Aarktica - No Solace in Sleep (2000)
Cover Front Album
Artist/Composer Aarktica
Length 64:16
Format mp3
Genre Ambient Alternative
Index 29
Track List
01 Glacia 0 13:36
02 Indie 0 06:50
03 Elena 0 04:22
04 You Have Cured a Milllion Ghosts from Roaming in My Head 0 03:33
05 Inebria 0 10:40
06 The Ice (Feels Three Feet Thick Between Us) 0 05:26
07 Welcome Home 0 08:10
08 I Remember Life Above the Surface 0 11:39
Purchase Date 9/24/2003
Store Soulseek
Location TRAX_279
kbps 256
Spars DDD
Rare No
Sound Stereo
AMG REVIEW: As shoegaze and drone-rock stop being trends and start being continual influences and terms as much as, say, "ambient," more and more musicians find their own way to work in such continuing traditions. Jon DeRosa, aka Aarktica, is one of them, and on No Solace in Sleep, one of his first efforts under that name, he explores the realm of feedback-induced drowned sound with as much grace and loveliness as one could hope for. Anyone who enjoyed the Cocteau Twins' underrated effort with Harold Budd, The Moon & the Melodies, will find much to love here — while sonically they're not the same, the same hush and beautiful depth from that record has a definite echo here, suggesting dark waves pushing through a bottomless ocean. That the first track — one of three that break the ten-minute mark — should be called "Glacia" seems perfectly appropriate. "Inebria," another of the lengthy cuts, isn't drunk-sounding as such, more a strange, alien float into some unknown distance. The album is in many ways of a piece, with the flow of soft swells rising and falling throughout in an hour-long meditation, but there are more than a few moments when DeRosa softly spikes the brew. "You Have Cured a Million Ghosts From Roaming in My Head" employs an audible and overt guitar melody, as well as texture, a short but distinctly lovely effort (if it's directed at someone in particular, that person's one lucky soul), while "Welcome Home" also sets straightforward electric guitar strum first and foremost to create another lovely combination of melody and sonic wash. In what might be an innocent reference but could also be a sly joke: One track is called "Indie" — though the combination of soft vinyl crackle, buried drumbeats, and extended guitar and keyboard tones certainly don't sound like Superchunk, say. — Ned Raggett

the vastness of Aarktica's sounds which conjure up everything from distant Arctic wildernesses and brilliant auroras to the deepest ocean depths, and straight on out to the interstellar voids. It's just a little bit ironic that these pieces had their start as the result of Jon DeRosa's deafness. One might imagine that would limit musical output, or at least hinder it, but DeRosa's work proves otherwise. This particular result, "No Solace In Sleep", depicts a fascinating, sometimes beautiful, sometimes frighteningly intense world of sound.

Some may lump "No Solace In Sleep" in with other drone projects, a la Windy & Carl, Bowery Electric, Amp, etc. But "drone" doesn't feel quite right, as it implies something static and uninteresting. Although the sound palette that DeRosa employs throughout "No Solace In Sleep" is pretty sparse (and make no mistake, a great deal of it is composed of heavily treated guitar tones), there's a surprising warmth and attention to detail there as well.

"Glacia" lives up its name, suggesting a somnambulistic journey across some frozen land north of the Arctic Circle. The intent is similar to that of Windy & Carl's "Antarctica" album, but the results here have far more depth. "Indie" adds some slight glitch and a distant piano, while "You Have Cured A Million Ghosts From Roaming In My Head" finds gentle bell-like tones spiraling throughout the icy guitar shimmerings. And the sounds on "The Ice" hint at some icebound choir, or the winter wind playing tricks on your mind, making you hear ghostly voices where there are none.

The album culminates with the imposing "I Remember Life Above The Surface". Here, DeRosa's guitar becomes intimidating. Huge metallic shards of sound are sent scudding across the surface, only to distort and disintegrate before sinking into the blue-green depths. Soon, the listener is sinking too, diving deeper and deeper down into the abyss as all manner of distorted rumblings surround them. There's a tangible anxiety in this place, a world of sound that most don't willingly venture into.

It's an intense experience, and not one you'll soon forget. And like everything else on this album, it goes a long ways towards shattering any notions you might have of "drone" music.

reviewed by Jason Morehead
posted 04/20/2002