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MONO

Post Rock/Math rock • Japan


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Mono picture
Mono biography
Founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1999

The Japanese Mogwai? Well, not quite, but one might get the impression if not paying enough attention to the music. Mono are undoubtedly one of the most popular representatives of the post-rock genre. However, do not go expecting to hear anything remotely similar to the more "avant-garde" side of post-rock (GY!BE, A Silver Mt. Zion etc.) Mono's approach is considerably more melodic, and the compositions are structurally much simpler. This guitar-lead ensemble mostly relies on creating very emotionally charged compositions, occasionally using huge build-ups with their massive distorted guitar riffs ("wall of noise") in a similar way to their Scottish counterparts Mogwai. Their approach is hardly the most original one, but it does sound good, and I guess that's all that really matters, right? Recommended for fans of the genre.

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MONO Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy MONO Music


Nowhere Now HereNowhere Now Here
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE 2019
$12.58
$5.99 (used)
Hymn to the Immortal Wind [Vinyl]Hymn to the Immortal Wind [Vinyl]
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE 2009
$19.73
$20.26 (used)
Requiem For Hell (2xLP)Requiem For Hell (2xLP)
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE 2016
$18.75
$25.87 (used)
The Last DawnThe Last Dawn
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE 2014
$11.34
$20.26 (used)
Rays of DarknessRays of Darkness
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE 2014
$13.55
$20.26 (used)
For My ParentsFor My Parents
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE 2012
$22.58
$24.69 (used)
Hymn To The Immortal Wind (10 Year Anniv. Edition)Hymn To The Immortal Wind (10 Year Anniv. Edition)
Temporary Residence 2019
$24.48
$33.27 (used)

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MONO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MONO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 30 ratings
Under The Pipal Tree
2001
3.84 | 40 ratings
One Step More And You Die
2003
3.89 | 39 ratings
Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined
2004
3.49 | 22 ratings
Mono & World's End Girlfriend: Palmless Prayer-Mass Murder Refrain
2005
3.98 | 90 ratings
You Are There
2006
3.78 | 141 ratings
Hymn To The Immortal Wind
2009
4.03 | 33 ratings
For My Parents
2012
4.08 | 44 ratings
The Last Dawn
2014
3.91 | 23 ratings
Rays Of Darkness
2014
3.33 | 14 ratings
Requiem For Hell
2016
4.19 | 56 ratings
Nowhere, Now Here
2019

MONO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.16 | 12 ratings
Holy Ground: NYC Live
2010

MONO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MONO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 5 ratings
Gone: A Collection of EP's 2000-2007
2007

MONO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.74 | 6 ratings
Hey, You
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mono / Pelican
2005
3.00 | 2 ratings
Memorie Dal Futuro
2006
4.04 | 4 ratings
Travels In Constants (Vol. 22): The Phoenix Tree
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Transcendental
2015

MONO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nowhere, Now Here by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 56 ratings

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Nowhere, Now Here
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Japanese Post Rock veterans release their 10th album in 20 years and continue to demonstrate their willingness and drive to grow and evolve by offering major synthesized electronic sound washes as ample aqueous solutions in which to launch, buoy, and bathe the vehicles of their instrumental constructs. They have been kind of stumbling along, trying to grow and try new things in recent years but their efforts have not proven successful critically or in sales. Here, now, they have broken several old Mono patterns: with first lineup change ever with new drummer Dahm Majuri Cipolla, rampant and all-pervasive use of electronics (computer keyboards? or MIDI?) and Tamaki's debut vocal.

