Image for MONO grasp the monumental in a Hymn to the Immortal Wind

MONO grasp the monumental in a Hymn to the Immortal Wind

Written by Toby Smith on May 14, 2009

Japan’s MONO draw forth universal rapture with latest album Hymn to the Immortal Wind.

Just in time for their 10-year anniversary, MONO return with their fifth studio album, the absolutely massive Hymn To The Immortal Wind. After touring almost non-stop for five years, the band hibernated for over a year to focus solely on writing Hymn. The result is their most thoughtful and eclectic album to date. Written and arranged with a hopeful, romantic narrative in mind, the songs string together like chapters in an epic love story. The music is naturally majestic, with MONO’s trademark wall of noise crashing beautifully against the largest chamber orchestra the band has ever enlisted.

The instrumentation is vast, incorporating strings, flutes, organ, piano, glockenspiel and tympani into their standard face-melting set-up. Recorded to analog tape with long-time friend and producer Steve Albini, there is an intimacy captured here that is at once beautiful and a little terrifying. The creaking of old wooden chairs as the orchestra rocks in their seats (both literally and figuratively), puckered lips rolling along flutes, and even the conductor’s opening cue can be heard during the hauntingly quiet opening moments While Hymn continues to mine the cinematic drama inherent in all of MONO’s music, the dynamic shifts now come more from dark-to-light instead of quiet-to-loud. The maturity to balance these elements so masterfully has become MONO’s strongest virtue – – save for perhaps their uncanny ability to sound every bit like a plane crashing into a Beethoven concert.

Mono are Takaakira “Taka” Goto (guitar), Tamaki (bass), Yoda (guitar) and Yasunori Takada (drums).

Touring Australia late 2009.

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