Nox Arcana

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Nox Arcana
Origin Cleveland, OH USA
Genres Gothic, Neoclassical dark wave, Dark ambient, New Age
Years active 2003-present
Labels Monolith Graphics
Associated acts Michelle Belanger, Buzz-Works
Website NoxArcana.com
Members Joseph Vargo
William Piotrowski

Nox Arcana is an American neoclassical/dark ambient musical duo, formed in 2003 by Joseph Vargo and William Piotrowski. Nox Arcana specializes in concept albums based on gothic fiction and classic horror literature. Such literary references include H. P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, The Brothers Grimm, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Allan Poe.[1] Some of their albums also make reference to medieval themes and ancient mythology.[2]

Their Winter's Knight album, released in 2005, ranked as high as #8 on the Billboard chart for Top Holiday Albums.[3]

Musical characteristics[edit]

Nox Arcana is influenced by New Age, classical, ambient music, rock music, and film soundtracks, citing other composers such as John Carpenter, Danny Elfman, AC/DC, Wojciech Kilar, Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Beethoven, Jerry Goldsmith, and Hans Zimmer.[4][5][6][7]

Nox Arcana's music is melodic and moody, focusing on a dominant melody line. Instrumentation varies with each album as appropriate to the theme or time period of the album concept, and typically includes piano, bells, violin, pipe organ, harpsichord, timpani drums and other percussion.[8] Some albums also include cymbals, lutes, acoustic guitars, bagpipes and glockenspiel, depending on the theme of a given album. Enforcing the theme and the narrative is the use of sound effects, such as, for instance, a door creaking or a pendulum swinging on the Poe-inspired Shadow of the Raven.[9] Vocals and narratives are also used sparingly to help relate a story or serve as introduction to a musical piece, for example, the voice of "Jonathan Harker" and whispered female voices of "Dracula's brides" that beckon to the listener, a carnival barker with the indistinct sounds of an audience in the distance, or "Edgar Allan Poe" and a voice calling out from the grave after being prematurely buried, the gravelly voice of a "witch" casting a spell, and a variety of low Gregorian-style chanting and ethereal choirs.[8]

Discography[edit]

Year Album details Billboard peak
US
2003 Darklore Manor
  • Released: December 15, 2003
  • Label: Monolith
2004 Necronomicon
  • Released: October 10, 2004
  • Label: Monolith
2005 Winter's Knight
  • Released: July 10, 2005
  • Label: Monolith
8
Transylvania
  • Released: October 21, 2005
  • Label: Monolith
2006 Carnival of Lost Souls
  • Released: June 6, 2006
  • Label: Monolith
Blood of Angels (with Michelle Belanger)
  • Released: October 13, 2006
  • Label: Monolith
Blood of the Dragon
  • Released: November 27, 2006
  • Label: Monolith
2007 Shadow of the Raven
  • Released: July 20, 2007
  • Label: Monolith
2008 Grimm Tales
  • Released: April 30, 2008
  • Label: Monolith
Phantoms of the High Seas
  • Released: October 13, 2008
  • Label: Monolith
2009 Blackthorn Asylum
  • Released: June 21, 2009
  • Label: Monolith
Zombie Influx (with Jeff Hartz of Buzz-Works)
  • Released: September 15, 2009
  • Label: Monolith
Winter's Eve
  • Released: November 27, 2009
  • Label: Monolith
2010 Theater of Illusion
  • Released: July 15, 2010
  • Label: Monolith
House of Nightmares (with Jeff Hartz of Buzz-Works)
  • Released: October 1, 2010
  • Label: Monolith
2011 The Dark Tower
  • Released: September 30, 2011
  • Label: Monolith
2012 Winter's Majesty
  • Released: December 12, 2012
  • Label: Monolith
2013 Legion of Shadows
  • Released: October 31, 2013
  • Label: Monolith
2013 Ebonshire
  • Released: December 7, 2013
  • Label: Monolith

Worldwide Publisher[edit]

Joseph Vargo is a renowned gothic-fantasy artist who has created an extensive portfolio of work ranging from album covers and books to posters, music cds, and other products that are distributed through his publishing company Monolith Graphics.[10][11][12] Before forming Nox Arcana in 2003, Joseph Vargo produced two albums for Midnight Syndicate[13][14] but left the band in 2000 to co-write Tales From The Dark Tower, a book that follows the exploits of a vampire during the First Crusade.[15] He later published Dark Realms magazine and released a best-selling card deck, The Gothic Tarot.[16] Monolith Graphics also publishes and distributes Nox Arcana music worldwide.