1. "God Bless" (1:44) "warped record" orchestral strings! It's all warped: "horns," too! Very cool! Like something from a David Sylvian record. (5/5)

2. "After You Comes the Flood" (5:36) dirty, raspy synths and guitars fade into this one for a long (0:56) introduction before the full band burst forth with a solid chord progression within which the familiar MONO tremolo guitar playing moves around. Drumming is very solid, bass is loud and super-chunky, guitars are insistent. A little lull at the end of the third minute allows for a second burst into full frontal brutality--this time with the right channel guitar going rogue and freaky. Awesome stuff! Gets the adrenaline pumping to hear the band firing on all cylinders again. A top three song for me. (9.5/10)

3. "Breathe" (5:24) slow low end synth "horn" chord washes open this one before the breathy "ANNE PIGALLE-like voice of Tamaki enters. Wow! This is different! And awesome! A MONO torch song! It's gorgeous if a little two-dimensional. (9/10)

4. "Nowhere, Now Here" (10:24) opens with gentle, background untreated guitar slow-picked arpeggi before solo electric guitar enters and, then bass and slow drums and "horn" synth chords. After a brief pregnant pause, the full band jumps in with great force and a great weave (with synth strings?) at 3:15. What ensues is beautiful, insistent, emotional, and powerful. At 5:05 the drums and bass start a constant quick-pulse just before a break in which the two guitars continue playing off of each other in their own repetitive styles. Bass and snare rolls reenter in the second half of the seventh minute and then kick drum. At 7:50 everything gets loosed but this is weak until the tremolos really speed up and the cymbal crashes get going. Don't like the drums' backing off as the guitars continue screaming. (17/20)

5. "Far and Further" (5:41) guitar arpeggi with heavy reverb is counterpointed by gently picking guitar and then by super chorused and two channeled guitar strums and thick bass notes. Nice weave that stays mellow until the three minute mark when bass drum and bowed instrument check in. At 3:40 the raunchy electric guitar tremolos show up as cymbals and orchestral sounds join. Never reaches fast speed or frenetic playing, but effectively conveys a mood. (8.75/10)

6. "Sorrow" (8:30) the two guitars, with their two styles, playing gently, each with more lush electronic effects that usual, before steady blues-rock drums join in until the two minute mark when a pulse of bass and wall of shifting orchestral strings chords joins in for fifty seconds pure beauty. Then things get quiet and more sparse again for thirty seconds before swaths of "singular" strings begin swooping in and around the music to the most gorgeous, emotional effect. At 4:45 the beat intensifies as the drums and bass begin pounding and crashing while the musical soundscape becomes awash in the thickness of a constant kind of tremolo. Beginning at the end of the eighth minute Taka's full-chord tremolos with keyboard mirror bombard and bathe us until the song's Berlin School sequenced demise in the final 30 seconds. Definitely a top three song; probably my favorite song on the album. (19/20)

7. "Parting" (4:25) piano and strings! It's so MONO but it's unlike anything they've ever done before. Could be Jesy Chiang and her CICADA band. Very pretty, very emotional. (8.75/10)

8. "Meet Us Where the Night Ends" (9:05) opens with odd sequence (arpeggio) of computer-sampled vocal loops before guitar arpeggio joins in. Very cool! At the one minute mark a second guitar enters playing some echoed and spaciously placed notes. In the third minute the second guitarist doubles his slow pace as bass and cymbals (and then full drums) and "orchestration" join in. Not very complex music but all threads are woven into a nice tapestry. Around 3:20 things break down to the original voice and guitar foundation before low-end guitar tremolo and orchestral strings' rising and falling chord progression ensues. Drums re-emerge at the five minute mark. Searing electric guitar flames in at 5:36 to add his emotional input. At 6:45 drummer signals "it's time to get real" as everybody seems to amp up their intensity (especially the drums--which erupt into full freak out mode at 7:17). Awesome! And different! (18/20)

9. "Funeral Song" (3:21) flutey church organ swirling around a cycle of a few chords before a sequence of "trumpet plus horn chords" join in. And woven together with some reverb and other effects and that's it! Awesome! (9/10)

