Dementia Ad Vitam - _L'Éloge de l'Origine_
(Pest Productions / Owltree, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
The third Dementia Ad Vitam studio album is the band's most mature, artistic and accomplished work to date, delivered by skillful hands and beautiful minds courtesy of an ensemble of young neo-classical musical geniuses from Southern France.

Listening to _L'Éloge de l'Origine_ (loosely translated from French as "The Unbridled Appreciation and Gratitude for the Origin"), is like descending into the Garden of Eden for a brief coffee break. The sounds gushing out of the loudspeakers -- the vivid, colorful sonic rainbow they portray -- are the equivalent of a siesta for the soul in the most beautiful and magical orchard out there, situated somewhere in the Universe, not necessarily on Earth.

Dementia Ad Vitam have recorded a masterwork of neoclassical supreme beauty that's mostly acoustic, but here and there also aided by some technology-driven devices. The result is engrossing in the music's capacity to convey crystal-clear visions, created by intriguing and exquisite compositions, spawning in turn a highly transcendental ability attributed to the sublime songs; the ability of tearing the listener from the mire of earthen negativity and place him / her amidst an almost surreal, nature-bound, otherworldy place of perpetual beauty.

_L'Éloge de l'Origine_ is an ode to Gaia -- Mother Nature -- and the intangible, often fragile, bonds humanity shares with it; that's the "Origin", from whence everything had originated. The album succeeds in portraying the tumultuous relationships humans convey with their origin; at times grateful and at other times completely ungrateful. And in turn, Gaia's response; it can be either gentle and caressing or hateful and angry. The spectrum of sentiments is embodied by the various 'movements' comprising the album (there are fifteen of those).

The phenomenal music ranges from rainy, piano-driven lounge music, through divine neoclassical pieces, to dark / neo-folk, using sparse male and female vocals and a lot of background atmospheric sounds; the myriad of sonic flavours, moods and landscapes -- some exceptionally tranquil and some dark and enigmatic -- are exercised by a piano, violin, dulcimer and an acoustic guitar, rendering the recording organic, almost like an unplugged live show. This album manages to romanticize Nature as a great mother of both love and scorn towards us, her offspring. You could hear that duality right in the music, painted so clearly on that silvery, star-lit, sonic canvas of Dementia Ad Vitam.

Every lover of quality music should listen to this album, as it's one of the finest out there in terms of compositions and ambiance. Sometimes mildly depraved and dark, at other times life-affirming and uplifting, the music of Dementia Ad Vitam is both intelligent and beautiful without the need to be extreme. At times bombastic and occasionally minimal, this is chamber music hallowing the elements and advocating Nature in an awe-inspiring manner, reminding us cynics that we are nothing but a mere speck of dust in the grand design.

Now go and make yourselves a nice cup of herbal tea, put this album in your stereo system, and sip slowly from your mug while Gaia whispers her most haunting lullabies into your ear.


(article published 10/9/2014)

10/31/2010 C Drishner 8.5 Dementia Ad Vitam - De Gaia, le Poison...
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