Stage and Screen[edit]

Nox Arcana support a wide variety of independent productions like radio dramas and student films to which they lend their music. A number of professional performances of gothic plays, such as "Frankenstein", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", "Dracula" and "Richard III" have featured music by Nox Arcana.[17]

William Piotrowski wrote the score for a local production entitled "Ghosts of Ohio", a video documentary about Mary Ann Winkowski, a real-life medium who inspired the CBS television show Ghost Whisperer.[18] He recently finished a musical score for the upcoming vampire film Crimson Winter. [19]

Nox Arcana's music is used by theme parks such as Busch Gardens, Six Flags, Knott's Scary Farm and Universal Studios during Halloween for scenes and haunted houses based upon their album themes.[4][20] Nox Arcana's music is featured exclusively on the TV show America Haunts for the Travel Channel, which has aired throughout the Halloween weekend each year since 2009.[21][22][23] Music from Nox Arcana's Transylvania album was featured on the FOX TV show So You Think You Can Dance.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Interview with Joseph Vargo, Artist & Musician", Flames Rising, 2006-09-18 
  2. ^ "Editorial", Echo Immortalis, Winter 2007: 31–32 
  3. ^ "Billboard Music Charts". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  4. ^ a b Koster, Rick (October 7, 2008), "Nox Arcana", The Day (New London, CT.), retrieved 2008-10-12 
  5. ^ Haney, Josh (October 2006), "Interview with Nox Arcana", Wicked Karnival Magazine 
  6. ^ Pan, Marcus (February 2006), "Interview with Nox Arcana", Legends Magazine (156) 
  7. ^ Ioannou, Rania (April 2008), "Interview with Joseph Vargo", Metafysiko: Fantasy Gate (Greece) 
  8. ^ a b Describing musical characteristics: National Gamers Guild for Darklore Manor, Temple of Dagon for Necronomicon, Christmas Reviews for Winter's Knight, Chain DLK for Transylvania , Draconis Blackthorn for Carnival of Lost Souls, Side-line for Blood of Angels, Paizo Publishing for Blood of the Dragon, Flames Rising for Shadow of the Raven, and Fangoria Musick for Phantoms of the High Seas.
  9. ^ Valentinelli, Monica (2009-04-24). "Review of Shadow of the Raven". Flames Rising. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  10. ^ Bennett, Tim (October 30, 2005). "Gothic Empire: Ten Minutes with Joseph Vargo". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH): L3. 
  11. ^ Joseph Vargo's artist portfolio
  12. ^ Monolith Graphics publisher's website
  13. ^ "Interview with Joseph Vargo". Gaming Report. 2004-12-23. 
  14. ^ "Renaissance News". Renaissance Magazine. January 2007. 
  15. ^ Vargo, Joseph (2000). Tales From The Dark Tower. Monolith Graphics. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-9675756-0-5. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  16. ^ Previews starred item, September 2005. The Gothic Tarot ranks #7 of 10 (above Star Wars and Batman card games)
  17. ^ Nox Arcana performance credits
  18. ^ MSNBC article on Ghost Whisperer and Local story on Mary Ann Winkowski
  19. ^ Crimson Winter movie website
  20. ^ Teresenza, Serena (October 2008), "Interview with Joseph Vargo", Gothic Gateways, retrieved 2009-08-26 
  21. ^ "Nox Arcana news". 
  22. ^ "TV Guide Listing: "America Haunts"". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  23. ^ "America Haunts production credits, episodes II, III, IV". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  24. ^ Cole Horibe performs his solo routine to the song "Night of The Wolf" by Nox Arcana. (2012-09-05), So You Think You Can Dance. 

Interviews[edit]

External links[edit]