10. "Vanishing, Vanishing Maybe" (6:14) Yoda's heavily reverbed guitar arpeggi (on the left) are soon joined by Taka's own louder sound on the right. Add Wurlitzer-like organ in the second minute. The melodies and harmonic structure here is so cool, so familiar. Drum kit enters at 2:10. Sounds like practice, nothing too challenging or groundbreaking in terms of structure until the third ROBIN GUTHRIE-like shoe-gaze guitar comes sliding in at 3:28. Now that is cool! Just a solid COCTEAU TWINS instrumental. (8.75/10)

Five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music--one of the few Post Rock albums that have ever earned five stars from me, but this is a dazzling display of the core basic best that the sub-genre has to offer juxtaposed with a band's maturity plus the rewards it can reap with it's willingness to take risks and try new things. Bravo! Taka, Tamaki and Yoda for your metamorphosis.

 Hymn To The Immortal Wind by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.78 | 141 ratings

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Hymn To The Immortal Wind
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars A veteran rock combo MONO is known as one of the most important Japanese post rock project prides. This album "Hymn To The Immortal Wind" was released in 2009, namely in their 'matured' days, veiled in a dark but dreamy sleeve grandeur. Basically their powerful creativity for so-called progressive rock should be based upon authentic drone, shoegaze post rock but dramatic sound toxicity is worth drinking via musical material, let me say.

From the beginning "Ashes In The Snow" quiet, repetitive but deep heavy guitar fuzz phrases knock your heart really. Magnificent expectation for their vivid sound vision can be heard at first. Not anything special nor eccentric around you indeed, but why cannot you lean forward? Mysterious melodic confusions would be continued via "Burial At Sea" followed by "Silent Fright, Sleeping Dawn" drenched with downtempo sorrowful stream through their instrumental fragility.

"Pure As Snow" is full of purity like the title but simultaneously crazy convoluted heaviness and serious explosive sound vertigo ... the subtitle "Trails Of The Winter Storm" is telling enough. Via their opuses you could not feel of immortality but continuous empty dream. Another tragedy is "Follow The Map" the shortest track filled with simple but meaningful melodic phrases. One of highlights "The Battle To Heaven" sounds kinda pain for getting hopeful future despite of distant painful past ... at least for me. And the epilogue "Everlasting Light" should be the heartwarming eternity, flooded with noisy but optimistic melody brilliance and majority.

Such a theatrical creation would let you know a wild snow shower once in your rock life. Not innovative but fascinating really.

 Nowhere, Now Here by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.19 | 56 ratings

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Nowhere, Now Here
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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!

 Travels In Constants (Vol. 22): The Phoenix Tree by MONO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
4.04 | 4 ratings

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Travels In Constants (Vol. 22): The Phoenix Tree
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars In between 2006's "You Are There" and 2009's "Hymn to the Immortal Wind", 2 seminal albums in the excellent Japanese post- rock band "Mono"'s discography, an EP was released to help keep fans appeased during this time. This EP was part of a greater series called "Travels in Constants", a collection of limited release EPs released between the years 1999 and 2015 by the American label Temporary Residence Limited. These EPs featured bands like "Mogwai", "Explosions in the Sky", "Low", "Songs: Ohia" and "Eluvium" to name a few and there were 25 volumes total. Volume 22 was Mono's contribution to this series and the EP was called "The Phoenix Tree". The 4 tracks on this EP were released exclusively on this EP and are centered around the aftermath of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and the rising of the city from the ashes.

Mono is a band that has received a lot of respect in the post-rock genre as a band that has been at the forefront of the movement. The band still releases new albums, and has one coming soon in 2019. Their music is definitely a moody brand of post rock, yet they stay mostly away from the avant-garde style of GY!BE and incorporate a more melodic and beautiful, yet dark sound. Most of their music is also instrumental. The basic band is made up of four individuals, Yoda and Takaagira Goto on guitars, Tamaki on bass and Yasunori Takada on drums. This EP also features a small string ensemble.

The EP "The Phoenix Tree" starts out with "Gone". The track is a pensive and soft song starting with two guitars playing counter melodies. The basic band soon joins as the music swells a bit, but stays melodic and pensive and soon becomes more stately as strings join in. Instead of a slow crescendo, this one intensifies in shorter stages since it is rather short at 4 minutes, so it becomes abrasive quickly representing how quickly things can change.

