As the little distributor that could, Darla Records has had a hand in helping spread the good word on tons of great bands that people might not have heard about otherwise. With their Little Darla Has A Treat For You series, they've offered what amounts to a very excellent mix CD every quarter. Like the older brother (or sister) you had (or never had) with the cool record collection and the opinion that you grew to appreciate and trust. Another feather in the cap of the label is their ongoing Bliss Out series, which has let everyone from Piano Magic to AMP and Windy And Carl explore their dreamy sides even more.
As the series title suggests, the majority of the music created for it falls into dreampop, ambient, shoegazer, dronescapes, or some combination of the above. Although this release by Aarktica is no different than that technically, it's one of the better in the series to come along in awhile. At 7 tracks and 40 minutes, it doesn't outstay it's welcome, and actually makes me even more interested to go out and hunt down more material from the group.
The disc opens with the swirling haze of "Aura Lee," which mixes a simple pitter-patter hi-hat and soft waves of guitars into a rolling backdrop for a lovely two-part vocal harmony from Jon De Rosa (the main fellow behind the group) and Lorraine Lelis. It's minimal and wintry in feel, but absolutely gorgeous. "You're Landlocked, My Love" rumbles along with some downright aggressive beat programming that pans quickly from channel to channel while De Rosa adds treated, monotone vocals that even further accentuate the solitude of the track.
While the long, echoed-out "Happy Anyway" may drift a bit too much for some (with sparse guitars and tone pulses pinging into oblivion), it fills in nicely toward the end and help make up for the louder tracks on the disc. Considering it is the Bliss-Out Series, "Nostalgia = Distortion" again turns in some pretty chunky beats, although the soft, warm edges of a pretty guitar melody help to smooth them a bit. "The Hook, The Reel, And The Pull" revisits the same melodic themes of the track in a dreamscape while "Song For A Free Williamsburg" is an ebbing and flowing track that ties many of the elements in the disc together into a long, solid album closer. As mentioned above, in places this release has a bit more kick than what you'd expect from the series, but it's the surprising nature of such that also makes it quite enjoyable. It's fuzzy and dream and despite not being able to completely bliss-out to it, it's definitely blissful.