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MP3 Monday: MONO
By Nov 23, 2009 Nightlife

Today we've got the simmering instrumental atmospheres of Japanese post rock band, MONO in slow-building, but ultimately explosive and cathartic anticipation of their concert this Saturday at MAO Livehouse.

Formed back in 1999, MONO has, in their ten years of existence, become one of the biggest bands ever out of Japan. Starting off more experimental and shoegaze on their earlier stuff, the band in the later half of their career has embraced the maximal cinematic approach, and are known now for incorporating lots of classical music influences in their last few releases (read: they rock it like Beethoven these days). The easiest way to describe the band is "post rock" -- and that's how they're billed on all promotional material -- but in interviews they tend to eschew the term and characterize their sound as "modern classical". Semantics. Semantics. As these tracks show, they like doing the music to that bit in the movie where it's all emotional and sad -- possibly a poignant flash-back scene, or someone is crossing a desert or something -- and then it builds to the bit in that movie where the lead character is crying in a thunder storm with his shirt off and screaming at God.

WWWwwwhyyyy!!! ! ! ..... *

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These MP3s are just a taste. MONO is one of the bands where seeing it live is everything. Expect to have tears streaming down your face for half of it and then wracked with chest-thumping exhilaration for the other half. They're a technically amazing band, offering the gamut of sonic wizardry. (I hope this guy is front row, center with his camera, taking pictures and reporting back on all that sweet, sweet gear.) Even if you're not down with the lugubrious post rock, the BOOOOOOOM is worth the price of admission. I'm thinking this show will be the truest test of the oft-acclaimed MAO sound system and proof positive of the following fact:

Japanese people -- they don't mess around.

Here's their MySpace page. Here's their main page (lots of good stuff there, including this video).

And here's Mogwai fearing Satan... for no reason. In this version, the money shot is at 5:34.

S.T.D. pres. MONO at Mao Livehouse this Saturday. Advance tickets: 180rmb (available here, free delivery); 200rmb at the door.
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