I am somewhat taken aback that I don't seemed to have put a post before about Mono. Thanks must go out to the Peeblemeister for introducing me to them (or is it the other way around?) not long after he entered the madness that is JISCworld.
This Japanese four-some produce some of the most staggeringly beautiful music around - frequently long'ish tracks of sweeping, crashing waves of sound with the most haunting of underpinning tunes. Their earlier post-, or math-rock label seems to have been replaced by rock/experimental/classical on their Myspace and their latest work - Hymn to the Immortal Wind - merits this change of nomenclature.
Their music has always had this soaring, epic quality and previously been characterised by the quiet/loud thing - exhilarating as that was, and often very loud. This work however seems somehow more complete, more consistent and although it still has its quiet/loud moments is more abot tonal changes in the sound - more dark/light, the orchestration and variety of subtlely used instruments add the nuances and depth.
A truly fabulous set of music, I admit to being a tad worried by the story ( eerily reminiscent of Murakami type storytelling) that accompanies the CD (no vocals of course!); were they really buying into the whole concept album thing? Well to a degree they have and rather like the superb Hazards of Love album by the Decemberists, they have pulled it off with style and grace.
Mono, and this set in particular, produce the sort of music that makes the soul soar - cinematic without the sacherin, epic without too much pretention, glorious life-affirming stuff. True it's not necessarily the sort of stuff you play day in and day out, but when the time is right and you have the space and concentration to devote to it, this music cannot be bettered.
Mono Web site