MONO – Hymn To The Immortal Wind (2009)

Mono - Hymn To The Immortal Wind Since Mogwai have abandoned the soft/LOUD dynamic that made their earlier work so arresting in favor of a more streamlined (and sporadically successful) approach, Mono seem to have picked up the torch, and are carrying it onwards with arguably more conviction than any of their contemporaries (sorry, Explosions In The Sky). What sets Mono apart from the rest of the bands who specialize in mixing silence with violence is their somewhat antithetical approach to this contrasting style of music: instead of working with the obvious, and having the quieter parts be saccharin sweet while the louder parts rage out of control, Mono (more often than not), subvert this dichotomy. The quieter sections of Mono music are frequently ominous and troubling, while their louder sections (despite their soul-shattering decibel levels) are really quite beautiful (if you’re unsure as to what I’m talking about, good news! – Hymn To The Immortal Wind’s opening song, Ashes In The Snow, will explain everything).

Even though Mono are no strangers to working with strings (Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain, their 2005 collaboration with World’s End Girlfriend, is the closest thing to a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album that we’re likely to hear until the band’s “temporary” hiatus ends), Hymn To The Immortal Wind is significant in that the entire album is performed in conjunction with a 28-piece (!!) chamber orchestra. As a result, the album is the grandest album Mono have ever crafted. The album’s centerpiece, Pure As Snow (Trails of the Winter Storm) is one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. It’s magnificent and terrifying, and the howling of electric guitars over the clockwork-constant drums is one hell of a thing to behold.

If you’re looking for an album that’s going to stretch every aspect of your senses to their absolute limit, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. Because on Hymn To The Immortal Wind, Mono stretch everything past these sensory limits. Sound harsh? It’s not. It’s merely too beautiful words. Which is why I’m going to stop writing.

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3 Responses to “MONO – Hymn To The Immortal Wind (2009)”

  1. […] it doesn’t top Mono’s latest gift from the gods, Hymn To The Immortal Wind, it’s close behind it. Anyone interested in (mostly) instrumental music would do well to […]

  2. […] to love more often than not, particularly when it’s done skillfully, as in the new albums by Mono and maybeshewill), and they don’t fashion empty abstractions masquerading as something […]

  3. […] playground (Tortoise), you can forego all subtlety and swing for the emotional fences (Mono). You can play with dynamic range a whole lot (Mogwai). You can make punk rock for a dying world (A […]

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