2. Eating Rose Petals 10:52
3. Valley of the Roses 08:06
Eating Rose Petals marks the first collaboration between synthesist Sam Rosenthal (aka Black Tape for a Blue Girl) and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jon DeRosa (aka Aarktica), merging their respective darkwave, dreamwave, ethereal styles into a floating cosmic requiem for deep reflection and introspective journeying. Veterans in their genres, they’ve created music for a combined 65 years. While this 38-minute release may be their first musical collaboration, Sam and Jon’s relationship began nearly 30 years ago when Jon’s earliest musical projects — the dark folk-oriented Fade and Dead Leaves Rising — opened for Projekt bands making their first East Coast appearances.
Now, in a new time and place, they reconnect to create a tender and melancholically uplifting opus.
When I heard Aarktica’s “Eating Rose Petals” on the Mareación album I immediately loved it. I loved the sound of Jon’s voice, the mood, the spaces he imagined; I imagined it would be great music for Holotropic Breathwork. However to minimize distraction while journeying, Stanislav Grof recommends tracks without English lyrics. I resolved that by making myself a version of Jon’s track where I ran it backwards — it provided a great mood for my journey. Back in the consensus world, I thought, “The only thing that would make this better would be to more of it!” I emailed Jon with my idea, asking for audio stems of his individual instruments and vocals. Jon recorded a new wordless vocal melody which he sang to the backward version of the track. I brought these elements into my studio and extended the song with processing and my own electronics.
Track 1 = my new version. With extended ethereal intro and ending utilizing bits of Jon’s performance and my electronics. In the middle is my processed version of Jon’s backwards track.
Track 2 = Aarktica’s original recording
Track 3 = a reworking of the intro segment of track 1, extended with my additional electronics.
I tend to be hyper-aware of the sometimes seemingly trivial “snapshots” I experience throughout my days that sometimes stay with me so vividly and poignantly long after the moment is gone. Sometimes it’s a moment in nature, the way the light is hitting a scenic valley so perfectly… or sometimes it’s the expression on someone’s face in the context of a time and place. In this case, I wrote “Eating Rose Petals” to commemorate a beautiful relationship with a dear friend of mine, a very supernatural woman I worked with for many years in the world of plant medicines. As a romance bloomed, I always was sure to keep fresh flowers at the bedside for her. One morning, I awoke to find her in the gentle morning light playfully pulling rose petals from one of the flowers and eating them. This beautiful “snapshot” stayed with me long after the romance and the moment were gone.
I hadn’t been in touch with Sam in close to two decades; we reconnected last year in Los Angeles when Steve Roach passed through to perform. It was some time after this that he approached me with the idea of reworking the original “Eating Rose Petals.” I had been listening to Sam’s music since I was around 13 years old, and always connected with the way he conveyed emotion through electronics, so it was an invitation I was very open to. The result of that collaboration “Fleeting Rose Petals” seems to capture the best of our respective talents, and one that compliments the original composition.
Black Tape For A Blue Girl released their first gothic/ethereal/ambient album in 1986; their 12 studio albums revolve around the songwriting and electronics of founder Sam Rosenthal. Sam runs the Projekt Records label that released Eating Rose Petals.
Aarktica is the long-running ambient/atmospheric project of Jon DeRosa; since 1998 they’ve released a diverse catalog of music on 9 albums. While DeRosa is the sole permanent member, Aarktica featured a number of musicians and collaborators throughout the project’s lifespan. Aarktica is known for primarily using guitars — along with mostly organic instruments like brass, strings, harmoniums and voices — to create its unique textural sound. Aarktica’s sonically diverse audio explorations span decades, straddling the lines of shoegaze and ambient, jazz and drone, to electro-pop and post-rock. The most recent album Mareación was released in 2019.