The Night Watch (Agalloch, Musk Ox) releasing new album (stream a track)
Four-piece Canadian band The Night Watch -- whose lineup includes Nathanael Larochette and Evan Runge, both of dark chamber folk project Musk Ox -- make beautiful, instrumental, violin-heavy folk music that fits equally within the worlds of "Progressive Metal" and "Modern Classical." Though we'd love to see one of their albums performed in full at Carnegie Hall, it's no surprise that Nathanael Larochette contributed guitar to dark folk black post metal band Agalloch's 2014 album The Serpent & the Sphere, and that metal sites like our own Invisible Oranges have been keeping The Night Watch on their radar. When writing about 2016's Boundaries -- The Night Watch's second full length album -- IO's Dan Lawrence wrote:
The music occasionally gallops, sometimes dips into folk melodicism, and even (about halfway through) takes on a flamenco feel. Whether you want to hear this as echoes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Rodrigo y Gabriela, metallic neofolk, relaxed instrumental metal, or even electrified new age (Yanni is amazing – please bite me), The Night Watch is something of an open cipher. Boundaries are made for crossing.
Third album An Embarrassment of Riches is now on its way and aptly named, as the album continues to reveal its riches and special sounds -- occasionally heavy -- throughout its eight tracks that will transport you right to being shipwrecked on a deserted island, which sort of unintentionally became the concept for this album (and is depicted on the Alice Duke-designed album artwork). Nathanael explains:
An Embarrassment of Riches was never intended to be a concept record but as the music was being written, a story slowly began to unfold. Each time another composition was completed, a new piece of the puzzle would reveal itself. The story loosely follows a nameless explorer who finds themselves shipwrecked on a seemingly deserted island. Whereas the first track depicts the beginning of the (mis)adventure to sea and the chaos that ensues, "Mendoza" finds the explorer awakening on the island, shipwrecked and abandoned, forced to face an overwhelmingly perilous situation without being crushed by the weight of their own doubt and loneliness. The song is about perseverance in the face of suffocating hopelessness and somehow finding the strength to transform fear into belief in oneself. This sense of forward momentum shrouded in uncertainty is at the core of the album’s concept.
The album's story is also told in part by visual artist Costin Chioreanu, who animated a to-be-released video for "The Summit (Part I)." The album is best heard start to finish, but you'll have to wait until November 15 to hear it all. Today we present the premiere of the above-mentioned "Mendoza." Listen below:
Land Ho! (11:04)
The Summit (Part I) (6:04)
Dance of the Mountain People (7:36)
Telling Brow and Tongue Root (10:05)
The Summit (Part II) (14:39)