Aarktica is readying a new album for release on May 5th, 2023, titled Paeans. While Aarktica has always been the experimental project of Jon DeRosa, the 2022 album We Will Find the Light (Darla Records) blended elements of atmospheric Folk, ambient guitars, and string arrangements with some vocal elements to seek the light.
For the new album, DeRosa goes entirely without vocals for the first time since 2000 to create “almost hymnal meditations”. The acoustic instruments that DeRose uses are here joined by the orchestral strings of cellist/violist Henrik Meierkord.
Jon DeRosa shares:
Paeans inspired me to get back to a very quiet, very clear place inside and tune out the part of my brain that tends to overthink. There’s an honesty and authenticity that exists in there. And getting back to working with just the guitar in a more ambient style allowed me to do this.
I told my brain it could turn back on later. But capturing those first melodies and atmospheres from that quiet inner place, without the head noise, felt really important, like they were natural transmissions. It brought back a lot of memories of how I made my first albums. A bit of that intimacy, trust, optimism, and joy, really.
Paeans refers to “songs of praise” and was a deliberate choice of title for DeRosa, who composed these songs in between his work in the fields of somatic healing as well as shamanic healing.
He shares further about collaboration:
When I began composing the songs for Paeans, each of them started with some kind of skeletal guitar melody or processed guitar loop I built upon. I wanted to keep these songs sparse and minimal, but they were in need of another color, another texture. So I reached out to Henrik, and he provided an array of possibilities. I was able to arrange and edit his strings while forging the shapes of these compositions, and in doing so there was a seamless interaction. They blended beautifully.
I found myself emerging from these profound experiences, these changes in consciousness, that offer me the privilege to fully see glimpses of the beauty and true nature of many things that I’m typically not able to express in words. For me, the songs on Paeans are wordless prayers and songs of awe. For the majesty of nature, for the peace and silence we find when we go truly inward, for the infinite beauty that exists all around us. These songs emerged when I began to really meditate on these things in a profound way.
You can still read our Wildfire interview with Jon DeRosa about his previous album, We Will Find the Light.