"Black Rain" flows from the last track on a metallic fading drone. This 9 minute track takes more time to develop as guitars swirl quietly around each other in a more complimentary style this time. Shortly after the 3 minute mark, guest Giovanna Cacciola begins a reading in Italian as the band continue a lovely backdrop and I swear I can hear mellotron underneath it all. This is one of the few times the band utilizes any kind of vocals. At 7 minutes, there is a sudden increase in intensity without any build and the vocals stop as the band plays with a lot of passion.

"Rainbow" hints at the promise of better days to come with a short track featuring only the string ensemble playing a brighter sounding theme.

"Little Boy (1945 - Future)" ends the EP with another 9 minute track. It starts with a music box playing with the melody slightly askew. This fades out and a drone fades in with sustained guitar notes playing around it. Soon, the music box starts again with it's previous theme and the guitars and drone adding a backdrop. A slow crescendo builds with strings joining in. Intensity grows with the crescendo. At 5:30, we reach a plateau as drums start in and a lovely melody is birthed from the music box theme. Churning guitars continue to build the intensity from this into a beautiful and emotional ending.

Mono continues to amaze on this EP which adequately fills the gap between albums during this time. It is no small feat the way the band builds a beautiful melody against a bleak backdrop, but this is their main strength. The tracks on this limited released EP are now available on the collection "Gone: A Collection of EPs 2000-2007" and would be the best way to obtain the tracks from this EP, but if you find either copy, you would be well served to get either one. It is not very often that I can rate an EP above 3 stars, especially one that is available on another album, but in this case, the music just soars and should not be missed, especially among post-rock fans. Highly recommended.

 Requiem For Hell by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.33 | 14 ratings

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Requiem For Hell
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I love Mono and what they do, but I have to say that this album is quite a disappointment after their previous three albums--which were all great.

1. "Death in Rebirth" (8:05) a typical slow building Mono song but what's up with the drummer? He seems to be way off and too militaristic. The song finally gets good at the (prolonged) crescendo and when the drums disappear. (7.5/10)

2. "Stellar" (4:58) starts off with some awesome strings and then piano to play the slow weave of arpeggi. Tuned percussion joins in in the third minute and then the staticky guitar feedback. Very nice, if simple, tune. (8.5/10)

3. "Requiem for Hell" (17:48) opens with two guitars weaving their arpeggi to perfect beauty. Things start getting a little raunchier (in a good way) with some distorted guitar tracks and bells in the third minute. When the drums join in at the five minute mark it's like someone stuck a needle into a balloon--it diminishes the beautiful effect that had been built up to this point. How could the band and producer not hear the horrible effect the drums have on this music? Luckily, there is a reprieve from the drums starting at 9:15. By 10:15 the song is starting afresh with all new arpeggi coming from the guitars. Drum play is added in the twelfth minute, but only to accent the other instruments. Then, when all hell breaks loose (no pun intended) at 12:20, the drummer is mixed farther back in the mix and his play is more in tune with the cacophony occurring all around. This is actually quite an appropriate and effective psychedelic section for the subject matter (not unlike some of the frenzy in more recent MOTORPSYCHO songs). And it plays out for the entirety of the song's final five and a half minutes! Best song on the album. (9/10)

4. "Ely's Heartbeat" (8:27) one of the weakest Mono songs I've heard in a long time. The drums are so off and the instrumentalists seem to be careless. (6.5/10)

5. "The Last Scene" (6:43) a very pretty, slow and deliberate almost HAROLD BUDD/ROBIN GUTHRIE song. (8.5/10)

A good album that is worth hearing--especially if you are a Post Rock or Mono fan.

