Aarktica & Black Tape For A Blue Girl: Eating Rose Petals (name-your-price) (Digital)

Product Description

1. Fleeting Rose Petals 18:59
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.

Sam writes:

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.

Jon writes

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.

Artist bios

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.

Click to Join, hit send, and I’ll add you to the list. – Sam


  1. reviews editor

    A review from Oregon Arts Watch

    MUSIC Now Hear This: December edition

    Picks for great Portland music to purchase from Bandcamp

    Sam Rosenthal, owner of Projekt Records and the musician behind Black Tape For A Blue Girl, fell in love with the song “Eating Rose Petals” from his friend Jon DeRosa, aka Aarktica, and decided to use it as the anchor for a collaboration. This gorgeous EP is the result, with the first track finding the pair reworking the tune as a melting Dali clock of reversed melodies and wordless vocals, and the final piece using that song’s opening moments to create a boundless ambient soundscape.

  2. padmin

    From I Die You Die

    Feeling spread a bit thin or wound too tight under lockdown? If so, Sam Rosenthal has you covered, offering warm, comforting succor in the form of a new collaboration with Jon DeRosa’s (Dead Leaves Rising, Pale Horse and Rider) solo Aarktica project. The backstory is a bit involved, but what this three-track, near-forty minute PWYW release has on offer is an original Aarktica track from last year, a reconstitution of the track by Rosenthal featuring both back-masked vocals Rosenthal extracted from the original and DeRosa doing a phonetic recreation of said back-masking (!), plus a coda/reprise of the latter. That sounds far more conceptually convoluted than the experience of listening to Eating Rose Petals could ever be, as what Rosenthal and DeRosa offer up, both alone and together, is a beautiful, languid reverie resting upon the dynamics between sustained tones (Rosenthal’s shimmering pads, DeRosa’s lightly plucked acoustics) and the rich but vulnerable timbre of DeRosa’s voice. The shifts between DeRosa’s original (already dreamy) lyrics, his non-lexical recreations, and the slightly unearthly backmasking tap into the mind’s desire to tease out syntactic meaning even when there is none (the effect is not unlike Bowie’s “Subterraneans” or the Guthrie/Foxx Mirrorball collaboration). Ultimately, though, you’ll find yourself abandoning such efforts: giving in to the warm, slow slipstream of image and memory Rosenthal and DeRosa conjure is far more rewarding than any semantic pursuit.

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