NOX - Freaks

Nox - Freaks

7 songs
47:29 minutes
***** ***
Depot 214


In environmental jargon, NOx stands for nitrogen oxide air pollutants, but don’t you worry about Nox, an instrumental trio from Brussels, whose music couldn’t feel much fresher. The band is led by Catherine Graindorge on violin and viola. She is backed by a bassist and a drummer, and this is already all it takes to create the rich sound that these Belgians are standing for. Apart from a guest guitarist on two tracks, Nox prove that one can play intriguing music without having to rely on guitars and keyboards.

After their self-titled debut album in 2008, Nox are now back with their second CD titled Freaks. The opener Electricity which starts with a sample from the classic science fiction film The Day The Earth Stood Still gives a good image of their sound right away. Locating themselves somewhere between plaintive post rock and cinematographic grandeur, this ten minute long track is a perfect vehicle to show of Graindorge’s imaginative violin skills. She is using a lot of effects to build a dense sound, preventing thus the risk of minimalist monotony. The following songs are all between five and seven minutes, except from the shorter Dust and the concluding title track which is another ten minute piece.

Freaks is an album that begs its audience to immerse themselves in the sophistication of its many interwoven melodies. As violin and viola are the key instruments, a certain classical influence is undeniable, but the rhythm section offers a nice rock-based counterweight. It is no surprise that the band have found in Karim Ouelhaj already a director who will manufacture a film about the music on this album. Post rock fans will be delighted that their chosen genre can very well exist in a realm completely devoid of guitars. Most of the time the band is dwelling in melancholy melodies, but they are also quite apt at building up tension that erupts in dynamic crescendos.

The CD has been mixed and mastered by Pierre Vervloesem of X-Legged Sally fame. If this isn’t incentive enough, I suggest you check out some of their tunes on their homepage to get an impression of their original take on an otherwise well trodden genre.

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