Musk Ox are a three piece neo-classical group hailing from Canada, consisting of three musicians on three instruments: classical guitar, cello and violin. A staggeringly talented group, over the course of an hour they play sublime, beautiful music to get lost in. It’s soft and hypnotic yet at the same time lively, with the instruments flowing harmoniously down lush avenues, constantly evolving yet never surrendering the ethereal atmosphere they weave throughout. Though instrumental, there’s a definite theme of nature running through the release, the music evocative of the beauty and mystique of the woodlands. Warm, wistful and contemplative, it’s one of the most unique, most exciting albums of the year.
The three musicians have a great understanding, each of them playing in perfect harmony from start to finish. Through much of the album, the guitar provides a rich background; the almost percussive nature of the playing mostly provides a lovely earthy backdrop, while the violin and cello take it in turn to lead the music. Flowing forward in perfect harmony, where one takes a step back the other comes forward to fill in, the lead instruments taking it in turn to take proceedings down into different beautiful paths, keeping the release constantly engaging and exciting for the solid hour. During Earthrise the way the two harmonise with each other during the climax is absolutely beautiful. The three musicians are so in tune with each other, that it all works so perfectly. The lead guitar during the beginning of Windswept is soft and beautiful, while the violin gives the music a soft dreamy vibe, and the cello just provides that low grounding to the album.
Overall this is a very special album that I would recommend to absolutely everyone. The mastery over their instruments and their keen sense of atmosphere make it the most beautiful album of the year so far. Soft, dreamy, upbeat and ethereal, this needs to be heard by everyone everywhere. With the high pitched exciting violin seeing the band looking at the stars, the low tones of the cello see them rooted in the earth, while the guitar provides a beautiful link between the two. A beautiful album for listening to under the stars, while they Serenade the Constellations above you. A very special album, and one of the very best 2014 has to offer.