Excellent and gently lulling ambient/drone frequencies from Jon DeRosa, who combines guitars and electronics into a distinctly unified sound ala SEEFEEL but minus the beats and vocals. The icy, melodic aural terrain has a soft, introspective feel that conjures images of slowly enveloping fields of snow and trees swaying in a cold wintry wind. Just gorgeous work that’s well recommended.
In 1998, Jon started this project ‘as an experiment in sound to recreate and convey the tones heard through one deaf ear.’ Originally nothing more than "tape-hiss lullabies lacking structure, composed through a blur of painkillers and insomnia on a 4-track cassette recorder,’ Aarktica graduated to these multi-layered, effects-laden, post-Eno ambient guitar suites in a little less than a year! Imagine a greatest hits mix tape consisting of the best of Windy & Carl, Stars of the Lid, Labradford and early Azusa Plane and you're on the right track. And while De Rosa has said, ‘there's a certain charm to the spontaneity of drone music,’ he was quick to add, ‘I also find that that can take away from its overall credibility.’ This release is his attempt at marrying the two approaches. ‘While recording the album, I actually spent days mapping out many pieces, notating them and treating each piece like I would a string quartet.’ Let's examine the results of that endeavor. A few minutes into the opener, ‘Glacia,’ you may find yourself adjusting the volume to find out whether you've just purchased a blank CD! Whispering waves of sonic molasses drip out of your speakers as De Rosa replicates the ambience of an iceberg floating through the midnight Atlantic: dark, cold and immense. ‘Indie’ has nothing to do with a sub-genre of music and everything to do with pain, although the two are often indistinguishable these days! The far off sound of a beating (ear)drum (his own?) places us squarely in his world of frustration with the inability to clearly ‘hear’ the sounds of civilization around him. This sense of swimming in quicksand coupled with the sonic interpretation of the ‘sounds in his head’ continues through most of the record and is emphasized in titles like ‘You Have Cured A Million Ghosts from Roaming in My Head,’ ‘The Ice (Feels Three Feet Thick Between Us)’ and ‘I Remember Life Above the Surface.’ The seemingly pretentious titles can be overlooked as one is enveloped in the sheer expanse of the sonic sensual overload. The aural equivalent of syrup dripping down a ‘short stack’ is interrupted by the Nick Drake-esque ‘Welcome Home.’ Fittingly, it seems to be a self-directed imperative and is the lone track with a clearly identifiable guitar. DeRosa has escaped from his ‘fantastic voyage’ through his inner ear, but I, for one, was glad to be along for the ride. You will be, too.
~ The Broken Face
Jon DeRosa's sonic innovation. Experimental soundscapes with nods to Flying Saucer Attack, Windy & Carl, Mogwai, & Labradford. Beautiful.
I received this CD just after multiple consecutive cloudy days had kept me from seeing the Northern Lights for what might be the only time in my life. Those enigmatic handprints of the Sun on the Earth's aura had permeated my speech, roiled & glimmered in my dreams, & tingled colored static along the edges of my awareness for years, a favorite part of my personal cosmology, & finally came to visit - only to find the curtains drawn. I couldn't explain or even fully understand why this devastated me so, & half wondered why it wasn't what I'd failed to see, but what had failed to see me that I missed. Something as awesomely fantastical as the aurora borealis is just so much more real if you can look at it, rather than just knowing it's there. I'm as alienated as anyone else, & it almost felt like I'd missed the Velveteen Rabbit's opportunity to become real myself. Listening to these shimmering night-ocean songs of perception slowed nearly to a stop melted that world-self barrier to a point I'd never reached before. Both grandiose & dissolute, No Solace in Sleep is what it might be like to dance with a "hungry ghost" of the Bardo Thodol just as it began to realize that being All might be preferable to being a frustrated fragment. There's an unspeakable tenderness to this ponderously gentle music, like the sea who lets the sailor live just because it can. Softly ringing, echoing rhythms seem almost buried under the shifting ultramarine layers until you realize that the full ambience is no more than the dance of the individual themes. "Rapture of the deep," the divers call it. Now I can say I've been there. In his attempt to create something completely new, Jon DeRosa has instead tapped directly into the heart of something older than speech, leaving me once again slithering through a loose tangle of metaphors in complete darkness. (Thanks, Jon!) Even knowing that the stars I see as I listen are anomalies in my retinas or phantoms conjured out of my above-world memories, I realize that the only important thing is that I can see them -- by being them. & so by being the aurora borealis, I can see that too, & so much more. I can twist & shatter along the cold prickle of geospin, I can arch & shift & flash in colors well beyond the visible, I can sing with a beauty that stuns radio to stammering silence. & I do.
~ Gothic Preservation Society
This debut album from Jon DeRosa is simply beautiful. A captivating musical experience that is a story without words, yet completely within the realm of human understanding. No Solace in Sleep made my whole body chill as if it had just been dipped into fresh snow. But the chill it delivers is more comforting than anything. The music locks you in a trance that can only be comprehendble through direct experience. There is a rare beauty delivered with the CD...a striking combination of mystery and familiarity. I can honestly say this release sent a shiver straight through my heart. Although I'm not usually a big fan of experimental music, No Solace in Sleep managed to generate a feeling of serenity inside of me that no other performer ever has.
~ Bleeding Minds