Got out the follow up emails for Aarktica & Vlor today.
A friend of mine sent me a picture of someone wearing a Silberspy mask, so I found a couple on ebay & ordered them. We’ll see how Silber they look in my hand.
Anyone reading this speak a language other than english as their dominant language & want to help me find some review outlets in your language? I think things are pretty okay for english & italian outlets, but things are a bit lacking in other markets.
Vlor got played in this week’s Gutter Trash comic podcast.
I have a ton of reviews I haven’t really been posting lately, so here’s some about Aarktica.
AARKTICA: IN SEA
To say In Sea is ideal listening for facing the notion of enormity, what with its epic-sized guitars and romantic ambience, perhaps best describes the work of Aarktica. After all, few could doubt the chilling grace that permeates, shifts and occasionally cracks these glacial studies of tone, which in their humble build or collapse bring to mind far-reaching horizons and barren landscapes. Yet to pontificate any which way Aarktica should be heard comes attached with a giant asterisk as its author, Jon DeRosa, doesn’t hear his records the way we do. Having suffered permanent, near-total hearing loss in his right ear due to nerve damage, DeRosa’s tale is a unique one; beginning with No Solace In Sleep, a recording that survived aural hallucinations and painkiller-addiction, Aarktica’s discography has been a battle for sound – first re-experiencing it, then exploring its new parameters.
Yet when I looked up his Myspace page, the first track I heard was ‘Seventy Jane’; a near-perfect pop track of new-wave vocals and chiming guitar. I’ve revisited that Matchless Years track several times since, each time finding another detail worth hearing on my headphones, but its indie-rock swagger seemed to void DeRosa’s painful back-story as if his hearing loss hadn’t prevented him from playing ball with everyone else. In Sea changes that; blurring the obvious pop hooks that sought to classify him and re-approaching his passion for tonal studies with a veteran’s wisdom, DeRosa has delivered what is being hailed as a return-to-form album by Aarktica fans. ‘I Am (The Ice)’ casts a frozen establishing shot for DeRosa’s guitar-work, peppering tense, processed strums against clouds of edgeless, warm tones. Its effect, both unnerving and calming, sums up the widescreen vibe of In Sea as a whole, stepping into deep layers of guitar structures that circle or swell in subtle patterns (‘Instill’, the title track). Better yet, DeRosa has incorporated tricks learned from his post-No Solace In Sleep shoegaze efforts, bringing bittersweet riffs to ‘Onward!’’s encroaching heaviness and welcome, moody vocals to album-highlight ‘Hollow Earth Theory’. While these restrained pop flourishes are sporadic and spread-out (only two cuts feature vocals), their post-punk feel provide enough pulse to jolt In Sea from its still-life crawl.
While Aarktica has proven capable of competing with any shoegaze band that can hear in stereo, DeRosa’s battle to understand sound has transformed his condition – which, in this art, should’ve been considered a handicap – into an advantage. Finding emotional details in minimal arrangements, In Sea is a homecoming for ambient-drone enthusiasts… a group that no doubt finds DeRosa at the front of the pack.
~ The Skeleton Crew Quarterly
Aarktica is the one man band consisting of Jon DeRosa…who, over the past few years, has developed a small but incredibly devoted cult following. In Sea is DeRosa’s sixth full-length release. Once again, it’s a total keeper. The album features trance-like atmospheric pieces and subdued pensive soft pop tracks…each flowing into the other like ocean currents. Although the overall sound is markedly different, the tone here is strangely reminiscent of Brian Eno’s Another Green World. Far too obtuse and cerebral for the casual listener, In Sea is an album that will continue to solidify Jon’s superior standing among other artists and esoteric music fans around the world. Subtle, distant, haunting, and mesmerizing tracks include “I Am (The Ice),” “LYMZ,” “In Sea,” “Instill,” and a truly peculiar cover of Danzig’s “Am I Demon?” TOP PICK.
