i’m willing to bet that the vast majority of the public has never heard of the band mono, from japan. which is really a shame, because if you like rock music, you’d probably like mono.
mono is really unlike anything you’ve ever heard. i’ve heard some try to compare them to sigur rose…since i can’t say i’ve heard anything by them, i can’t tell you if that’s true or not. i think a critic once called it the most beautiful noise your ears can stand. that’s pretty much true. my boyfriend and i rarely agree on music (he’s a jazz musician, i was a volunteer dj in college at a college rock station) but once i played this band for him, he was a convert.
i don’t keep up with what shows are going on around seattle all that much, mostly because if i’m listening to the radio, it’s NPR. so mono has probably come through seattle a few times and i’ve missed them, although i have seen them twice. the first time, they were one of the opening acts for the helio sequence. a friend of mine wanted to see the helio sequence, and i agreed to go with her. i was so blown away by mono that i went out and ordered the import of their first album “under the pipal tree”. since then, it’s been a hell of a lot easier to get their albums stateside…i just head to easy street records at the junction and they’ve got it in stock.
anyway, i was browsing amazon to see if they’d released anything since “palmless prayer/mass murder refrain” (not their best album, not by a long shot) and they’d released two, the latter of which was holy ground, a live recording in NYC with the wordless music orchestra.
if you’ve heard mono, you know their sound is big. bigger than the small clubs they play, we’re talking like, epic movie moment stadium sized big. and they’re just a four piece band (i want to BE their bass player. tiny japanese girl, she’s totally awesome). anyway, i bought it, came home, wrangled with our stereo system for about 15 minutes (the disc changer doesn’t always work) and then i had something like a religious experience.
if they were loud before, they’re gigantic with a backing orchestra. it’s a fuller, lusher sound. it’s incredible. it’s like, their music is now fully realized. on its own, it’s already incomparable. with an orchestra, it goes somewhere beyond incomparable. i can just imagine maynard james keenan and billy corgan weeping in shame, because they’ll never be able to play anything that sounds like this.
anyway. go. listen to some mono (i highly recommend their second album, “one step more and you die” and their fourth album “you are here”). then see them live. then buy this album.