Mono - Nowhere Now Here - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mono - Nowhere Now Here

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2019-01-25
Mono - Nowhere Now Here
Mono - Nowhere Now Here

For nearly twenty years, Japan’s Mono has been at the forefront of the post-rock genre. Known for their sweeping, cinematic instrumental passages and minimalistic vamps, the band has far outlived the days when they were easily lumped in with other genre-heavyweights like Pelican, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Mogwai.

Nowhere Now Here, Mono’s tenth album, finds the venerable four-piece doubling down on the trademark elements of their sound. That is to say that there are no ill-advised sonic-detours or questionable departures: from start to finish, Nowhere Now Here does what all great post-rock albums do, it takes the listener on a journey.

Free of the overarching, somewhat limiting concepts that plagued Mono’s last few releases (the Dante’s Inferno-inspired Requiem For Hell and the dual release The Last Dawn and Rays of Darkness all somewhat missed the mark in their own way), Nowhere Now Here is perhaps best described as a ‘back-to-basics’ album for Mono.

But while the gentle album-opener “God Bless” and the crushing “After You Comes The Flood” that follows might leave the listener with the opinion that Nowhere Now Here is business as usual, the band does manage to sneak in a few subtle (and not so subtle) changes to their post-rock formula.

For instance, the album’s first single “Breath”, featuring the conspicuous addition of bassist Tamaki Kunishi’s breathy, saturated vocals, is a brilliantly successful experiment and easily one of the band’s most accessible tracks to date. So much so that it’s hard not to play the ‘what could have been’ game when thinking about how and where her voice would have fit into past albums.

The title track, with its circular drum vamp underscoring some brilliant melodic motifs, feels like a call back to the band’s seminal early 2000’s work while the appropriately titled “Sorrow” features some fresh, new textures and is sure to find its way into the band’s live set on their next tour.

From there, the second half of Nowhere Now Here unravels into a predictably chaotic crescendo (hey, it’s post-rock), with the epic “Meet Us Where The Night Ends” haphazardly careening into the reflective one-two punch of “Funeral Song” and “Vanishing, Vanishing Maybe”.

The production is stellar, the mix is both nuanced and spacious, and the band’s playing feels remarkably inspired considering it’s their tenth outing. While it might not be their 'magnum opus' (Hymn to the Immortal Wind would easily be this writer's choice), Mono’s Nowhere Now Here is yet another fine addition to the catalog of one of post-rock’s most consistent acts. Highly recommended for fans new and old.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
Mono - Nowhere Now Here - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab
Mono - Neumos
  • 06/24/2015
  • By Brian Lange.
Mono - Nowhere Now Here - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab
Mono - The Last Dawn
  • 10/13/2014
  • By Jeff Penczak