Mono: You are There (Temporary Residence, 2006)

by Jason

Mono Are You ThereMono has released their much anticipated new full length. Hailing from Japan, this band blends shoegaze with volume control to blast the senses. You are There congeals their sonic art into a compact full length that will satisfy any fan and provides a great introduction to the band for newcomers. Casting a spell on listeners for six years, Mono provides six new tracks for all of our listening pleasure.

“The Flames Beyond the Cold Mountain” begins this beautifully crafted work with a quiet drone and shimmering guitar. About two minutes into the track, the tension in the music is slightly heightened. This eventually transitions into some guitar picking that sits on top of drone and guitars that swell below. Carefully and patiently, the band begins to bring more sounds into the mix, with cymbals and bass filling out the melody. The mood is somber and beautiful, truly evoking the snowcaps on a mountain and the longing for warmth. This eventually explodes into a wall of sound with a more aggressive, yet patient feel. The wall of sound builds and becomes incredibly huge. This eventually leads into a calm, with distorted guitars that fade to piano. A calm settles in for a brief respite, then the band explodes! Walls of sound hit your ears and the sonic bliss rises and swells. “A Heart Has Asked for the Pleasure” begins very quietly, with guitars playing off one another and making a soft bed of music. This song remains quiet and is a beautiful interlude between two much longer tracks. This leads into the longest track on the disc.

“Yearning” begins with pensive guitars that are quiet and subtle. This slowly builds into strumming guitars with a wall of subtle cymbals in the background. The mood is somber and the guitars almost weep through the speakers. Quiet lulls the listeners into a comfort zone and then the music explodes, ala. Red Sparowes and Pelican. This is an amazing 15:38 minutes of music and does not disappoint. At this point, it occurs to the reader that this disc has a great pace, being fueled by volume control and speed. “Are You There?” begins with guitars playing in either speaker, slowly beginning a new 10-minute story. Again, this song has a somber feel and certainly has the feel of missing someone. Mono are masters at communicating emotion, bringing an epic feel to the listener’s ears. Breathtaking in its scope, this central, title track is huge in its scope and subtle in its telling. Strings weep at what could be called a bridge and the arrangement is just moving. “The Remains of the Day” is a second shorter track that acts like a sort of interlude. It begins with a quiet set of strings and beautiful piano. This track is just as moving as its longer counterparts on this disc. “Moonlight” rounds out the six tracks on this gorgeous piece of art. “Moonlight” begins in a quiet manner and emotes a glimmer of hope for the listener. There is a feel of Spanish guitar amidst strings and some keys. Recapping some of the lines in other songs on the disc, this track ties the disc together nicely. This song explodes into a cacophony of magical noise and leads the reading to the end of this marvelous musical head-trip provided by a fantastic band.

The musical vision of Mono has grown exponentially since their early days. Blasting into speakers with quiet lulls and explosive epics, You are There brings the bands talents together into a mature, comprehensive whole. These emotive masters of music ought to be in every music lover’s player.

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