beyond the border
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MUSK OX

Musk Ox

Release:  2009

Label:  Absurdist Records

Avantgenre:  Neofolk

Duration:  44:21

Origin:  Canada

Official site:  http://www.myspace.com/embraceinashes

Review online since:  28.07.2009 / 23:19:58

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The idea of a "one-man band” has always been a one which has impressed me. The creativity and raw talent required to successfully carry such a task out convincingly is nothing short of astounding, and these talents are called upon to fantastic results by Nathanaël Larochette, here known by the moniker "Musk Ox”.

Within the first twenty seconds of the album the listener gets a clear idea of what will be contained in the next 45 minutes of sound: a homage to nature, a testament to the soul and – most apparent of all – three quarters of an hour of sheer, unparalleled beauty. The band are labeled as Neofolk, so general influences come as no surprise. The introduction to the first song brings to mind a less melancholic, more naturalistic Tenhi. Guitarwork is tinged with the acoustic sounds of Agalloch and Opeth and the listener can hear touches of the early post-rock of Sigur Ros or Mogwai. If you put this all together and compact it into a clearly defined sound, Musk Ox emerges elegantly from the blend in a wandering promenade through your ears and into your heart.

The most prominent instrument featured is the acoustic guitar, played with feeling and precision by the sole member. Melodies are both pleasing and affecting, washing over the listener without resorting to heavy use of layering or what I like to call "melodic entrenching”; burying the main lines behind waves of noise or drones (a good tool for many places, just not here) . Other instruments which appear here are the grand piano, various woodwind instruments and glockenspiels. Voice is present in the form of sparsely placed chants which add nicely to the music without distracting the listener from the rest of the music as full blown vocals undoubtedly would on this release.

If you enjoy any of the bands that I mentioned earlier on in my review, or you are looking for something both beautiful and intelligent, then I urge you to seek out this release. Musk Ox deserve to be raised to great heights in the next few years and I am sure that they will, so pick up this CD and witness a new beginning.

Simon Brand



TRACKLIST:

01 - Un Jardin Au Bout Du Monde
02 - Sur Une Infinie Route De Terre
03 - Entre La Terre Et Le Ciel
04 - Les Plus Beaux De Nos Jours
05 - Lullaby For Ghosts

 

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