Muzica

MONO (Japan): The Last Dawn & Rays of Darkness

 

© Pelagic Records

Instrumental Rock/ Experimental/ Post-Rock

(English below)

Realizez acum ca nu am mai scris recenzii de o buna bucata de vreme. Ultimul calup serios a fost la lansarea MUZAHOLIC, si apoi despre noul album ROME si despre debutul CLOUDS. Chiar nu stiu de ce am lasat totul de izbeliste, pentru ca in ultimele saptamani am ascultat multe albume noi interesante. Sa vedem ce va fi.

MONO. Am dat un titlu acum cativa ani in Kogaionon: Cand Muzica vorbeste fara Cuvinte. Ce sa va mai spun despre MONO? Daca nu-i vedeti live, e ca si cum ai sta intr-un peisaj de basm, cu un pahar de orice in fata, acel orice fiind ceva delicat, desigur… te uiti la el, la culoarea lichidului din el, ii simti aroma, te atrage, o adulmeci, te fascineaza, te incita… iti place, da, te vrajeste! Si devii senin, intr-o solitudine totala, impacat cu tine, linistit, zen. Dar atat! MONO are insa un GUST fabulos live! I-am vazut de cateva ori, in ipostaze si locatii diferite, chiar i-am adus de 2 ori si pe taramurile noastre, i-am urmarit cu orchestra simfonica la Londra… sunt magistrali! Fain a fost ca i-am vazut si la soundcheck: mai oameni dragi, acesti 4 japonezi sunt muzicieni ahtiati si perfectionisti pana peste cap in tot ceea ce fac! Noi gustam MONO, ei respira MONO!!! Pentru ca ei sunt MONO! De unde vine mono? Taka imi spunea acum cativa ani:

“La inceput, aveam nevoie doar de un nume, orice nume, deci am aparut cu Mono (de la Mono-Stereo). Dar de cum l-am pastrat mai mult timp, am realizat ca mai inseamna si ‘unul’, ‘singular’ si ‘singur’.”

In afara hainelor de pe ei, care sunt altele decat cele din concert, in rest, la soundcheck, aceeasi daruire si determinare, atat prin muzica, cat si prin atitudine, gestica, seriozitate! Ei canta aproximativ toate piesele inainte (atunci cand li se permite), pentru a fi convinsi ca ceea ce urmeaza sa ofere publicului este o poveste totala… o rostire triumfala… o emotie sincera!

Am vazut la viata mea sute de trupe in culise, am cunoscut o gramada de muzicieni faini, talentati, profesionisti… dar la MONO am descoperit altceva: rostirea necuvantata! Extrem de modesti, poate chiar timizi, dar incredibil de amabili si atenti sa raspunda la orice intrebare, dar cumva retrasi, preferand sa stea tot timpul in lumea lor, departe de zgomotul cotidian. Sau cand am organizat un fel de sesiune de autografe dupa cele 2 concerte (CJ si TM), cum se straduiau ei sa fie cat se poate de deschisi, de comunicativi, desi plutea in aer un fel de sfiala, de invadare a ceea ce fac ei de obicei. Pentru ca ei, de obicei, asta fac: vorbesc prin muzica… Iar muzica lor este fara cuvinte, fara texte… este doar Instrumental. Sau Instrumental Rock. Sau mai bine spus, Orchestral Rock.

Noul album ne prezinta un nou concept, al contrastelor, al extremelor, cumva impreuna dar diferit. Pentru ca, de fapt, vorbim de doua albume. Sunt doua parti ale unei singure povesti, parti create in acelasi timp, dar care vin din lumi diferite. O parte luminoasa, The Last Dawn visatoare, melancolica, cu o aroma de Shoegaze vintage uluitoare, cum tot am fost obisnuiti. In contrast, Ray Of Darkness pune in valoare latura intunecata, agresiva, violenta chiar. Colac peste pupaza, “The Hand that Holds the Truth” este o piesa in care auzim si voce, dar de data asta una diabolica, Post-Hardcore in cel mai extrem mod, invitat fiind Tetsu din ENVY. Prima reactie a mea a fost sa intreb casa de discuri daca nu a suprapus sfarsitul acestei piese cu mai stiu eu ce inregistrare de pe alt album. Este socant, de-a dreptul! Dar si rupe ritmul, te trezeste din visare, din meditatie. Este adevarat ca pe cele 4 piese intunecate aura Bleak graviteaza si se desprinde imediat de aroma orchestrala, ce persista tihnit pe celelalte 6 piese, linistite, calme, luminoase.

Desi conceptul albumului este diferit de tot ceea ce am auzit pana acum, este tot MONO. Acele piese lungi continua sa fie deliciul unui stil pe care japonezii il contureaza original, din ce in ce mai pronuntat, de la acord la acord, de la piesa la piesa, de la album la album. Si avem aici 83 de minute, berechet pentru o noua introspectie!

Imi este tare dor de MONO live. Si o spun fara interese, fara falsa ipocrizie, fara cuvinte mari. Imi este dor de rostirea lor necuvantata!