 The Last Dawn by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.08 | 44 ratings

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The Last Dawn
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Mono. From Japan. How this band stays beneath the radar I have no clue. Master 'storytellers' with their musical soundscapes, their music is always meditative, deeply emotive and, despite seemingly 'simple' song structures, the band always performs at a flawless level. I realize that Post Rock is not for everyone--and I rarely find a Post Rock album to be worthy of the "masterpiece of all-time" status--but this dedicated, focused, persevering Japanese band may have achieved such a status with this 2014 release. And, with the inclusion of its companion release, Rays of Darkness, the deal may be sealed. As described on their Facebook page, The Last Dawn is the "lighter" of the two albums and probably the more melodic and "prettier" of the two. It also reveals a scaled-back, slimmer lineup of musicians when compared to their releases in the mid and late Naughties. Yet the two 2014 releases offer quite a variety of instrumental companions --piano, tuned percussives, strings, trumpets, death metal "growl" vocals--all the while remaining firmly reliant on their one consistent and remarkable trait: the heavily effected tremolo strummed electric guitars of Hideki "Yoda" Suematsu and Takaakira "Taka" Goto. The influences of Minimalists like Henryk Górecki, soundtrack artists like Ennio Morricone and Lars von Trier, and shoe gaze innovators like Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie and My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields are quite evident throughout the album(s).

The Last Dawn starts out rather sedately with the quiet, spacious, rather low-key, "The Land Between the Tides/Glory" (8/10). The song begins its post-rock climb to climactic release in the third minute but then falls slowly and delicately after the seven minute mark--which, I think, marks the end of the "Glory" part of the two-part song. (Is this song--or album--an eulogy to WWII Japan?)

2. Katana" (6:21) (10/10) marks one of the most beautiful post-rock melodies/songs I've ever heard--a feeling that continues through the next three songs, 3. "Cyclone" (6:24) (10/10) with its awesome bass grounding throughout and amazingly sustained peak at 3:00, and 4. "Elysian Castles" (8:11) with its gorgeous piano-based Japanese folk melody and ever-so delicately woven guitar and cello threads (10/10).

5. "Where We Begin" (7:25) just sounds a little bit old and tired--like an old U2 song that pulses and rocks but never really goes anywhere. (7/10)

6. "The Last Dawn" (8:37) contains some extraordinarily beautiful, slowly developing three-part threads woven into a rather brilliant and unusual harmonic tapestry. At 2:45 an almost Gospel plea arises momentarily from the tremolo-picked lead guitar but then just as suddenly disappears. The weave deconstructs down to just one single instrument by the four minute mark before being reconstituted with sliding blues-chords, crescendoing cymbols and chime-like two-note arpeggi. Gorgeous yet understated. The power and strength established by the seventh minute sustain themselves through toward the end of the song, the end of the album, but then quietly dissipate as if into the night mist. Really emotional! So powerful and yet not over-the-top or bombastic. Masterful. (9/10)

Again, I am not sure of the "story" Mono are trying to tell with the music on this album: end of the Japanese empire? end of Industrial society? end of human occupancy of planet Earth? Could be all or none of these. Regardless, the band has put together a collection of songs that convert power, grace, beauty, and loss with a kind of emotional impact rarely heard/felt in modern music. An album that really needs to be heard to be believed. And felt.

 Hymn To The Immortal Wind by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.78 | 141 ratings

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Hymn To The Immortal Wind
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BatBacon

2 stars "Hymn to the immortal wind" is ironically an a bit overblown album, but I always thought of it as "Okay" in the background while sleeping. At least a nice substitute for Sigur Rós (thats a crazy idea, there is no such thing!) or Godspeed you! Black Emperor. But today I made the huge mistake to pay a bit attention to the immortal wind and actually listen to it. I found that the album is missing two important things, the first is good songwriting and the second is a decent drummer. I've listened to progressive rock for several years now and even though many of my favorite albums are "progressive", many of the classic albums of this "genre" has a bit of a problem with separating epic songwriting from good, inspirational songwriting. They are not necessarily the same thing, which Mono is making a fine example of with this album.

