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Dead Leaves Rising

Dead Leaves Rising was the project born from the ashes of Jon DeRosa’s first musical project Fade, which was active from 1993-1995. Musically, DLR showed a complexity and an aggression that was absent in all of the Fade material, which tended to be passive and mournful. The acoustic guitar still served as the basis for all songs, but DeRosa’s classical training and appreciation of the studio environment led him to experiment with layered guitars, other instruments and collaboration with other players. He drew influence from bands on the Projekt Records label, (Lycia, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Thanatos, Love Spirals Downwards and Eden) as well as the 4AD label, meshing darker atmospheres with the folk music he grew up with.

DLR’s first CD Shadow Complex was released on DeRosa's own Brighter Records imprint in June 1997. It was limited to 500 copies on matte art paper, hand-assembled, and included a comic that DeRosa drew. DeRosa made up the term “shadow complex” to describe the social phenomenon he saw in a lot of his (often older) friends and acquaintances: 20-somethings from affluent upbringings with college educations, doing hard drugs and looking for reasons to be miserable. As someone who grew up feeling extremely detached, he couldn’t imagine why someone would want to “portray” that mood as glamorous, as those in the gothic community had.

In the years that followed, DeRosa began his ambient/guitar project Aarktica, released a cassette of downtempo ambient/electronic music as Still, joined the NYC chamber pop ensemble Flare, and graduated from NYU. It wasn’t until 2001 that DeRosa released the second and final DLR album Waking Up On The Wrong Side Of No One on Plow City Records. For this release, DeRosa waned from the brooding, gothic sounds of the first album, and toward a folkier, darker indie folk sound.

Label problems plagued the release from the start, and the album fell largely into obscurity. Frustrated and now involved in other projects (Aarktica and Flare), DeRosa laid the project to rest in 2002. DeRosa reissued both albums digitally in 2011.


Dead Leaves Rising Press

Jon De Rosa takes gothic melancholia into the folk realm on his debut, a collection of gloomy songs that grapple with concepts of faith. Graceful arpeggios and lilting chord sequences are accompanied on different tunes by an interesting array of elements: mournful electric guitar, hand percussion, drum kit, viola, harp, and keyboards. De Rosa's bass vocals possess a theatrical quality that offers a nice contrast to his acoustic six-string, and he sustains a balance of light and dark that keeps the songs compelling. –Acoustic Guitar Magazine

[Dead Leaves Rising] makes The Red House Painters sound like members of the local glee club. Ink 19

This is certainly my favorite of [DeRosa’s] solo work. His voice is perfect for the pristine guitar and soft melodies, filling these long, moving songs with a deep melancholy and beauty that is very unique."- Jeff Marsh, Delusions of Adequacy

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