Review Summary: Has beauty ever really been encompassed like this? A true gem that even causes Metal Heads to stand by in awe.
As much as I'd love to bang my head for endless hours to heavy music, I can't help but staring at beautiful pieces of amazement. Musk Ox plays pure folk music. There is no metal here at all but that doesn't mean a damn thing for me. The extremely high levels of enjoyment come from the perfectly written and unforced folk melody lines. Although not an ambient album, "Musk Ox" impeccable atmosphere is credited to the use of beautiful folk riffs, occasional pianos and reverb laced vocals, and even more sparse synths.
While many of the tracks are quite lengthy this does not make for a stagnant listen. The never ending subtle changes are very noticeable as "Sur Une Infinie Route De Terre" gradually builds with very memorable melodies; these classical acoustic elements evolve into perfect textures that can only be credited to virtuosos of musicianship. If high merits can be given to technical players then the same can be said for Nathanaël Larochette[sole member of Musk Ox]. "Entre La Terre Et Le Ciel" finishes with a very soft yet catchy hymn-like anthem that reeks of originality and composure. The nature sounds of birds blends with running water to heighten the serene atmosphere as soft flutes lay you too sleep.
Although "Musk Ox" can be enjoyed before going to bed or during "wined down time", these seducing elements do not behest feelings of stagnancy. The main thing holding this album from a 5 is the lack of difference between the tracks; while the tracks are technically different in nature, the atmosphere seems to hold a bit of a recurring theme as the listener is lulled along. Some songs may seem to drag on a bit making the album as a whole a bit difficult to sit through. Because of this I would recommend giving occasional listens here and there to reap the most benefits. But, if you can find time for it, this can be a real treat during periods of relaxation or walks through a park or while watching the skies sunset.
"Musk Ox" is fully for fans of folk who like mellow but beautifully crafted pieces of acoustic sound. This album is almost guaranteed to never disappoint as each song is of very high compositional merit. If you like October Falls, Tenhi, and Agalloch, then you should definitely love Musk Ox.