Aarktica, “morning one”

Artist: Aarktica
Title: Morning One
Release Date: 2000

Aarktica, morning one, released 2001 by ochre records

1) these days fail to bring me near
2) ≤ 23
3) morning one

Morning One is an three-track EP in which Aarktica tries to do something a bit different. He still makes very floaty, dreamy ambient music, but he tries a few new things.

The first track, “these days fail to bring me near”, is still very much in the vein of his work on no solace in sleep. Though it features him singing, he uses his voice more as another part of the overall texture rather than as a focal point. He’s a baritone, and his voice is very reminiscient of Brendan Perry’s, the male lead from Dead Can Dance. Like Perry, he sometimes has trouble staying on pitch, though it’s not a big deal here. It’s pleasant enough, but seeing as how his vocals really just provide another instrument, it kind of feels like he’s coasting a bit.

On “≤ 23″, for the first time, he uses the piano to provide the track’s foundation, over which some recorded speech loops. Unfortunately, the piece is something of a failure. The music basically consists of slow arpeggiated notes fairly high on the piano, with some additional glockenspiel tinkling, and it isn’t much to listen to. Nor is the looped speech particularly compelling. Without the lush sound of the guitar, I think he needs to do more with the piano’s low register to give the song weight. Instead, all the high stuff gets boring pretty quickly, and, as I said, the taped stuff doesn’t make up for it.

I find “morning one”, the last track, quite lovely and Eno-esque. Again, as on no solace in sleep, Aarktica creates a slow-moving cloud of sound that’s relaxing and soporific without being dull. Rather than create his loops using his guitar, he uses electronic sounds that make me think of signals from some deep space probe.

Morning One seems to really be a curiosity, a few small experiments he decided to release. It’s pretty enough to listen to, but after no solace in sleep, it sounds like more of the same.

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