Friday, August 31, 2012

Atrium Animae: Atmospheric Neoclassical Darkwave

Atrium Animae is a newer, still little-known band from Italy, which according to the pagan music review blog 'Vampires & Mortals', represents a sub-genre called "Atmospheric Neoclassical Darkwave." Now I know that a lot of black, pagan, Celtic, Viking, Gothic, folk, etc. metal is rough. However, this band captures something different. It is dark in the sense of a dark-clouded rainy winter day. It's not exactly Gothic, although some of the Gothic music I find very interesting. It seems to combine, to me, the heroic Germanic/Odinic ethic with a dark-themed "Gaulish" vent---to coin a term---within a more-or-less classical-style. Apparently, some of the songs have a Catholic origin. Just for the record, there's a big, big difference between symbolism which is dark in nature (the night, somber, foreboding, winter, rain, etc.), and something dark-hearted. Now, some types of metal, black metal, Satanic metal, do indeed go down this path; however it's important to make this distinction.

Atrium Animae made a splash within pagan music with their album 'Dies Arae', and especially the song 'Angelum Abyssi', which I could not find posted anywhere online. I heard it on Their offical website is; and they have a MySpace page in which you can listen to some of their music. They have a facebook page, which has many links to online reviews which reflect that they did make quite a hit with last years release; and was considered one of the years best in it's genre. Their facebook page defines the genre as "Neoclassical, Darkwave, Ethereal, Classical, Gothic, Ritual" and as "Symphonic, Neoclassical, Ethereal, Heavenly Voices with strong influences from classical and spiritual music." Projekt Darkwave is the record label of the band. I'm new to pagan music, so a lot of this is new to me. I wanted to also add a link to their song 'Rex Gloriae'. I find myself asking myself, is this music that good, or am I merely being smitten by something new? I think, for me, mostly the former. It's just like anything else, if you like something, and want to see more of it, you vote with your pocketbook.

From the pagan website 'The Wild Hunt':

The Italian band Atrium Animae was formed in 2007, their name is “considered as a symbolic representation of the passage from physical world toward an immaterial world.” The heavenly soprano of Alessia Cicala, a member of the band Chirleison, partnered with the compositions of Massimiliano Picconi, together create music on their debut “Dies Irae” that is stately in its atmosphere, a sacred enveloping that is almost funerial in outlook. Or as the band’s promotional material puts it: “A symbolic voyage in a silent wasteland made of treachery, defeat and spiritual hunger. A world where the locked embrace of loss and despair are represented through a reinterpretation of passages taken from religious and pagan texts.”

There are so many review sites, which is a good thing, but I can't put it all here; but I would like to put one from 'The Morton Report'.

Newly Released Album, Dies Irae, From Atrium Animae

With Dead Can Dance-like etherealism...
June 15, 2011
By Matt Rowe, Columnist

If you remember the gorgeous, brave, old world and another culture musical compositions of Dead Can Dance, then you remember how fixated you were on the combined talents of Brendan Perry and otherworldly vocalist Lisa Gerrard. Understood. Together, they crafted some of the most intriguing songs ever to be adopted by a hungry audience of music lovers, the largest ever for the kind of music Dead Can Dance produced.

Funereal and gothically-tinged, Dead Can Dance opened the pipe for tolerance of a new kind of music. Because they willingly approached music from a cultural standpoint, recreating until they found a common ground between the new music fan and those that are inured to the kind of underlying musical qualities found in classical works, they found a steadfast audience. In turn, they set the path for other bands.

Atrium Animae is an Italian duo, formed to express the kind of music that early-era Dead Can Dance embraced. The male component of Atrium Animae, Massimmiliano Picconi, is the keyboardist and master of the programming aspects supplied to the album. The stunning, layered female vocal work is the work of Alessia Cicala. Alessia Cicala was vocally trained in Conservatoire, and brings her haunting operatic soprano to the newly released 'Dies Irae' (June 14 via Projekt Records).

'Dies Irae' contains seven tracks of intensity, musically characterized by ancient Catholic religious rites often heard in films depicting such rites. The music explores authenticity in every corner of its dark and apocalyptic airs of foreboding wrath. The lyrics, drawn from antiquity, add an otherworldly quality. There is little to compare the grand content of 'Dies Irae' to other than the potential comparison of 'Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun' (1987) from Dead Can Dance, as well as choice selections of other tunes from various early DCD albums. Suffice it to say that 'Dies Irae' is a meticulous exercise in a world completely unlike our present one.

The music heard on 'Dies Irae' is not for everyone. It might not even be for you. But if you listened admiringly to anything by the greatly missed Dead Can Dance, then you'll find something to appreciate here in this bold, new album by a band that insists on being who they are. The goal here is to put up a new signpost leading to a new discovery for you. Hopefully, you'll be intrigued.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

'The Alpine Goddess' (an original new poem)

'The Alpine Goddess'

Oh Lady Reitia
The goddess of health
To your people
There was no greater wealth

You reigned from the frost of the mighty Alps
To the warmth of the sunny Adriatic
Your ancient shrine in the Euganean Hills
Still proudly stands emblematic

They left you offerings of pottery, metal, and inscription
And called you “the good and kind”
Which even today show us
Where you stood in your peoples’ mind

The winds of time have faded your memory
However, your place in history has been sewn
Although some may hold onto hope
That you may still be watching over your own

--by Camunlynx


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

'Into the Night' (an original new poem)

'Into the Night'

The Goddess Nyx calls out to me
"Come into the arms of the night"
Into the water of the deep sea
Without so much as a fight

I feel the cloak of her stars
holding me secure and close
To her who holds me near and far

And never to listen to those
who would say that I should stray
From what I feel in my heart
For in my life who are they
Who have been there from the start


The Gods and Goddesses who be
The light and way of my heart
Through all they always see me
They've been there from the start

--by Suzanne, our friend in Mississippi


Monday, August 6, 2012

Greta Cicolari and olympic beach volleyball

Probably like a lot of people, I find the London Olympics to be a bit overwhelming. So many sports, over several weeks, ambiguous scheduling, and multiple channels covering it. So I have caught a few events here and there.

Yesterday I was watching the American womens beach volleyball team of May and Walsh against the Italian team of Cicolari and Menegatti. I didn't specifically watch it because they were playing "Italy." Beach volleyball, especially the women's game, has become very popular in recent years; and not only because they play in what amounts to bikinis.

May and Walsh are going for their third straight Olympic gold metals, and may be the best team in the history of woman's beach volleyball. Greta Cicolari was born, and lives in Bergamo; and amazingly, the 29 year old only started playing the sport three years ago. The other young woman, Marta Menegatti, is from the Veneto, and is only 21 years old. She grew up idolizing Misty May. Cicolari and Menegatti gave a pretty good account of themselves, but May and Walsh were always one or two steps ahead of them.

There are many great athletes from the Cisalpine north, and they always do very well in the Olympics; but it was still nice to see a Lombardian woman competing on the top level last night. It's also inspiring to see any person take up a new passion and quickly excel at it. May and Walsh appear to be headed for their third gold, but the Brazilian team and the other American team are very good.