2. Arcturan Transmission
3. Morning Chorus
4. Golden Hour at Pyramid House
6. Sky Family
Exposé "…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… Adjectives like warm, graceful, elegant, and intuitive go far to describe the feelings that these pieces express to the listener." -Peter Thelen
Genre: Ambient, Indie Rock
RIYL: Stars of the Lid, Eluvium, Windy and Carl, Harold Budd, Black Tape For A Blue Girl
Alan Sparhawk, vocalist/guitarist of the band Low, recently described Aarktica as “a beautiful and dynamic ride between ambient electric symphony and intimate human song.”
Aarktica’s latest release in a career dating back to 1999 is an album of hushed, glacially-paced guitar atmospheres, crystalline textures and vocal-less, almost hymnal meditations complemented by soaring strings. It’s 43 minutes of ambient guitar washes and celestial sweeping tapestries, both achingly visceral and softly stirring.
“Paeans inspired me to get back to a very quiet, very clear place inside and tune out the part of my brain that tends to overthink,” says Jon DeRosa, who has created 11 albums as Aarktica. “There’s an honesty and authenticity that exists in there. And getting back to working with just the guitar in a more ambient style allowed me to do this.”
“I told my brain it could turn back on later,” DeRosa laughs, “But capturing those first melodies and atmospheres from that quiet inner place, without the head noise, felt really important, like they were natural transmissions. It brought back a lot of memories of how I made my first albums. A bit of that intimacy, trust, optimism, and joy, really.”
Stylistically, Paeans is a welcome homecoming for Aarktica, an artist known for being sonically adventurous, incorporating influences of shoegaze, raga, electronic and indie rock into their sound over the course of their career. Even Aarktica’s 2022 album We Will Find the Light (Darla Records) presented a diverse blend of atmospheric folk, ambient guitars, plaintive vocals, and minimalist string arrangements into a darkly uplifting collection of songs.
Karen Vogt at “Lost, Found, and Lost Again” radio show: “Paeans is a sumptuously meditative album that is heart warming, yet elegant. It somehow manages to express aching and longing, while still being soothing and deeply comforting.”
Now on Paeans, DeRosa presents a collection of hushed, glacially-paced guitar atmospheres, crystalline textures and vocal-less, almost hymnal meditations that celebrate both terrestrial and extraterrestrial themes. And as is characteristic of Aarktica, DeRosa accomplishes this with the use of guitars and organic instruments as opposed to synthesizers and keyboards. The main addition here are the orchestral strings of cellist/violist Henrik Meierkord.
“When I began composing the songs for Paeans, each of them started with some kind of skeletal guitar melody or processed guitar loop I built upon. I wanted to keep these songs sparse and minimal, but they were in need of another color, another texture,” says DeRosa. “So I reached out to Henrik, and he provided an array of possibilities. I was able to arrange and edit his strings while forging the shapes of these compositions, and in doing so there was a seamless interaction. They blended beautifully.”
Paeans refers to “songs of praise” and was a deliberate choice of title for DeRosa, who composed these songs in between his work in the fields of somatic healing as well as shamanic healing.
“I found myself emerging from these profound experiences, these changes in consciousness, that offer me the privilege to fully see glimpses of the beauty and true nature of many things that I’m typically not able to express in words. For me, the songs on Paeans are wordless prayers and songs of awe. For the majesty of nature, for the peace and silence we find when we go truly inward, for the infinite beauty that exists all around us. These songs emerged when I began to really meditate on these things in a profound way.”
+ Paeans is the first entirely instrumental Aarktica album since the 2000 debut No Solace in Sleep
+ Follows on the heels of 2022’s We Will Find the Light (Darla Records)
+ Jon DeRosa is also the vocalist in Black Tape for a Blue Girl
+ Aarktica called “Best New Music” by NPR, fall 2022
All songs by Jon DeRosa (p) Glacia Music Publishing (BMI). Recorded at Glacia Home Studio, Los Angeles, California, June 2022 – November 2022. Mixed and produced by Lewis Pesacov at Ahata Sound, Los Angeles, CA, November 2022. Mastered by Taylor Deupree at 12K Mastering, Pound Ridge, NY.
Jon DeRosa: Guitar
Henrik Meierkord: Cello and Viola
Projekt release: May 5 2023