Release Date: Mar 24, 2009
Record label: Temporary Residence
Genre(s): Rock, Experimental
"Majestic" is a word often used to describe Mono, and this record, the band's fifth, will not challenge us to avoid using it. The huge wash of noisy guitars overshadows on Hymn to the Immortal Wind but never overwhelms the more subtle colors of the tracks, or the addition here and there of flute, tympani and a rather large chamber orchestra. Any of the seven tracks are enough to shred your senses and clear out room for new ones.
We’re not really still calling it post-rock, are we? At least the more cerebral, dissonant end of the genre picked up “math-rock” as a tag, a term with a little descriptive heft to it. In the wake of Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor!, a small but distinctive set of bands can be found whose music tends to exist somewhere between the distorted aggression of the former’s early work and the most retiring, string-kissed moments of the latter. Given the common fondness for lengthy track times, narrative or semi-narrative albums, occasional pomposity and technical skill, most of this music classifies as definitely, say, post-prog rock.
To an extent, Mono resist critical analysis. The Japanese instrumental quartet has no lyrics to parse. It has little pop culture impact. The group has many imitators, but it remains superior. It is no longer formally interesting. For 10 years, it has unfurled long songs with quiet beginnings and ….
There is a distinct charm in the complex simplicity of Japanese band Mono. There’s nothing singular or uniform about these folks. They start with delicate melodies, and then apply layers and layers of guitars and strings, adding glistening coats of aural shellac until there is a thick decoupage of sound. Hymn to the Immortal Wind is Mono’s latest, and it’s their most cinematic effort to date.