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Mono - You Are There CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.97 | 103 ratings

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4 stars Meet Mono.

They're a japanese instrumental post-rock band, and theyre one of the best ones around. Often compared to labelmates Explosions in the Sky, I find them a great deal darker and more haunting. They have an eerie sense of harmony, dynamics and suspense. I have had the unique pleasure of seeing this band live, which can only be described as "out there".

On to the album: The first track, "The Flames Beyond the Cold Mountain", starts with near silence as very faint and haunting chords slowly fade in. Gradually more layers are added, the drums start to wail, and eventually the song is a dense cacauphony of crashing drums and screaming, fast-picked and heavily delayed guitar layers. This song is a great example of what Mono does best. They can take a simple theme and expand on it, continually adding layers upon layers until the intensity builds to a breaking point. Just when you think you will go deaf from the noise, they back off in favor of softer guitar harmonies.

The album consists of three 13+ minute epics, each separated by a 3 to 4 minute interlude. This is a very effective structure for their music. The interludes are usually softer, more ambient, and feature different instruments such as keyboards or xylophones. The second epic, "Yearning" is overall a bit lighter than the first, but still every bit as emotional. The music builds and backs off frequently, eventually bursting into a very loud chaos directly out of near silence. The third epic, "Moonlight", is more orchestral in nature than the rest of their music (which is normally based only on guitar, bass and drums).

This is an album to listen to with the lights out. You have to feel this album. As I learned during their live show, Mono are an experience, not a band. This is a great album from a great band, their best work to date, and an excellent addition to anyone's collection, but not quite a masterpiece... yet.

GoldenSpiral | 4/5 |


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