Posted by: will | July 3, 2006



Mono “You Are There” (Temporary Residence)

Mono is a Japanese band that has risen the ranks of the instrumental post-rock world to become one of the best in the genre. You Are There is the band’s fourth album and continues their slow ascent to greatness. I have found myself sitting on this album for close to two months now. It’s certainly not for any negative reaction to the record though. It’s mainly due to the sheer scope and vastness of the album. It’s a behemoth which is quite simply difficult to wrap your head around at times. The traditional quiet/loud/quiet dynamics of bands like Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky are definitely found here on You Are There. That’s not to say that Mono follow the post-rock path blindly though. There is a subtle difference it seems in how Mono approach their songs. The band does it with a great deal of restraint and commitment to detail that most in this genre lack.

Mono are certainly not for the impatient listener. You In There‘s six songs clock in at over 60 minutes. The opening track, the 13 minute “The Flames Beyond The Cold Mountain” proves that patience is indeed a virtue. Four minutes of guitar ambience start the song before the bass rolls in and at the six minute mark the full band finally kicks in with glorious results. The band slows it down once again at the ten minute mark but the song ends with a flurry of guitar feedback. The next track, “A Heart Has Asked For Pleasure” is a soothing almost delicate song that clocks in at under four minutes. It works well for allowing the listener to simply catch their breath. The album centerpiece, the 15 minute “Yearning” really conveys the song title rather splendidly. The track ebbs and flows with such remarkable precision as the guitars seemingly duel back and forth. “Are You There” is a somber track that feels like it’s about to explode at any minute but never really reaches a climax. It’s as beautiful as a musical tease can possibly be. “The Remains Of The Day” is another atmospheric track that clocks in under the four minute mark. The song is built around a lovely piano piece which is highlighted impeccably by strings. You Are There ends with the 13 minute “Moonlight” which brings the album to a slow burn before ending rather massively.

Mono have created a post-rock masterpiece on You Are There. The band has gone well beyond their peers and influences to create something familiar yet uniquely their own. The band needs no words to express themselves. Mono’s story is exquisitely told by only their instruments.

RIYL: Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Listen: Mono – The Flames Beyond The Cold Mountain – edit (mp3)


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