Mono, ‘Hymn to the Immortal Wind’ (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
At some point in the last decade, the open-endedness suggested by the term “post-rock” narrowed down to a form more constricting than “12-bar blues,” the rhythmic playfulness of Tortoise becoming the solemn portent of Explosions in the Sky. Japan’s Mono share both a label and aesthetic with the latter — Hymn’s plodding quiet-LOUD-quiet dynamics and wordless minor-key dirges repeatedly force you to wait before they finally turn major. Opener “Ashes in the Snow” and “The Battle to Heaven” invoke the CinemaScope bombast of Ennio Morricone, but even their added orchestral heft barely nudges Mono out of a windy, instrumental morass.
Listen: Mono, “Ashes in the Snow” (DOWNLOAD MP3)