MONO formed in Tokyo, Japan in the closing winter weeks of December, 1999. They played their first live shows at the top of the new millennium, and released their first album, Under The Pipal Tree, in 2001. Recorded live in one day on a razor-thin budget, Pipal Tree was an earnest introduction to the curious magic of a band that would eventually become synonymous with monstrously dynamic, contemporary classical rock music.
To commemorate those austere beginnings – and celebrate their remarkable longevity – MONO revisit three of their earliest songs, and retrofit them with face-melting upgrades. Anchored by the towering 16-minute noise opus, “Com(?)”, Before The Past • Live From Electrical Audio shows the evolution of MONO’s execution, stripping away the strings and layers of guitar overdubs to show just how massive this band can be at their most instrumentally austere.
Newly recorded in one day in 2019 with longtime collaborator, Steve Albini – and mixed by Albini with Temporary Residence founder, Jeremy deVine – Before The Past is as much a declaration of the present as it is a document of the past. These songs, which are now 20 years old, feel more powerful and profound than ever – a testament to MONO’s enduring dedication to their craft, and their dogged exploration of maximum minimalism.
Out Now on CD, LP & Digital via Temporary Residence Ltd.
The unlikely career of MONO has taken them to virtually every corner of the planet, several times over. Those corners have all left indelible marks on their music, as it drills deeper towards the sound of feeling not quite human and all too human – often at the same time.
Exit In Darkness Music Video
Firmly placed as both progenitor and progressor within their field, MONO is like no other artist – visceral, engrossing and showing no signs of decay after two decades spent creating waves of beautiful and expansive rock music. Many an artist lays claim to setting the template – or many have this claim placed upon them – but this Japanese artist has long-since simply set their own template. Listening to MONO is like entering another world, where the majesty of the noise embraces you and the delicacy of the space around it breathes warmly in your ear.
A.A. Williams came from nowhere. An EP arrived in January 2019, and a debut show at the prestigious Roadburn Festival three months later confirmed what this first taste of music had suggested: this is a special artist. The woman in black: one arm aloft after the delicate yet decisive strum of a chord, a stillness in the room focused on the graceful soaring of a unique voice. To arrive so fully formed is a feat in itself; to take the audience’s breath away with such immediacy is something else entirely.
As soon as MONO’s Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto heard the music of A.A. Williams, an unwavering resonance was triggered. For A.A. Williams, the appreciation was emphatically mutual. A musical connection developed into a collaboration; introductions were made, ideas exchanged. At the end of MONO’s 2019 summer tour, these ideas were committed to tape in London and the result is ‘Exit in Darkness’ – a mesmeric coming together of two artists from opposite ends of the globe whose creative approach could not have melded more eloquently.
Out Now on LP & Digital via Pelagic Records.