Ataraxic Ataxia ‎– Shadow Sea


[Reviewed by stark]

This is an obscure project, with a strange name reminding me of my drunken efforts to write the name “Ataraxia”. Ataraxic Ataxia is an American duo consisted of Dominick Dufner and Nicole Pizzato, and their “Shadow Sea” is a reissue of CDr released in 2010.

Quite obscure this one is. They’re exploring the dusty corners of experimental underground. We’re welcomed by something reminiscent of a musical box playing some sort of fairy tale melody. It quickly becomes distorted and out of tune, at some point even touching a noise vibe. Then the raw live recording called “White Buffalo” follows, with a few loops, rather calm and minimal, which after a while are covered by noisy feedbacks and surprisingly sad violin sequences. And it makes a rather an interesting impression, like the Beauty fucking with the Beast, creating a corporeal maelstrom.

Then “A Masochist’s Heaven”, which seems like a good title for this particular track, as it has a dose of fixated bliss sneaking around these weird sounds bathed in a subtle shroud of white noise. Rhythmic electronic patterns come to the foreground later as the track turns towards a noisier direction, and the masochistic pain becomes more and more intense. “Shotguns, Phrenology, & A Steady Hand” is a set of rhythmic loops put on top of one another, and suspenseful violin textures – you guessed that right, the music on “Shadow Sea” is mostly based on contrasts between the raw electronics and delicate strings, sometimes very emotional, like in the finale of the 4th track.

And the opening of another, “If It Only Happens Once It May As Well Have Never Happened” – this time the violin battles with the swirling low frequencies and bizarre wailings of an unknown origin (possibly generated by a violin too). This piece is rather restrained compared to the previous ones, yet I’m not sure if it isn’t even more dramatic because of it. The closing of “Shadow Sea” is no different, apart from the fact that the noisy sequence goes berserk at the end, leaving nothing but havoc in the listener’s mind. Listen to it loud! The production maybe isn’t top notch, but it’s good enough to blow your head off. Obviously it isn’t any HNW or anything like that and – what’s perhaps even more important – these are not experiments just for experimentation’s sake (honestly speaking I was a bit afraid of that before the first listen). Even though it didn’t change my life in any way, I have to say I quite enjoyed this CD. Maybe you will too, check it out.

Ataraxic Ataxia ‎– Shadow Sea
CDr/Digital 2016

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