Seven songs, over an hour of music, but nothing here is very memorable or touching. The ideas behind the album seems to have been to write the most beautiful, sad and epic songs on the planet and the first five minutes of the first song you actually believe that they will. It starts off sooooo fantastic, you really can't put it into words. Sad but beautiful guitar playing, an outstanding and very emotional string arrangement, everything slowly builds up to the epic climax of the song. The problem is that it never stops building, like they ran out of ideas for this part. It just goes on and on and nothing really happens. It sounded so very promising in the beginning, but the only climax we get is when the drummer releases his great rhythmic powers over his drum kit in a fantastically technical performance. I guess thats how the drummer likes to see it, anyway. In reality its goes so wrong you really can't believe your ears.

When a drummer just tries to score points with advanced fills without listening to the song, the rhythm or the mood, the song dies like a fly on a windshield. Yasunori Takada should have done something like the drummer of pop group Glasvegas or Mumford and sons, a simple, marching rhythm with a lot of emotion and power, something to give the song a lift without putting itself in center of the song. No one can be Neil Peart in a Godspeed-ish song, it would make no sense. Especially not this drummer who really can't pull off any of the stunts he takes on.

After the first song you might think the next would be better. Its not. Different song, exactly the same idea - "lets play this sad but beautiful guitar melody for about ten minutes while the string section slowly builds up to the songs great climax with epic drumming and loud sounds". One song like this is okey, but two in a row? To tell you the truth, all of the songs on the album is like this. A great build up to an epic final that never, ever comes. Track number five is my favorite from the album, because its only four minutes and still its just as "epic" as the ten minute songs.

I guess its hard to make instrumental albums that keep the listener interested whole the way through, but this is certainly not how to do it. I think some vocals could have helped them, because now the song haven't got own identities. Its more like "epic song 1", "epic song 2"... and so on. Also, don't go for the epic stuff without ideas for it. The classic prog albums are considered "classic" for great songwriting, not epicness. Thats just one really great thing to spice up the songs with. But without a good song (and great rhythms) epicness is nothing at all. Dry, boring and very very mindless.

 Hymn To The Immortal Wind by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.78 | 141 ratings

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Hymn To The Immortal Wind
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars By this point, I've more or less given up on Mono growing musically. Their first few albums were great, but by 2008 it was long past the point where bands could just play middle-of-the-road lukewarm Mogwai/Godspeed-inspired post-rock and expect that to fly. If you're a reasonably experienced post-rock listener, then literally nothing on Hymn to the Immortal Wind will surprise you, except perhaps for how bland it is; if you aren't, I worry that it will leave you wondering what all the fuss is about. Please, don't judge the genre on this lukewarm and mediocre album; there's better stuff out there, including far better albums by Mono.
 You Are There by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.98 | 90 ratings

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You Are There
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I actually like Mono's You Are There a little less than their preceding albums; it's still a well- produced and well-performed post-rock calvacade, but I think the soundscapes in question are a little less well-judged. For the sort of slow post-rock sound Mono go for, judging exactly how long to let the quiet parts rumble on for before breaking out in a loud instrumental crescendo is crucial, and I think this time around their judgement calls are a little off. Still, anyone who enjoyed the previous three albums will probably find You Are There to be a reasonable addition to their collection; I just don't think it should overshadow their previous work.
 Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined by MONO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.89 | 39 ratings

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Walking Cloud And Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined
Mono Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Japan's post-rock powerhouse gets some international guest stars in (including Steve Albini on production duties for extra indie rock cred) and brings out another compelling post-rock piece. It's very much in the same vein as that established by the likes of Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor, but Mono are one of the few bands who pull off that style with such flair that it doesn't particularly matter that they don't sound enormously different from their inspirations. Mono just about manage to retain their own identity through their careful production and tight songwriting, which stands in contrast to the ramshackle improvisations of the other two groups, and on this album Steve Albini's production is perfect for Mono's painstaking and perfectionist take on post-rock.
Thanks to Jimbo for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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