Mono & World’s End Girlfriend: Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain (Temporary Residence, 2006)

by Jason

Mono PalmlessMono and World’s End Girlfriend have gotten together to collaborate on an epic disc of instrumental innovation. Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain is a story told through intricate orchestration and beautiful movement. Katsuihiko Maeda, Takaakira “Taka” Goto, Yasunori Takada, Tamaki, and Yoda come together to create a classical piece with explosions and shifts that are unpredictable.

“Part One” begins with sorrowful cello and violin. Acoustic guitar fills the voids and moves among the strings. The layers begin to form as the more violins and stringed instruments build slowly upon one another. Emotive, soft, soothing, mournful, and just beautiful, this piece really builds anticipation for more to come on this disc. Something electric plays in the midst of the strings, bringing another layer into the mix, then they all drop out. Cellos come in and move in a low tone through melancholy turns as “Part Two” begins. An angelic voice lightly sings into the background with a ghostlike beauty. This track is beyond moving… it takes my breath away. Out of an old movie soundtrack, this disc leaps into the speakers with patience and instrumental precision. The “gods of volume” have composed a more subtle piece along with WEG. This was a great change and a fantastic surprise in Mono’s catalog. As the track ends, violins weep and wind blows through the speakers. Never too fast, never too soft, never too many layers, the moments and feel are eerie, beautiful and evoke so many unspeakable things.

“Part Three” begins with the sighing violins and moves into acoustic guitar that accents the high notes it lays upon. This disc is evoking emotions I didn’t think music could evoke in me anymore. Drums come in and play sparse beats under a somber cello. The violin sings a woeful tune evoking dreary days with endless skies of grey. Snow falls elegantly down in the quiet moments of winter as wind causes the flakes to dance as only they can. The layers of instruments compile, never taking one another over, but complementing one another in such a ways as to heighten the emotion, the scene. Electric guitar brings a fuzzy sound into the mix, raising the volume ever so slightly. Then, the volume erupts into layers of guitars. The gods of volume return in a style only they can. The drums rise and beg the strings to join in their revelry. The guitars eventually take over with violins filling in the gaps. The track begins to strip off layers of instruments as it moves into silence.

“Part Four” starts with sparse piano and light cello. The solemn voice returns to accompany the instruments. Heartbreaking and emotive, the voices fill in the void in the music. The vocals lift in volume ever so slightly as the track progresses. As the track progresses, piano becomes sparse again and patiently plays out the song. “Track 5” is the final track on the disc and begins as the other ends. The piano seamlessly bleeds into the next and cello accompanies the soft movement. A soft drum beat and some more strings come into the mix. The variety is subtle but more than powerful. The strings become more dissonant as the same melody becomes stronger and stronger through volume and more layers. Eventually the layers explode into a mass with guitar playing in the distance. The guitars eventually fade and the piano plays lightly with strings in tow. The entire disc is patient, quiet, epic, and just perfect. Indeed, this is more than highly recommended.

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