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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Mono
Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined
Temporary Residence Ltd.

Rating: 6.5/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Sometimes certain languages don't translate well into others. At times, the meanings of words become lost and while the speaker might think they are saying, "How do you get to First Street?" what is actually being spoken is more like, "When the time is stairs are quick cow?" Fucked up, right?

The Japanese group Mono doesn't have that problem with their newest release, Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined. Although the title runs a little long and prose-y, it is the only set of terms that the group ever needed to translate to a non-Japanese speaking audience. The rest of the album resonates with the feel and sounds of four minds - something that anyone of any land can understand.

In fact, some people might feel like they are familiar with Mono, just in other translated forms. They sound akin to Appleseed Cast, but without vocals and changes to excited tempos and textures. They also sound similar to The New Year, except again, without any vocals. Mono's work can definitely be dubbed as shoegazer slow jams, something that also can be found within groups like Mogwai, Bedhead and Codeine. Void of all comparison, there is something that is highly enticing about this group.

Interest may be garnered because the foursome recorded the album with the gold standard of underground engineer/producers, Steve Albini. Or maybe it is because they are from Japan, and the divergent image permeates into their sound. But I tend to believe there is something more.

In its simplicity, the music of the album is an artistic impression. I feel like this album could be used as a film score without any re-mastering or editing. The members are delicate with each song; every part is meticulous in its application and contemplative in its placement. A painting of sounds is the result, with each stroke a graceful note dripping in musical focus.

The most aggressive and heavy output Mono gives is when using an accompanying string quartet of violin, viola and cello, or when distorted guitars are briefly used at the end of a track to take it to a heightened peak. This essence of constantly building with repetitive open string arrangements, guitar and bass is suggestive of Sigur Rós, but not nearly as depressing.

While there are bands and musicians from all over the world, the only thing that really matters is the inherent musical vision. So as major American radio stations are herding the likes of Saliva, Kid Rock and Good Charlotte, many people are missing the point of international prizes such as Mono. It might take a little longer to find these talented creators, but once you do, you will be glad you didn't settle for less.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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