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Music Review: Mono – Holy Ground: NYC Live with the Wordless Music Orchestra

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A fine experimental, swelling and crushing piece of work, Holy Ground… is a beautiful and angry CD from Mono. Mono’s usual intelligent structures and amazing instrumentals are enhanced here with a live orchestra that makes their classical instrumental rock feel even bigger and sweeps you away even more.

Mono is a quartet of guitars, bass, and drums from Japan that produces songs that, for the most part, sweetly lull you in, gently rock you, pushing you into a soft groove, then burst out at you with incredible precise cacophony. The band brings forth intricate musicianship, energy, and “walls of noise” that have been called “violently beautiful” and “terrifyingly beautiful.” The bursting flood of sound is even more intense here, and more enveloping, on Holy Ground… released by Temporary Residence Limited, with the live orchestra helping build the anticipation and bring the noise.

All the songs on this release can be found elsewhere in Mono’s catalog, but here they have a sparkle and intensity that they have never had before, with a full orchestra pummeling out tunes with tremendous force and a crowd just on the other side. The set lulls you sweetly then rocks you indescribably and the crowd must have been swaying and beating their fists with their eyes closed the whole time, perhaps engaging memories and parts of their brains they haven’t engaged in forever, because that is what Mono brings, a transporting flood of sound.

Mono has been around for a more than a decade and although the tracks on this live CD come from throughout their history, they fit nicely together in the live performance. It is a wonderful and powerful sampling of Mono and perhaps the only Mono CD you need. The band will be touring some in the new year and playing with The Wordless Music Orchestra at some point – according to the band website – so keep an eye out.

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