Seven years since the release of his ambitious debut double-album Earth And Sky (2016), Musk Ox/The Night Watch guitarist and Agalloch collaborator NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE returns with his second full-length Old Growth, a moving collection of solo acoustic compositions recorded live (often by candlelight) in a woodland cabin on the shores of White Lake, Ontario.
Coming off the demanding productions of both The Night Watch and Musk Ox’s critically acclaimed third records, the idea for Old Growth was simple enough: record each of the album’s pieces live in a single take, capturing the atmosphere of the moment in all its delicate glory. After three gruelling days of recording, what emerged is the starkest and most immediate record of NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE’s rich catalog.
Deeply inspired by the acoustic realms of legendary records like Agalloch’s The Mantle, Opeth’s Morningrise, and Ulver’s Kveldssanger, Old Growth is a woodland meditation capable of entrancing minimalist folk enthusiasts and metal aficionados alike. To take the project even further, NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE teamed up with Norwegian composer Martin Romberg of Raven Music Editions (Emperor, Myrkur, Ulver) to publish a complete guitar tablature book in hopes of inspiring acoustically minded metalheads to explore the art of fingerpicking. In a world where noise has become synonymous with life, the fragile instrumentals of Old Growth offer a private soundtrack to the quiet truths within, reminding us of our place in this vast forest of existence.
In advance of the record’s release, today LAROCHETTE unveils the first single from Old Growth, “Ashes.”
Comments LAROCHETTE, “When I was asked by Portland, Oregon dark metal masters Agalloch to compose and perform acoustic interludes for their fifth record The Serpent & The Sphere back in 2012, I wrote six pieces with five appearing as album or bonus tracks. Over a decade later, I’m happy to finally share the sixth interlude, ‘Ashes,’ as the first single from Old Growth. Since I first discovered metal as a teenager in the early 2000s, I was always drawn to the short acoustic intros, outros and interludes that appeared on my favorite records. Beyond providing a stark contrast to the surrounding chaos, I always felt these acoustic reprieves carried their own unique brand of heaviness akin to the solitude experienced when facing the vastness of the night sky. A quiet, inevitable kind of weight that is both heavy and light, overwhelming and beautiful, all at once. The pieces I composed for Agalloch laid the foundation for my desire to create an album of interlude-inspired compositions so it is fitting that ‘Ashes’ would provide the first taste of what Old Growth has to offer. The fact that releasing ‘Ashes’ coincides with the recent announcement of Agalloch’s reunion concert makes this occasion that much more special for me.”
Stream NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE’s “Ashes” at THIS LOCATION.
Created with generous support from the City of Ottawa, Old Growth was engineered by Gareth Auden-Hole in a cabin on White Lake, Ontario, mixed by Gareth Auden-Hole at Là Là Studio, and mastered by Philip Shaw Bova, with layout by Isaac Valentin.
Old Growth will be released independently on July 21st. Find LP, tab book, and digital orders at the official NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION.
Old Growth Track Listing:
A lifelong musician who began with the violin at four years old, Canadian guitarist/composer/producer NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE’s musical journey didn’t truly take flight until he set aside the violin and picked up the electric guitar as a metal obsessed teenager. During this time, a fascination with metal’s acoustic side found him immersed in private classical guitar studies, further nurturing his love of the instrument while sparking his desire to compose. NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE’s guitar explorations eventually gave birth to the celebrated chamber folk ensemble Musk Ox (now a long-time collaboration with renowned cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne of Leprous, The Visit, and Kamacello) and the instrumental post folk metal project The Night Watch. When Agalloch invited LAROCHETTE to compose and perform original interludes for their fifth record The Serpent & The Sphere (2014), his passion for metal inspired acoustics had come full circle. Following this collaboration, NATHANAEL LAROCHETTE’s debut full-length appeared as the sprawling double-album Earth And Sky (2016), part Opeth inspired solo acoustic explorations, part This Will Destroy You and Mogwai-worshipping ambient post-rock soundscapes. Though much of his creative attention focused on Musk Ox and The Night Watch over the convening years, Nathanael Larochette has returned with Old Growth, an emotive set of unaccompanied acoustic miniatures representing his starkest and most intimate release to date; a love letter to the teenage metal nerd consumed by the beauty of the calm before the storm.