the most suprising thing about this record is not the cover of danzig’s (video below) am i demon? it’s not the fact that the fella who made the bugger lost the hearing in his right ear. nope. the shock-o-rama here is that with that name, the song titles and the now standard for fans of: (gy!be, labradford, eluvium) it’s not only an incredibly pretty fifty minutes, but it’s a rather warm inviting melodic one too. it’s all very kranky-esque in it’s mixture of the deconstructed and reconstructed organic sounds of strings and keys. if i had to draw parallels, and i’m lazy so i must, it’d be the drawn out lynchisms of stars of the lid or the beautiful fractured slo-pop of windy & carl (who frankly never get the plaudits they deserve). yeah like i said this’d be the time i’d usually drag out all my snowy, blizzardy, glacial chilly wintry metaphors. but no. not today fuckers. this is more like sinking into the warm mediterranean sea, letting the water carry you, feeling the sun on yr face, oozing through closed eyelids, licking lapping gently on yr brain. no doubt everybody including derosa himself would tell me to shut my cakehole, that this shit is all epic blinding white and outerspace cold. well to that i’ll say whatevah. hint’s of joy divisions closer, terry riley, jangle pop on downers (i.e. low). it’s physical (my woofer is vibrating things across the desk as i listen). it’s emotional (not hysterical as some of this kindofthing tends to be). it goes mmmmm. as in the onomatopoeic noise to denote a pleasurable taste experience; as in the om like transcendental vibration that runs through the entire album. exceptional.
~ cows are just food
A splendid new album by Aarktica. Jon DeRosa steps away from electronics to come back to his early approach: rich and troubled arrangements of floating guitars. A marine-themed album with – paradoxically – earthy and ochre tones. Only two tracks are sung (including one unrecognizable Danzig cover); the rest consists in instrumentals that are at times optimistic, but mostly dreamy. Congratulations.
~ François Couture, Monsieur Delire
We have good news from old friends at Silber Records. They have found one of the very few bands from New York who can do something other than play very, quickly, very loudly, very sulkily and very badly. This wonderously rare band is called Aarktica and their latest thoughtful, top drawer, cinematic shoegazing has been lovingly spooned into the grooves of a long playing record called “In The Sea”. We’re particulary taken with their cover of the old Danzig track, “Am I Demon?”, something that you could and maybe should hear on their myshite page.
Jon DeRosa returns with the sixth full length release of his Aarktica project, a “sea”quel of sorts to his No Solace In Sleep (2000) debut. The title is also a reverential pun on Terry Riley’s seminal In C, as well as a description of his auditory hallucinations resulting from the near-total hearing loss in his right ear caused by nerve damage that left him experiencing sound as if underwater, or “in sea.” As with those previous recordings, DeRosa relies primarily on repetitive, contemplative minimalist drones, thus enabling him to replicate the sonic textures of those “auditory hallucinations.” Fans of sonic guitarscape manipulators Stars of The Lid, Windy & Carl, Landing, Eno, Azusa Plane, et. al. will identify with DeRosa’s glacial, atmospheric creations, which ebb and flow in waves of textural dissonance.
The release is also a nod in the direction of DeRosa’s teachers, LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela (memorialized
in the floating mood enhancer, ‘LYMZ’ that envelops the listener in a warm sonic bath), who taught him composition and Indian classical vocal music, as well as instilled in him the ability to “hear without ears by relying on the physical vibrations of his instrument and vocal chords.” ‘Hollow Earth Theory’ is one of only a few tracks with a more traditional song structure, albeit one with cascading and backward guitar loops and a soothing vocal that deserves a wider audience – someone needs to get this on Art Garfunkle’s next solo album. And ‘A Plague of Frost (In the Guise of Diamonds)’ is as visual as its title suggests, conjuring images of glacial icebergs flowing across the frosted Arctic Circle or the heavenward ascension of morning dew evaporating in the morning sun.
Too often maligned as elevator Muzak or aural wallpaper, DeRosa’s dip into the snorecore gene pool, like his forebears, illustrates the innumerable nuances one can coax out of an electric guitar, turning the potential six-stringed implement of destruction into a magic wand summoning deep-seated emotions like serenity, weightlessness and contemplative navel gazing within the listener. The gamut of emotions In Sea conjures, be it a tear in the eye or a smile on the lips, will vary greatly by the listener’s current state of mind and emotional integrity. However, it’s the ability to reach into the inner ear and depth of the soul and speak to us on a primordial level that is In Sea’s greatest asset.
