Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Aarktica — Paeans
(Projekt no#, 2023, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-08-27
Paeans: hymns of praise, especially ones sung in ancient Greece to invoke or thank a deity. Aarktica is the solo ambient / atmospheric vehicle of Jon DeRosa, who is also a member of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and though through the years Aarktica has taken on a number of different styles, from post-rock to ambient to dream-pop to shoegaze, often with vocals, Paeans is the first album since the 2000 debut No Solace in Sleep to be entirely instrumental. Often in past endeavors DeRosa has brought in guest players to join on this track or that, often on entire albums, and for Paeans that guest is violist / cellist Henrik Meierkord, while DeRosa plays guitars, loops, and effects exclusively — no keyboards or synthesizers here. The sound throughout the album’s six tracks is peaceful, introspective, and meditative, with the ambient guitars and loops mingling with the strings to create an intense floating, shimmering tapestry of color, luminance and shadows. There’s no mystery that the foundation of the music is guitar based, especially at times when the dreamy loops subside and the guitars clearly define themselves as such, as on “Arcturan Transmission,” though on other pieces like “Golden Hour at Pyramid House” the textural ebbs and swells are pretty much unique to the guitar as well, and DeRosa has done a splendid job composing and arranging these pieces, with Meierkord’s string contributions being essential to the album as a whole. Adjectives like warm, graceful, elegant, and intuitive go far to describe the feelings that these pieces express to the listener, but as gentle and relaxed as they tend to be, this music won’t put you to sleep.
Related artist(s): Aarktica / Jon DeRosa
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