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Mono - Nowhere, Now Here CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.76 | 88 ratings

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5 stars After 10 studio albums and 20 years, the Japanese Post-rock band released their album "Nowhere, Now Here" early in 2019. Their music has always been some of the best emotional and dynamic post-rock out there, expanding into new areas and also making some of the most symphonic post-rock in the genre by utilizing orchestral styles. This new album utilizes electronics for the first time. They also introduce their new drummer through this album.

The album starts out with a short introduction called "God Bless" which begins the album with layered synths and a warbling brass sound. This flows into the next track "After You Comes the Flood". The beginning is a soft guitar and a quick building of a fuzzy effect, a sudden stop, and starting again with a sudden intensity with a melodic riff shared between guitars and a thumping percussion. Later there is another sudden lift in the intensity, continuing the development around the main riff. More layers create more sound as it continues, and also more emotional power. The next track is "Breathe" and it actually features vocals from Tamaki for the first time ever. The track is soft, yet dark as electronics establish the foundation in a slow manner. Tamaki's soft and airy vocals feel so natural to the music and you wonder why she hasn't sung on any of their albums before. The signature post-rock guitar begins to pluck out pieces of the melody carried by the vocals. An echo effect from the guitars and soft mellotron style synths usher in a slow rhythmic pattern as this beautiful track continues.

The title track "Nowhere, Now Here" follows with the first lengthy track at over 10 minutes. This one starts out taking it's time, developing slowly with a solo guitar and later adding layers one by one, including more brass. At 3 minutes, everything falls to silence, and then a sudden eruption of music as the full band kicks into gear, with a stirring drum line and guitars supported by nice keys. At around 6 minutes, after the percussion drops out, it returns, this time building intensity even more and coaxing more power from the guitars. Excellent and beautiful track. This is the style of emotional and orchestral post rock the band is so famous for, and it reels me into their music every time.

"Far and Further" starts off with a dreamy, ascending riff repeating from a soft guitar with another guitar playing a soft melodic line over it. Again, this is another lovely track, but staying soft this time, until you get to the 3:30 mark, where there is a sudden dark, heaviness added turning this into a cinematic piece. "Sorrow" continues with this feeling with more soft guitars in the beginning. A slow beat comes in. It flows along nice for a while before a sudden burst of emotion. Again, there is that dark cinematic and sweeping feel. The original theme comes back with more string effects before the burst happens again. At 5 minutes, things get darker and heavier with more guitar added. Later, even another stage of loudness happens almost smothering everything else, but the beautiful theme still persists and it just climaxes into one of the emotional and expansive post-rock tracks ever. This track is a pure post-rock masterpiece!

"Parting" utilizes a piano and string effects in a pensive and lush track. The piano and the electronics in this album is exactly the dimension needed in Mono's music to make it perfect and fits right into the band's sound and only adds to the entire sound. "Meet Us Where the Night Ends" starts off with some atmospheric, spacey sounding effects while twinkling guitars play around it all. The sound builds as the synths drive the crescendo, and eventually percussion is added in. The percussion drops off further into the track, and again the sound starts to build, this time pushed on with the guitars, and some orchestral sounding string effects. The percussion starts again, and together everything pushes to another expansive climax. At the 6:30 mark, the guitar layers kick in and things get very thick and loud as it continues through it's 9+ minute duration. The heavy emotion of the music can build just as much emotion in your own soul as you listen. Phenomenal!

The atmospheric "Funeral Song" follows with the synths creating brass-like sounds that play long sustained notes. The final track comes much too quickly because you just want this beauty to go on. "Vanishing, Vanishing Maybe" ends the album with the chiming guitars playing over sustained synth chords. Just after 2 minutes, the drums kick in establishing a moderate tempo. At 3:30, the mood gets more expansive with a nice guitar melody line. But things end softly this time around.

The addition of electronics to Mono's music gave their music the element that is needed to make their music perfect. This album is absolutely amazing and the fact that it is all instrumental except for one track should not scare you away. The music is beautiful as always, almost beyond words. Each track on this album is an experience, full of emotion and expansiveness, the traits that have always existed in Mono's music, yet somehow, this time they have even made it better with more dynamics, many times unpredictable this time around. I keep saying this and completely believe that Mono is one of the best post-rock bands in existence and deserve to be up there with the greatness of GY!BE, Mogwai and Sigur Ros. They create music of the highest caliber and this time around, is even more symphonic, cinematic and expansive as ever. Highly recommended and deserving of 5 glowing stars!

TCat | 5/5 |


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