Jason DiEmilio of the aforementioned Azusa Plane committed suicide three years ago (on the very day I write this), partially due to his frustration over his inability to hear the music he was composing. While DeRosa may suffer from a similar affliction and few albums have brought me to such similar depths of despair, we can rejoice that he has chosen to exorcise his inner demons through that music. Perhaps that’s why he tongue-in-cheekily chose to end this fascinating journey with a mournfully morose cover of Glenn Danzig’s ‘Am I Demon?’
~ Jeff Penczak, Terrascope
Jon DeRosa’s Aarktica project covers ground where many have trod before, namely the use of guitar, loops, feedback, distortion and tape manipulation to make musical atmospheres and mood pieces. As the name suggests, the dominant aura is one of cold, oceanic isolation. But there is more to In Sea than an hour of Arctic ambience.
DeRosa lost almost all hearing in his right ear ten years ago, so the way he perceives sound is different to most of us. What is obviously a severe handicap for a musician, he has used to create sound slightly differently. Instead of stereo separation, he concentrates on depth and distance. It’s the aural equivalent of watching a movie without left-right panning but in 3D. A good example of this is the opener “I Am (The Ice)” where a guitar figure of graceful serenity dominates the foreground while the background is a tumult of crackle, feedback and distortion.
Some tracks on the album set moods, but don’t really develop anything with it. The best are more adventurous or, paradoxically, more traditionally structured. The deep, submerged drone of “A Plague of Frost” is almost free of rhythm or solidity and the title track, with its homophonic pun of a title, recreates the repetitive minimalism of Terry Riley.
On the other hand, some of the stand out pieces move away completely from the realms of the ambient. The gentle “Young Light” is upbeat, almost childlike. And the two actual songs are real gems. “Hollow Earth Theory” (as in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth) is beautiful and delicate pop. Even better is the closing cover of Danzig’s “I am Demon” which turns Satanic metal into an almost folk-ish appeal for peace and rest. It’s a stunning interpretation.
In Sea has a few generic patches, but enough passages of beauty and distinction to leave it standing head and shoulders above most in what is becoming an ever more crowded field.
~ Music Musings and Miscellany
While the name may sound like a form of metal either epic or gothic, the music could not be further removed. The brainchild of Jon DeRosa, Aarktica was formed after nerve damage made him deaf in one ear over a decade ago. The result was the haunting soundscapes of No Solace In Sleep, which was followed by more material that led to elements of shoegaze and folk. But here on In Sea, DeRosa returns to the soundscapes of his début.
The album is haunting in a way that’s both bleak and beautiful. The drones of ‘I Am (The Ice)’ and ‘A Plague Of Frost (In The Guise Of Diamonds)’ aren’t so much to be listened to, but more to be felt. They vibrate the chest but despite their monikers leave you warmed. Where some drone music can be insufferably dull, there’s something gripping about this record, a hard to describe something that ensnares you as much as it immerses you as each note blends into the next. ‘Onward!’ and ‘Young Light’ offer a more upbeat lesson in soundscaping, while vocals arrive on the folksy ‘Hollow Earth Theory’ and the closing cover of Danzig’s ‘Am I Demon?’.
Far from lively, just because In Sea won’t move you physically doesn’t mean it won’t move you. We’ve used haunting already in this review, but there’s no more apt word to describe an album which says so much without saying much at all. With nothing used but guitar and organ, this is nothing short of mesmerising beauty.
~ Phill May, Rock Midgets
Although ‘In Sea’ is the sixth album by Jon DeRosa, I believe its the first time I hear this name. In 1999 he became deaf at the right ear and started to re-think what he was doing. He took classes by LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela to learn how to hear without using your ears and started the Aarktica project. The title ‘In Sea’ is of course a nod to Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ and is mostly an album of drones. The guitar takes the lead here, wether its played with an e-bow, with a cello bow, plucked or chords: everything feeds to delay and reverb machines to create that much needed endless sustain on the sounds in order to apply for that drone tag. On a few occasions DeRosa sings, which is nice, since it breaks the album a bit. Necessary I’d say to break up the album a bit, since after a while, a repeat action leaps in, and one could think: yeah, well, I heard this bit already in a slightly different form. Either De Rosa should think about doing longer tracks or a bit more variation, or simply make a shorter album.
~ Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
In Sea is Jon DeRosa’s sixth-full length release as Aarktica. Although I haven’t been familiar with his previous output, it’s easy to hear the maturity of his sound after only a few tunes. Recommended if you like: Labradford, Windy & Carl, Ennio Morricone, Eluvium, Mogwai, Seefeel, Earth, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Spacemen 3, and in need of dreamy and suicidal music.
For nearly ten years, Jon DeRosa has been producing music with the goal of capturing the sounds that exist inside his head. That may be the goal for all musicians, but in DeRosa’s case, there’s a bit more to it than that. You see, DeRosa is deaf in one ear and as a result, has had to live with aural distortions and hallucinations (not to mention the effects of painkillers)—all of which have served as inspiration for his music.
Originally, his attempts consisted of drone-oriented ambient recordings such as 2000’s No Solace In Sleep. Subsequent albums—e.g., 2003’s Pure Tone Audiometry, 2005’s Bleeding Light—saw DeRosa eschewing his earlier, pure ambient approach for a more structured, song-oriented sound.
Those later recordings contained memorable moments, but I’ve always found Aarktica’s music most affecting and involving when DeRosa is truly immersed in his dronework, however ominous and unsettling it might be. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I like In Sea so much, as Aarktica’s latest finds DeRosa returning to the noisier drones and atmospherics that first typified Aarktica
Don’t get me wrong: In Sea ranks up there with No Solace In Sleep when it comes to atmospherics, but they’re cleaner and more polished this time. The result, I’m sure, of both recording in a real, honest-to-God studio (by contrast, No Solace In Sleep was recorded in a dorm room on a dying 4-track) and DeRosa’s decade of experience coaxing all manner of sounds from his gear.
This is best seen in the album’s opening track, “I Am (The Ice)”, where DeRosa sets off slowly revolving tundra drones while a band of sparkling, crystalline guitar notes arcs high overhead. It’s a gorgeous and rather affecting piece that evokes an Arctic sunrise as much as the most glorious moments of Flying Saucer Attack’s career. Later, on the title track, DeRosa picks out a gentle guitar melody then sets it adrift amidst a sea of guitar effects and noise swells—meanwhile, the reverbed sounds of his hands sliding along the guitar strings adds a human feel to the otherwise otherworldly music. And finally, on “When We’re Ghosts”, DeRosa wraps the listener in tight guitar loops before lashing out with violent, ragged bursts of noise, which results in the album’s most gripping moments.
But even though In Sea is a return to Aarktica’s roots, there are some surprises, most notably in the vocals. DeRosa’s voice has always been Aarktica’s weakest element for me: his music is strongest when he steps back and lets his atmospherics do the singing. But DeRosa’s voice appears on two of In Sea‘s tracks, and they turn out to be two of the album’s finest moments.
The first is “Hollow Earth Theory”, which gets my vote for DeRosa’s best vocal performance to date: here he sings “We will wait and we will see/If it’s right to put our faith all/In this hollow earth theory” over building layers of guitar. It’s a simple enough approach, and yet the song’s longing-filled lyrics and surging melodies combine to have quite an emotional effect.
The second is a cover of Danzig’s “Am I Demon”. At first, it seems like a joke—I think I did a double take when I read the press release—but as DeRosa distantly sings “Am I beast or am I human/Am I just like you?/Power seething, really reeling, reaching out for you/Am I demon? Need to know” while surrounded by murky, ominous tones and somber guitar lines, he achieves a sense of foreboding that far outshines Danzig’s original version.
T.S. Eliot’s famous quote—“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”—strikes me as an appropriate description of In Sea. After ten year of sonic exploration, In Sea is a return to where DeRosa began, the result being an album that represents a deeper exploration and knowledge of his familiar sounds. As such, it’s probably replaced No Solace In Sleep as my favorite Aarktica recording—no longer can I say “I liked their earlier stuff better” in good conscience—and I hope it sets the stage for Aarktica’s next ten years.
