being an Italian band, Ataraxia has garnered a dedicated following worldwide, particularly in the gothic and neoclassical music scenes. They have performed in various countries and are respected for their evocative live performances and elements of classical music. Ataraxia has collaborated with other artists and bands within the neoclassical and darkwave music genres. Their musical connections have allowed them to explore various musical styles and expand their fan base.

Ataraxia's lyrics often explore themes of mythology, mysticism, and romanticism. Their music draws inspiration from a variety of cultural and historical sources, which contributes to its eclectic and timeless quality. They are not the first band to do this, of course, but Ataraxia's unique blend of musical elements and their commitment to creating atmospheric and emotionally resonant music has made them a notable presence in the neoclassical and darkwave music scenes. Their work continues to captivate listeners who appreciate the band's ethereal and enchanting sound (and you can tell they might be "goth-y" because they talk about the "moon").

The current lineup

  • Francesca Nicoli - vocal, flute, programming (since 1985)
    Vittorio Vandelli - guitars, percussion, vocal, programming (since 1986)
    Giovanni Pagliari - keys, vocal, programming (since 1990)