Aarktica Or You Could Just Go Through Your Whole Life And Be Happy Anyway

Right from the first track it is obvious that this is going to be a very different Aarktica album than their the last release, No Solace in Sleep, which was purely instrumental, drone-based music like Flying Saucer Attack or Brian Eno. Ironically, the previous release might have been more appropriate for Darla’s Bliss Out series, but no matter, this mini-album more than musters up the right amount of atmospherics to make the cut. The project of Jon DeRosa, Aarktica is one of several aliases the NYU music student has worked under since 1998. This latest effort brings a lot more to the table, most notably his voice, which is joined by Mahogany’s Lorraine Lelis on the warm opener "Aura Lee.” Much of Or You Could… is still primarily instrumental, effects-driven mood music, as evidenced on "A Correspondence In Film” or "The Hook, The Reel, And The Pull,” although DeRosa does mix things up with some more instrumentation this time around, allowing guitars to actually sound like guitars. He even incorporates some drum programming, courtesy of Aaron Spectre, a respected IDM DJ in New York. This programming gives the album an Autechre-like feel in spots, which works beautifully on "Nostalgia=Distortion,” where the electronic drums are integrated nicely with soft guitars and vocals, with the end result being quite pretty. Admittedly, there are moments on the album where things seem to lose steam, perhaps a sign of getting too caught up in the process of making the music, as opposed to focusing on the music itself. Then again, the process is an important part of Aarktica, considering DeRosa is a player in a collective that embraces unique approaches to music and challenges standard structures for composition. All in all, a nice step forward. (Darla)