~ Jason Morehead, Opus
Aarktika is a minimal musical project by Brooklyn’s Jon DeRosa, who has been joined by a fleet of musicians from time to time. The project is over a decade in the making, having started life on a 4-track in the dorms of New York University, and album number two has just been released. The subtleties of the music are put as gently in motion as a paintbrush to canvas. When notes build up and ring out, as gradually and carefully as they do in songs like Young Light, the swell of music is almost palpable. This is delicately crafted ambient music. Sparseness is a key to the way songs rise and float. DeRosa conceives his songs in mono, since he has hearing in only one ear, which means he is influenced by ‘audio distortions, aural hallucinations and a reliance on painkillers’. This is guitar based emotional post-rock with reliance on riffs that gain gravity by winding around repetitively and hypnotically like pretty but stuck thoughts. Interesting-to-note influences include: Hood, The Chameleons, and Low; all of which can be detected either in mood or style. There is also a Sarah Records feel to the vocals and indie pop of Seventy Jane, which has crisp 80s keyboards and stunningly beautiful chorus pedal guitar. In Sea couldn’t be a more apt name for Aarktica’s new release, there’s a holy power and sense of rise and fall with the music. The album In Sea is out now on Silber Records, and the back catalogue is available via iTunes.
~ God is in the TV
The breadth of sound that can be encompassed by the ‘drone’ moniker is rather large. Consider sounds ranging from Earth and Brian Eno (at times) to Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. Timbres range from sweet to rich and full, to harsh and indigestible. It is the all encompassing nature of drone that makes it a fickle friend in the world of music. It is easy for bands/performers to fall prey to what I would like to call sitting-in-a-bedroom-fiddling-around-with-a-guitar-and-some-effects-and-maybe-a-keyboard-while-bored-one-night syndrome. By this, I mean that sometimes drone albums end up sounding like they were recorded in one night while someone was playing around with his new effects pedal and thought he had made something cool. I understand the desire to create music that is not reliant upon melody, time signature, pacing, or any other traditional constructs, but I am a firm believer that all good music has a purpose. I find this purpose to be lost in some lackluster drone recordings that are merely experiments of sound and nothing more. While Aarktica does not fall wholly into this category, there are elements that seem not as refined as others. However, In Sea has many positives that must be praised first.
Opener “I Am (The Ice)” is a wonderful mix of strumming guitar post-rock with thick dark drones rounding out the sound. The song has movement, but it definitely sets the tone for the rest of the album. The listener gets a sense that this album is going to be something along the lines of drone or ambient, but there is the possibility for something more, as exhibited by the relatively vibrant guitar line amidst the drone.
“Hollow Earth Theory” is a surprising song following the opener, a rather cut and dry drone falling pray to the ‘syndrome’ piece “Lymz.” Fairly safe chord progressions played on the guitar introduce a vocal line that is melodic and rather pleasant. Reversed guitar tones add a reminder that this isn’t a pop album, but overall the sound is mellow and straightforward. In the context of the rest of the album ,this song, while pleasant, really sticks out in a way that is not really good or bad, it is just there.
“A Plague of Frost (In The Guise of Diamonds)” has perhaps the opposite sound to the ‘syndrome’ mentioned above. This droning piece has a definite beginning and end – the first steps to establishing purpose. The timbres are always morphing, yet layers add movement and life to the ongoing drone of the song. Waxing and waning complexity solidify a more purposeful intention beyond just playing some cool sounds on the guitar. The sound is overall robust yet minimal.
The abrupt ending of many of these songs betrays some elements of the ‘syndrome’ mentioned above. After an obvious effort has been put in to making a song full of rich layers and timbres, it would be wise to finish with matching effort to finalize and complete that idea. All too often, a song ends with what is clearly just a decision to stop playing as a quick fade completes the track. Three songs in a row, “Onward,” “Young Light,” and “Autumnal,” among others, end in this way, and it leaves an unfinished emptiness to the album. Even the slightest resolution of idea or even more drawn out, meaningful fade would add just enough polish to solidify In Sea as a whole.
Aarktica walks a fine line on In Sea, skirting close to the realm of inconsequential fiddling, yet for the most part, each song accomplishes some sort o
f goal and justifies its existence. Some tracks on the album shine while others leave me questioning their reason for being included in the lineup. However, In Sea has some excellent multi-layered and multi-textured songs that more than make up for its minor shortcomings and complete a well rounded and continually evolving album.
~ Greg Norte, The Silent Ballet
1. Los discos de Aarktica, junto a los de Stars of the Lid y Eluvium, son de lo que más me gusta en la música ambient de esta década. Prefería sus primeros álbumes, porque del más reciente me entusiasmaban ciertos tracks, no el disco completo, impersonal y distante incluso para un proyecto cuyo nombre evoca páramos helados. Por eso me alegra escuchar ahora In Sea, el LP que Aarktica estrenó este otoño, de los más equilibrados de su carrera y el que mejor destila la experiencia acumulada.