Am vazut ca vin in turneu iar in Europa in aceasta toamna! Mergeti sa-i vedeti! Sunt dementiali! Iar daca i-ati vazut deja, stiti despre ce vorbesc.

Iar “The Last Dawn”, piesa de final, o percep ca pe o mana pe care MONO mi-o intinde pentru a-i revedea, pentru a-i reintalni… pentru a-i saluta din nou… si pentru a-mi curge inca o lacrima, oare pentru a cata oara, la finalul concertului, cand cei 4 zambesc politicos si discret la o sala ingenuncheata de placere, de traire, de sublim…

“Cred ca suntem cu totii spirituali, dar nu urmam o oarecare religie.”  Taka

Artist:  MONO

Album:  The Last Dawn & Rays of Darkness

Label:  Pelagic Records/ Temporary Residence Limited

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Data aparitiei:  24.10. 2014

 

* * *

I do realize that I haven’t written an album review in a long time. My last such endeavor was when we launched MUZAHOLIC, then again with the new ROME album, as well as with CLOUD’s debut. I don’t really know why I’ve given up writing about music since I’ve been listening to a lot of great new albums. We shall see what happens in the future.

MONO. I named an article on Kogaionon a few years ago: When Music Speaks without Words. What else is there to say about MONO? If you don’t see them live, it would be like standing in front of an ethereal landscape, admiring it while holding a glass of something, that something being a rather fragile liquor. Of course, you would be looking at your drink, at the color of the liquid, and you could almost feel its flavor drawing you in, its aroma fascinating, stirring everything inside… and yes, you would probably like that, as if it cast some sort of spell on you! All of the sudden you’d become still, surrounded by some sort of complete solitude, at peace with yourself, calm, Zen-like. But that’s all!

Seeing MONO live has a fantastic flavor! I’ve seen them several times, on different occasions and locations, and I even brought them in Romania a couple of times. I’ve seen them live with an orchestra in London… they’re terrific! What amazed me was that I also witnessed them doing the soundcheck: well, my dear friends, these 4 musicians are downright perfectionists in everything they do! We taste MONO, but they breathe MONO!!! Because they are MONO!

Where does the name “mono” come from? Taka told me a few years ago: “In the beginning, we just needed a name, any name, we come up with Mono (from Mono-Stereo). But since we kept it for so long, we then realized that it also means ‘one’, ‘singular’ and ‘alone’.”

Except their clothes, which were different from those they wore on stage, during the soundcheck they showed the same passion and determination through music, as well as attitude, gesture, and solemnity! They sing almost their entire setlist during soundcheck (when they are allowed), to make sure that what they offer their audience in the following hours is a complete story… a triumphant performance… an honest emotion!

I have seen a lot of bands backstage in my life, I’ve met a great deal of amazing, talented, professional artists… but with MONO I’ve discovered something else: a way of speaking without words! They are extremely modest, at times quite shy, but incredibly kind and attentive to answer any questions, yet somehow reserved, preferring to withdraw in a world of their own, away from the noise. I remember organizing autograph sessions, after two of their concerts in Romania (Cluj & Timisoara), the way they were trying to be as open and as communicative as possible, although in the air there was some sort of shyness, of feeling as if their work was being invaded. Because this is what the usually do, they communicate without words… and their music is without words, without lyrics… just Instrumental. Or Instrumental Rock. Or better yet, Orchestral Rock.

Their new album presents itself with a new concept, that of contrasts, of extremes, somehow together, yet poles apart. There are, however, two albums: two sides of the same story, parts created at the same time, but coming from very different places. There is a bright side - The Last Dawn, dreamy, melancholy, with an amazing vintage Shoegaze fragrance, one which we’ve already been accustomed to. In contrast, Ray Of Darkness emphasizes the dark, aggressive side, violent even. On top of that, “Ray Of Darkness” is a song where we hear a voice, and it seems like an evil one, Post-Hardcore at its most extreme, courtesy of Tetsu (ENVY). My first reaction was to ask whether there has been a mix-up during the recordings. It’s absolutely shocking! It breaks the rhythm, wakes you from your dreaming or meditative state. It is true that on those 4 songs there’s a Bleak aura gravitating and floating away from the orchestral essence you enjoyed during those calm, light, 6 other songs, while feeling at peace.

 

      

 

Although the concept behind the album is different from anything we’ve heard from them, it’s still MONO. Those long compositions will be the joy of it, as it is what makes these Japanese unique, from every chord, to every song and every album. And here we have 83 minutes, plenty of time for introspection!

I miss seeing MONO live, and I say this without having any interest in it, without being hypocritical, without wanting to sound presumptuous! I miss their wordless way of expression!

I noticed that they’ll be touring Europe this fall! Go see them live! They’re extraordinary! If you’ve already seen them, you know what I’m talking about!

The Last Dawn”, the song towards the end of the album, seems to me a hand held out for me to see them again, to meet them again… to greet them … and yet again to shed another tear at the end of their concert, when the 4 musicians smile politely and discreetly in front of an audience kneeled down by pleasure, emotion, and sublime…

“I think we are all somehow spiritual, but we don’t follow a particular belief.” Taka 

 

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