Aarktica was conceived in the winter of 1998 with Jon DeRosa’s permanent loss of hearing in one ear as a distraction from his other musical interests. As his hearing loss became less of a distraction and more of a new way of listening, Aarktica became a means to execute the soundtrack of the life in mono he now faced; one of audio distortions and aural hallucinations. The first album No Solace in Sleep (Silber Records, 2000) was a series of minimal guitar and tape compositions, glacially paced and effected, recorded on a 4-track cassette recorder in various NYU dorm rooms.
This release echoed across the Atlantic, and Aarktica soon released the Morning One EP on Ochre Records (UK) in 2001, gaining accolades and airplay from the venerable John Peel.
Soon after, Aarktica released Or You Could Just Go Through Your Whole Life and Be Happy Anyway, Bliss Out v.18 (Darla Records, 2002) and Pure Tone Audiometry (Silber Records, 2003). These releases combine lo-fi electro, noise and shoegaze with the ambient textures of modern composers like Morton Feldman and Ingram Marshall, defining Aarktica’s innovative drone-pop hybrid. These were also the first Aarktica albums to feature guest musicians to realize DeRosa’s ultimate goal: to create drones and textures from the timbres of instruments, not solely from reverb units and delay pedals.
It was also during this time that DeRosa began his classical Indian vocal studies with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Their mentorship would be extremely influential to DeRosa and would affect all of his musical output, in every genre from this time forward. DeRosa also studied extensively with Michael Harrison, a former disciple of Young and Zazeela, and a composer specializing in harmonic tuning systems.
Aarktica’s fourth full-length release Bleeding Light (Darla Records, 2005) was an homage to New York City, in both its lyrics and compositions. DeRosa enlisted many friends and young NYC free-jazz luminaries (Nate Wooley, Seth Misterka, Mike Pride, Harry Rosenblum), forgoing the often glacial guitars, for a more dissonant, eerie and psychedelic sound.
After releasing the limited Ocean split 12″ with Aaron Spectre on Berlin’s Moonbunny Records, Aarktica relocated to Southern California in Summer 2007 and released its fifth album Matchless Years (Darla Records) in Fall 2007.
In Summer 2008, DeRosa moved back to Brooklyn, NY to work on the sequel to Aarktica’s 2000 debut No Solace In Sleep. The result was In Sea (Silber Records, 2009), a return to Aarktica’s original guitar/ambient sound. A particular highlight of this release is Aarktica’s cover of the 1988 Danzig song “Am I Demon?” which closes the album, and its accompanying video.
In 2010, Silber Records released In Sea Remixes, a limited release of 500 copies of the entire In Sea album remixed entirely by other artists. Remixers include Suckers, Declining Winter, Landing, Summer Cats, Yellow 6 and Keith Canisius.
Aarktica is still considered active, and DeRosa continues to write and record as Aarktica, often for films and other soundtracks. More releases are planned for 2013 and beyond.
In 2011, DeRosa began releasing albums under his own name, starting with the Anchored EP (Silber Records, 2011). In 2012, DeRosa released his debut solo full-length A Wolf In Preacher's Clothes (Mother West US / Rocket Girl UK).