Me pasó como cuando ves una película y juras que algo es CGI, luego ves el “detrás de cámaras” y descubres que no era el caso. Imaginaba un equipo de colaboradores y una variada lista de instrumentos, pero no, este disco lo hizo Jon DeRosa (así se llama el que firma como Aarktica) completamente solo, y no se ha valido de instrumentos electrónicos propiamente dichos. Todo lo que suena aquí ha salido de una guitarra y un órgano Bilhorn de los años treinta, si bien algunos efectos se han trabajado directamente con las cintas de grabación, como en los orígenes del ambient.
¿De entrada piensas que un disco así no es para ti? Te invito a escuchar las dos canciones de formato tradicional que aparecen en él, ambas cantadas por DeRosa: “Hollow Earth Theory” y un inesperado cóver de (¡tómala!) Danzig, “Am I Demon?”, para el cual han hecho un video Virginia Apicella y Beppe Blasi en Italia. Apuntan en direcciones distintas, la primera es de un optimismo deliberado prácticamente ausente en la obra anterior de este autor; la segunda conserva el tono de la original, llevado a un estado de ánimo meditabundo.
El resto, puramente instrumental, remite al álbum debut No Solace in Sleep (2000), pero más melódico, con insistentes punteos de guitarra que se desarrollan sobre drones y acordes en progresión, como avanzar sobre un campo desolado pero con una primera luz despuntando en el horizonte. “LYMZ” es un agradecimiento para La Monte Young y Marian Zazeela, los mentores de Aarktica, quienes además de composición y canto tradicional de la India le enseñaron a escuchar la música incluso cuando no puedes percibirla como el resto del público, algo que fue determinante para que DeRosa abandonara el rock y folk y se adentrara en el género con el que le conocemos ahora.
2. En el ambient no faltan las leyendas, los momentos biográficos que explican hallazgos musicales. Comenzando con el mito fundacional, la anécdota con la que Brian Eno explica como decidió su tránsito del glam y el rock a la fundación del sello disquero Obscure, que ha sido recogida en diversos textos. Reproduzco aquí un fragmento:
“En enero de 1975 tuve un accidente, un taxi me atropelló. No estaba seriamente herido, pero estaba confinado en la cama con una posición rígida y estática. Mi amigo Judy Nylon me visitó y me trajo un disco de música de arpa del siglo XVIII. Después de que se marchase, y con bastante dificultad, puse el disco. Cuando ya estaba acostado, me di cuenta de que el volumen era extremadamente bajo y uno de los canales del estéreo no funcionaba. Como no tenía energía suficiente para levantarme y arreglarlo, el disco era casi inaudible. Estaba acostado en una semipenumbra, y entonces empecé a escuchar ese disco como nunca antes había escuchado música alguna. Era realmente una experiencia muy bella. Tenía la sensación de icebergs. No podía oír más que ocasionalmente los fragmentos más fuertes de la música, no percibía más que pequeñas ráfagas de notas que me llegaban por encima del ruido de la lluvia de afuera, y enseguida volvían a marcharse a la deriva. Así empecé a reflexionar sobre la música como ambiente” (Brian Eno citado por Quim Casas en Loops, una historia de la música electrónica, p. 86)
Harold Budd también explica su música también con una historia personal. Fue criado en el desierto de Mojave y el sonido que hacía el viento contra los cables de teléfono y las torres eléctricas fueron la banda sonora de su infancia. Su música va más allá de ese zumbido primario, pero nace de ese recuerdo. En el caso de Jon DeRosa se trata de un acontecimiento del que no ha podido desprenderse en el resto de su vida: a fines de los noventa perdió la capacidad de escuchar con su oído derecho, lo que produjo alucinaciones auditivas y una sensación de escuchar las cosas “como si estuviera bajo del agua”. El título que ha escogido ahora, In Sea, alude a esa condición, al mismo tiempo que hace un juego de palabras con “In C”, la composición minimalista de Terry Riley. Al margen de los juegos de palabras y las experiencias biográficas, permítanse sumergirse en este disco. Si les atrae, visiten el primero, No Solace in Sleep (sobre advertencia no hay engaño: es más denso y sombrío).
