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Aarktika - In Sea

In Sea


Silber Records - 078

Available from Silber Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Intelligent dreamwave ambientalia—slow, fog-beshrouded, creeping—suffuses and dominates Aarktika's sixth long-form release In Sea, the title an ironic homage to Terry Riley, one of the prime fathers of modern music (a thematic extended in LYMZ, named after Lamont Young & Marian Zazeela, Jon DeRosa's [Aarktika's] teachers), but that mode is just one of several kindred. Hollow, for instance, is a combination of Sensation's Fix, Sigur Ros, and mellowsided Bond Berglund.

DeRosa sits within one of the sub-groups in the mode, a klatsch of player-composers heavily favoring processed guitar rather than keyboards but coming up with essentially the same sound. Though that might sound limiting—after all, only six strings, right?—it's actually expansive, as, within this group's output, one can detect patches, sounds, and timbres only otherwise available through a Jupiter 6 synth, an instrument devilishly difficult to lay hands on but popular for its pan pots, rather than increment/decrement clickers, and various other features. Whether such musicians choose guitar over keyboards for that reason is up for grabs, but there are other motives as well: envelope advantages (distinctive attack, etc.), tighter control (fingers controlling strings on the fretboard), and other strategies. These things matter in such musics.

The title cut serves as a good center. Spooky, Enoidal (On Land), billowing with gestural swaths and slow splashes, it layers a cinematic painting of mutable shapes, hallucinogenic incidents, repeating patterns, and slowly rising energies. Onward!, on the other hand, defaults back to strums and fingerpicking atop the washes and echoes, leading into the more insistent Young Light. Everything, however, revolves around drones and inchingly progressive rondos nearly frozen. A work of superior discretion, In Sea re-proves Martha Graham's Rule of One rather nicely.

Track List:

  • I Am (The Ice)
  • LYMZ
  • Hollow
  • Earth Theory
  • A Plague of Frost (in the Guise of Diamonds)
  • In Sea
  • Onward!
  • Young Light
  • Autumnal
  • Corpse Reviver No. 2
  • Instill
  • When We're Ghosts
  • Am I Demon?
All songs written by Jon DeRosa except Am I Demon? (Glenn Danzig)

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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