Aarktica, “Pure Tone Audiometry”

Artist: Aarktica
Title: Pure Tone Audiometry
Release Date: 2004

Aarktica, Pure Tone Audiometry, released 2004 by Silber Records

1) Out To Sea
2) The Mimicry All Women Use
3) Snowstorm Ruins Birthday
4) Ocean
5) Big Year
6) Water Wakes Dead Cells
7) Williamsburg Counterpoint

It all comes together for Jon de Rosa on his masterpiece, Pure Tone Audiometry, which combines a sense of grand calm with deep emotional resonance and an exquisite sense of counterpoint. Each song is beautiful and distinct, as he explores a variety of textures while still maintaining a sense of flow between them, such that the album forms a complete and satisfying whole. He uses his gentle but occasionally pitch-wobbly baritone to its best advantage, either making it more an instrument than a focal point or adding a lovely soprano as support.

This was the first Aarktica CD I bought after hearing “Williamsburg Counterpoint” on WZBC (out of Boston College) and being blown away – and I might note that its title is a reference to Steve Reich. It’s still my favorite track, though each has its considerable merits.

I don’t know what else to say other than this is a great work. Everyone should buy it.

Aarktica – Epilogue

I got rid of Aarktica’s next (and most recent CD), Bleeding Light, in which he completely abandons everything he’d done before and embarks on a new path, following much more closely in the dry, glum feel of late ’70s/early ’80s post-punk and proto-Goth. The results are disappointing indeed, and though I tried my best to find something worthwhile, I failed. While I can certainly understand if he felt he had nowhere else to go with the techniques he developed over his first three full-length discs, this new path he’s exploring is not one I care about.

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