Nathanael Larochette is the guitarist for the bands Musk Ox,a chamber folk outfit and for The Night Watch, a stellar prog metal band who are releasing “Boundaries.” I recently reviewed “Boundaries” so I was keen to hear what Nathanael Larochette would do if left to his own devices. “Earth and Sky” is a double album that focuses two other areas of Larochette’s skills, classical guitar and ambient music.
The first disc is “Earth” and it is just Larochette and his acoustic playing some very beautiful classical guitar pieces. There’s no denying his skills and compositional talent. It’s a stripped down look at his ability. And while I like it, I found the 40 minute second disc called “Sky” to be more compelling.
“Sky” is a multi-layered ambient piece that brings to mind Mogwai, Ulver and even a bit of God is an Astronaut. “Sky” is a slow building piece with electric guitars, keyboards and soundscapes. It is basically the polar opposite in many ways of “Earth.” It does go on quite a bit and as it is not broken into small sections, it does make for a commitment from the listener but a worthwhile one to be sure.
Nathanael Larochette is a busy artist and one that more people should be aware of. Whether it’s with The Night Watch or on this solo album. “Earth and Sky” is the work of an artist, not a performer. It’s pure art and showcases the abilities of a gifted composer.