Ataräxia is Julia Samadhi (vocals and piano), José Desdentado (drums), Francisco Fernández (bass), Alberto Donado (keyboards), Juan Velázquez (guitar) and José Ramón Muñoz (guitar), an experimental progressive rock band that emerged from the small town of Torre de Juan Abad in the municipality of Ciudad Real, about 240km south of Madrid, in 2006. The band was active until the end of 2011, writing original material and releasing a self-titled EP in 2007 (which included an interpretation of Mozart’s Rondo alla turca) and a demo CD in 2008 which included three of the songs that would eventually appear on the debut album: EL SONIDO DEL TIEMPO/THE SOUND OF TIME, INTERVALO/INTERVAL, and NUNCA MÁS/NEVER AGAIN.
With personnel living in three different countries it meant they were unable to record an album, but they got back together in 2018 to ensure the Ataräxia legacy was not lost. The album was recorded and produced over the next two years, physical distances and Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding, and was released on CD and streaming platforms in mid-December 2020. A crowdfunded limited edition vinyl release should be available sometime this year.
ATARÄXIA the album is a sonic representation of a journey through human existence, taking as its fundamental concept that we are lost in the vast, mysterious universe, without any apparent purpose. If we reflect upon this it can be daunting and scary and even tests our sanity. The band suggests that the emotions we experience throughout life remain in the shadow of the ruins of previous civilizations; the search for inspiration and the hope of finding a truth or a meaning is overwhelmed by the inexorable passage of time. The penultimate song INTERVALO returns us to where the journey began, that we are lost in the immensity of the universe. Final track NUNCA MÁS acts as an epilogue; we can reach a state of peace in which we manage to live with our doubts. It is not necessary to know the answer, and don’t have to be afraid of not having certainties.
The music and lyrics are the result of a collaborative effort. Samadhi has a good voice and sings exclusively in Spanish, which works very well, helping the album stand out. This is accomplished prog, highly melodic, with musicianship and writing of a high standard. It tends towards classic symphonic prog with nice development and an array of different time signatures, a good mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation, some more modern-sounding prog with a harder edge (parts of MOJANDO LA CORDURA which also has a jazzy section, vocals, guitar and organ), NUNCA MÁS is experimental post-rock, and there’s even some delicate flute provided by guest musician Verónica García-Muñoz on NUMEN.
The album is well produced too, courtesy of Miguel Ángel Ruiz and José Ramón Muñoz, with good clarity and intelligent layering of the instruments, and the packaging, with artwork by Blanca Lionne, reinforces the quality of the product.
You can buy the album from Bandcamp: https://ataraxiamusic.bandcamp.com/album/atar-xia
Ataräxia - En la inmensidad