~ Nicolas Diaz, Milenio
Con gli Aarktica e il loro album In Sea, pur restando dentro i confini del post-rock, le atmosfere sono abbastanza diverse (e per quel che conta li preferisco ai Remora).
Gli Aarktica sono l’invenzione di Jon DeRosa un compositore che scopre a fine anni ’90 di essersi giocato un orecchio per un problema fisico. Invece di perdersi d’animo, inizia a bombarsi di antidolorifici (!) e – ma questa è una mia ipotesi - a bere forte, visto che in un’intervista dichiarerà di aver iniziato a provare delle allucinazioni uditive. Le sue opere, compreso l’album che ho per le orecchie (In Sea) è un tentativo di riprodurre proprio queste allucinazioni.
Da un punti di vista musicale, gli Aarktica sono un gruppo sospeso tra lunghe trame strumentali alla Eluvium o Helios (epigoni a loro volta di compositori come Philip Glass e Brian Eno) o pezzi post-rock alla Sigur Ros. Qualche volta fa capolino pure la voce, come nella cover di Danzig “Am I Demon” e in “Hollow Earth Theory” (qui si avverte qualche eco lontano di “TV on The Radio”). Sono due pezzi davvero belli che fanno nascere il dubbio che gli Aarktica possano ancora avere un’evoluzione verso sonorità interessanti anche dal punto di vista commerciale.
L’album è molto gradevole, a parte qualche battuta a vuoto (“Corpse Reviver Number 2”) e come accostamento il sommellier vi propone una bella domenica mattina uggiosa (ma di quelle con il big match in posticipo serale), da pigiama e ciabatte e grattata di soddisfazione alle parti basse, osservando il mondo fuori mentre si bagna.
~ Black Milk
Que sait-il passer dans la vie de Jon DeRosa depuis Matchless Years paru en 2008 ? A-t-il touché le succès de trop près avec son projet Aarktica ? Lui qui semblait avoir abandonné les drones au profit d’une écriture plus pop éthérée, a-t-il eu l’impression de se perdre loin de ses bases, de ses racines ? En avait-il assez de faire appel aux autres pour donner corps à sa musique ? En tout cas, après son exil sur la Côte Ouest, le voilà de retour au bercail après plusieurs réalisations chez Darla. Un retour à propos puisque Aarktica applique scrupuleusement les canons édictés par la label de Caroline du Nord. Seul maître à bord de son navire fantôme, il inscrit In The Sea, dans la continuité de Pure Tone Audiometry, son album le plus ambiant justement paru en 2003 sur… Silber Records. Comme quoi, on peut parfois se fier aux “étiquettes”.
Un véritable revirement, car les mélodies “catchy” de Matchless Years, l’évidence même qui transparaissait tout au long de ses précédents disques, sont ici trop souvent délayées au fil de longues plages ambiantes, essentiellement instrumentales. A tel point qu’on est bien à la peine pour s’accrocher à un motif mélodique sur certaines plages éthérées à l’extrême. Le long morceau A Plague Of Frost (In The Guise Of Diamo
nds) est ainsi une sorte de plongée dans un abyme de néant ; Instill tourne en boucle au gré des vagues et du ressac, alors que Onward ! ou In Sea se situent tout juste au dessus de la ligne de flottaison : des étendues d’eau calme tout juste parcourues d’une très légère brise. Heureusement, par ailleurs, il y a un peu plus de mouvement, de courant, et l’ondulation prend forme lorsque Aarktica déploie des lignes de guitare lumineuses sur un tapis synthétique dense comme sur Young Light, l’un des morceaux les plus intenses d’In The Sea, ou When We’tre Ghosts, presque tempétueux. Et puis, il y a Hollow Earth Theory, poussé par la dérive littorale depuis les rivages de Matchless Years pour venir s’échouer ici : Jon DeRosa chante alors une belle chanson mélancolique, une bulle en apesanteur, qui fait amèrement regretté qu’il ait délaissé cette orientation sur In The Sea. La reprise en fin de parcours de Am I Demon ? de Danzig, seul autre morceau chanté, ne fait qu’accroître ce sentiment : après une album à la douceur cotonneuse, Aarktica livre un album glacial.
~ Denis Frelat, Autres Directions