Aarktica - Pure Tone Audiometry

Silber
(sil026: 708527662625)
Release date: 01/10/2003
Genre: Electronic, Ambient



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Jon DeRosa cannot seem to sit still. Under the guise Aarktica, he has released two full-length albums in just two years, not to mention an EP and countless compilation appearances on numerous different labels. For Aarktica's newest full-length, however, DeRosa returns home to Silber Records, where he released Aarktica's stunning debut No Solace in Sleep back in 2000. Pure Tone Audiometry, Aarktica's third full-length album, is the follow-up to its Bliss Out v. 18, released on Darla Records in early 2002. The title of the new album refers to a behavioral test measure used to determine hearing sensitivity, which DeRosa underwent several years ago after permanently losing hearing in his right ear. Many of the songs on PTA allude to this experience and its aftermath. An oddly eclectic individual, DeRosa tends to enjoy the dynamic of opposites. He is a graduate music technology student at NYU, who is also a serious student of traditional North Indian classical music; a borderline agoraphobic, living in the highly social and populated community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn; musically precise, yet incredibly prolific. He cites both John Cage and John Cash as main influences. It almost seems as if DeRosa is obsessed with dwelling between, or perhaps bridging the gaps that exist between, opposites. Pure Tone Audiometry is Aarktica's most involved work yet, approaching the balance between "drone" and "song". Although the overall tone of the album is consistent and dreamlike, the content within is as varied as DeRosa's personality, combining gentle lullabies with jagged atonalism, string trios with white noise guitars, and feverish percussion overtop sedate drones. Unlike the sleepy pace of much of Aarktica's back catalog, Pure Tone Audiometry indulges in some moments of pure upbeat indie rock, resting seamlessly against the album's ambient backdrop. The changes in Aarktica's sound are no doubt due to the album's co-production by Charles Newman of Flare, as well as the all-star cast joining Aarktica for this outing, which includes Hadley Kahn of NYC's space-rock ensemble Escapade on drums, Andrew Prinz of Mahogany on cello, Lorraine Lelis of Mahogany on vocals, Ernie Adzentovich of Plexus on upright bass, Molly Sheridan on violin, and Charles Newman on harmonium. DeRosa's trademark guitar loops and stark vocals are still evident as well. As always, no synthesizers were used on this recording, opting for manipulation of organic instruments instead. DeRosa's other project, the country-esque Pale Horse and Rider, will release its debut full-length These Are The New Good Times on Darla Records in February 2003. DeRosa will be performing with both Aarktica and PHR throughout 2003.

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