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Aarktica is the longest-running and most productive project of Los Angeles-based musician Jon DeRosa. Debuting with the wintry, guitar-based drone of 2000's No Solace in Sleep, Aarktica evolved to encompass electronic dream pop on 2002's Or You Could Just Go Through Your Whole Life and Be Happy Anyway, as well as Indian classical and jazz influences on releases like 2005's Bleeding Light, incorporating brass, harmonium, strings, and other acoustic instruments. While DeRosa began producing chamber pop under his own name during the 2010s, he kept Aarktica active for his more glacial, atmospheric work, including 2019's Mareación. After playing in punk and hardcore bands as a teenager, DeRosa was inspired by artists on ambient goth label Projekt. While dealing with permanent hearing loss in his right ear, he began making minimal, guitar-based soundscapes in order to express how he perceived sound. He created his debut album as Aarktica, No Solace in Sleep, using a four-track recorder in various New York University dorm rooms during the late '90s, and Silber Records released it in 2000. This was followed by Morning One, an EP issued by Ochre Records in 2001. Released in early 2002 as volume 18 of Darla's Bliss Out series, the more vocal-heavy Or You Could Just Go Through Your Whole Life and Be Happy Anyway featured contributions from Lorraine Lelis of Mahogany and downtempo/IDM DJ Aaron Spectre. In February 2003, Aarktica returned to Silber Records with Pure Tone Audiometry, an album that intersected gentle lullabies with atonal screeds and feverish percussion with sedate drones, reflecting DeRosa's studies with minimalist pioneers La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Pure Tone Audiometry was co-produced by Flare's Charles Newman, and included contributions from Plexus bassist Ernie Adzentovich, and Mahogany's Andrew Prinz and Lelis on cello and vocals, respectively. In February 2005, Aarktica released Bleeding Light, a conceptual dedication to New York, on Darla. A split EP with Spectre, Ocean, appeared on German label Moonbunny. After relocating to Southern California, DeRosa released Aarktica's lushly orchestrated fifth full-length, Matchless Years, in 2007. He returned to Silber with 2009's In Sea, which included a cover of "Am I Demon?" by Danzig, one of the New Jersey-born DeRosa's formative influences. This was followed by In Sea Remixes, which included interpretations by Landing, thisquietarmy, Yellow6, and others. DeRosa began releasing singer/songwriter material under his own name in 2011, but he continued recording more experimental work as Aarktica, and the limited EP Ceremony was issued by Fnord Tapes in 2015. Mareación, a meditative full-length inspired by ayahuasca journeys, appeared in 2019. A year later, Projekt released Eating Rose Petals, a collaboration between Aarktica and Black Tape for a Blue Girl, containing label founder Sam Rosenthal's interpretations of one of Mareación's highlights.
© Kenyon Hopkin & Paul Simpson /TiVo
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