Saturday, February 7, 2009

日本の音楽 Week 3: Mono

This week's band is a bit special, in that it really wouldn't matter which country they came from. For you see, Mono is a band of few words, focusing instead entirely on instrumental and stage presence to captivate listeners from all across the globe.

Personally, I often have a hard time getting into instrumental bands. Unless they offer something absolutely astounding, I find myself getting bored and losing interest. It's become something of a trend in the past decade for so-called post-rock bands to follow a path of vocal-less, completely instrumental composition, and the collective result has left somewhat of a bitter taste in my mouth. Vocals make up perhaps the most important aspect of a band, in my mind, and the complete omission of vocals simply makes most instrumental bands feel bland and unexciting to me. An exceptional singer, after all, can easily turn a boring band into something special and noteworthy. Even putting lyrics aside, the human voice as an instrument in itself is an element I often wish was present in many of these aforementioned instrumental post-rock bands.

Mono, on the other hand, truly has no need for vocals. None. Such is the beauty and power of their compositions, I find myself spellbound and entranced within minutes from their waves of melody alone.
It should be noted that their new album, titled Hymn to the Immortal Wind, is pending release, and from what I've heard of it so far... WOW. Mono's powerful instrumentals, plus a backing orchestra and some of the band's finest composition ever makes for some hair raising listening. (It should also be noted that said album has leaked ahead of release, so...)
You can hear "Ashes in the Snow", the phenomenal, nearly 12 minute intro track on the band's Myspace page.

You only downside is that you won't learn a word of Japanese listening to Mono. Even their track titles are in English. But uh... that's only a small drawback, right? [I've concluded that music is one of the least effective ways to acquire Japanese, but that's a post for another day]
One must witness their commanding stage presense in order to fully appreciate the band, so by all means, check out these videos.

Mono - Yearning (plus interview)

Mono - The Flames Beyond the Cold Mountain

Recommended Albums:
  • Hymn to the Immortal Wind
  • You Are There
  • Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain [with World's End Girlfriend]

1 comment:

igor said...

LOL. I couldn't agree more about the "music is one of the least effective ways of learning Japanese" bit. It really is almost worthless sometimes.