Strange, beautiful, mesmerising, perplexing and vast. These are all words that can describe Mono’s new album Hymn to the Immortal Wind. 10 years into their career, this is their 5th studio album produced by the legendary Steve Albini. Recorded completely onto analogue, which is a strange thing for a band these days, but this type of music needs analogue to capture the beauty in its simplicity. No instruments really stand out, there is no overproduction, and everything blends together into one concoction of sounds.
Guitars are tremolo picked with furiosity while the orchestra plays and the crash of cymbals is heard in the distance. I feel like I’m sat in the middle of the band playing with sound coming at me from all directions. There are no distinctions between the instruments and its genuinely like being in a concert hall. This however isn’t a bad thing, if this music wasn’t just a giant soundscape it would be, but for this it just seems natural and right. The music will build up into a climax of epic proportions then fade right back out into a space of very little sound.
The musicianship is fantastic as the sheer self-control and precision required to create such a fine piece of music is brilliant. The amount of time and effort the band must have put into this album definitely paid off. Every note is in perfect time, no beat is missed and everything works. It’s like classical music for a younger, alternative generation. With orchestras playing distorted concertos while guitars ring throughout. This isn’t music that you like its music that you appreciate; you can’t not sit down and listen to the album without having your mind blown apart.
Although this isn’t the kind of music I’d regularly listen too the album is a strange sort of catharsis. I feel like I have experienced a range of emotions, the music plays so strongly and effectively it’s unavoidable. The album could be put on as background music in your living room or you could sit there for the full length analysing every noise made. It works on so many different levels and if you’re willing to be open minded then it’s worth a listen.