Nor by Echavox
There are instances in the world of music when young and promising bands sometimes refuse to grow or evolve their sound, and sadly get left behind as the rest of the world moves on without them. This is not the case with Echavox's sophomore effort, 'Nor,' as these young musicians have truly matured and taken with them all of the knowledge they have picked up along the way to create something incredibly deep and genuine. I was first introduced to this band last year when I began writing for this site, and their debut effort really impressed me. I was excited to see their name pop up in my list of albums to be reviewed, and I am pleased to say that I was again impressed by the prowess and talent these guys possess.
The album opens with 'Prelude (This Is My Knife),' a dark and sorrowful tune that uses an acoustic guitar and a noticeably deeper vocal performance from the founder and frontman, Andrew Eastman. Alexis Murphy again provides lovely female backing vocals that compliment Andrew's haunting and disparate lyrics. The next track, the titular 'Nor,' features creepy yet somehow soothing sound effects overlaid by Murphy's echo-y vocals. An impending feeling of dread and doom come about for the listener yet there is no real fear to be felt, just a sense of caution that we all must obey at some point in our lives. Experimenting with electronic noise effects on the next track, 'Relief,' Eastman combines his vocals with Murphy's as the listener is transported to a plane of existence never thought of before, as the lyrics fill us with a sense of despair that eventually finds roots in the relief of non existence.
The composition is much more precise and intentional than on the debut album, again showing how Eastman and his bandmates have paid attention to the direction they want to head, yet they follow the roads less traveled and because of it have created something stronger and more relevant that their previous effort. The last and longest track, 'Thunder/Closure,' starts off slowly with gentle tones and provides a dreamy atmosphere for the listener. The song quiets in the center and features some heated conversation between Murphy, her family, and her friends. The music in the background grows more and more intense as the situation escalates, then breaks into an operatic performance of a church choir. After some static feedback and escalating sound effects the track peters out in a mix of recordings, loud screeches, and a dark voice whispering about the vanities of human perception and its downfalls.
Although the album only contains four tracks it was very clearly a labor of love between Eastman and his bandmates, and the listening experience was definitely worth my while. I know that in the future these talented individuals will continue to explore their passions and create amazing and thought provoking soundtracks for our so called human experience, while never backing down from their own ambitions and visions. Well done!
Check out the interview with Andrew Eastman below!
The album clearly shows how you have evolved as an artist; how have your tastes and inspirations changed over the years?
I have become much more interested in the use of electronics. Throughout high school and the first year ofcollege Iwas very involved in choir, theater, wind ensemble, marching band, and jazz.Generally electronics do not play a large role in these genres. I do not aim to create "electronic" music, but I have realized the possibilities available with the use of technology. I am able to incorporate and contort more unorthodox sounds, which I think creates a more interesting product. I have begun to break away from my normal songwriting technique and try to create music without having any rules or specific form.
You describe the years, making the album as "filled with turmoil.." Would you say that making music is a healing process for you?
Making music is a very relaxing process for me. During this period of my life I was introduced to many challenges and change and Nor is sort of my response and analysis of what I gained.
The composition on this album is superior to your previous one. What have you learned over the years about composition as an artist?
I try to be more specific about the balance and atmosphere of works as a whole. I try not to think about writing music using any form (verse & chorus) and just let it go where I think it will keep interesting. The most important part of my music to me is the overarching themes. I have learned that it is worth it to wait and go back in a couple months instead of hastily "finishing."