Mono
Hymn to the Immortal Wind


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
April 1st, 2009 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Even the silence between songs is flawless.

Climaxes make music. Pop music is often constructed around the premise that a hook or chorus will provide the release and the high point necessary in order to make the listener feel something; a shiver, a fist-pump or a smile. Music without those moments is for the background of poker evenings and hotel foyers and doesn't deserve to be counted as music. The tricky bit is finding the right level and frequency of climax. It can't be a peak if everything's at the same relentlessly high intensity; nobody notices an explosion in a collapsing burning building. Post-rock struggles with this idea all of the time, and especially when it's executed poorly. Mono, fortunately, seem to have worked it out.

Because Hymn To The Immortal Wind knows exactly when to hit you and when to pull its punches. Pure As Snow is a case in point; it seems more than anything else here to embody or personify or connect with the album's title; the flow of the drums and the drawn out delay and reverb on the guitars are so reminiscent of a beautifully destructive hurricane, ripping rocks from the face of a mountain and pummeling some snow-covered hill in Siberia. And it's a hurricane which isn't going to pass you by without leaving an impression; in the strings and the atmospherics and the absolutely huge soundscapes Mono manage to bury a nostalgia and imagery which is obviously present and still hopelessly enigmatic. When you catch a stranger's eye on the subway and you know you're both thinking the same thing – that's what Hymn To The Immortal Wind feels like.

And in the same way that you're never sure how long those fleeting glimpses in metro carriages last for, Hymn is equally defiant of normal concepts of time. Standing damn confident at over an hour long, it is stubborn and it is beautiful and it is somehow capable of lasting for about 10 seconds because that's about the length of time you're able to pull yourself from under the flood of violins and cymbals and heaven-knows-what that are giving you a deafening aural orgasm. Hymn seems to have its conceptual and atmospheric roots in the idea of a snowstorm; Burial At Sea moves from a threatening anticipation to a fierce and vast conclusion which sees you trapped beneath the waves.

Having placed so much stock in their importance, it's crucial to remember that climaxes are almost nothing without the approaches that feel right and fit right, and were it not for the flawless execution of those beginnings, those climbs, Hymn would probably be just another post rock album with nothing to differentiate itself. But the gale force momentum of Ashes In Snow and the epic building piano of closer Everlasting Light are just brackets within which lie hundreds (no hyperbole) of brilliantly crafted and melodic moments that merge without any effort with the more crashing ideas where the volume is cranked up. Hymn To The Immortal Wind leaves you breathless from its most furious and ecstatic moments but even shorter for air with its melancholy segments and its slow-burning landscapes. Even the silence between songs is addictive and attention-grabbing.

Being epic is a hard thing to do without looking pretentious or foolish but here every movement, every arpeggio and every shuddering beat feels so important, whether it's the first note or the one which sends the emotional rollercoaster over the edge and into the abyss. If climax is what makes music, Mono have a lot of blood in their veins and seem intent on making every second count. The very last thing the album has to say is a haunting, near-aquatic guitar line with a muted wall of sound beneath it and subdued drums trying their hardest to break through. Eventually, they do, and it's every bit as astonishing and massive as you'd expect. And then a final crescendo, heading towards a cliff's edge, is halted suddenly and you're left hanging from the thinnest thread, slightly confused in the same way you were when she kissed you for the first time. And then it's gone.

So much post-rock seems not to understand itself, but this is a record which feels so intricately assembled that you know it could only have been written by a band whose genius simply gives the illusion of meticulous planning. There is absolutely no doubt that this is some of the best-orchestrated and most moving sound recorded in a hell of a long time. Hymn To The Immortal Wind has a timeless aura about it, as if it could quite easily have been produced hundreds of years ago in wastelands and castle courtyards. It's the kind of music everybody wants playing when they finally get to see the northern lights or the pyramids or Paris at night: painfully optimistic, absolutely awe-inspiring and quite simply sublime.



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user ratings (844)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
jybt (4.5)
The grandiose album title "Hymn to the Immortal Wind" is successfully translated into a soul-stirrin...

FourSquare20 (5)
Mono achieve what countless other post-rock bands can only strive for....

Derek Marchewka (3)
Hymn To The Immortal Wind demonstrates both the good and bad aspects of Post Rock....

Adam Downer STAFF (4.5)
On Hymn To The Immortal Wind, Mono multiply the successes of You Are There by 3 and come away with t...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
April 1st 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

First time reviewing post-rock, feedback so appreciated you wouldn't BELIEVE

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
April 1st 2009


4927 Comments


too many 'or a's in the first paragraph, that or add 'or even a' to the last one.
hyphens aren't really needed in your 3rd paragraph
pretty good review, you almost covered all of the geographic/weather-related conditions of the Earth ;)

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i hate reviewing post rock.

rating is pretty true, I find no flaws with this record beyond sometimes being too mammoth

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Knott-
Emeritus
April 1st 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

haha, but that's kinda like saying sex is overrated because sometimes you can't be bothered to feel that good :D

gracias for those, mr flatley (:

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 1st 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

as for the review it seems like you're overselling this way too much even for a five star post rock review. for example:

And it's a hurricane which isn't going to pass you by without leaving an impression; in the strings and the atmospherics and the absolutely huge soundscapes Mono manage to bury a nostalgia and imagery which is obviously present and still hopelessly enigmatic. When you catch a stranger's eye on the subway and you know you're both thinking the same thing – that's what Hymn To The Immortal Wind feels like.


i have no idea what this is about.


elephantREVOLUTION
April 1st 2009


2761 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review. i tried to listen to this a few days ago but i wasn't in the mood.

Cesar
April 1st 2009


2732 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. Summary is perfect.

Poet
April 1st 2009


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

summary is pretty awesome. Not as awesome as this album though.

STOP SHOUTING!
April 2nd 2009


631 Comments


"feedback so appreciated you wouldn't BELIEVE"
You write really well about the sound, which is very hard to do. But aren't most good reviews about context and information, rather than description? Maybe, you could write more about the band, their background and their place in the post rock genre? Maybe, you could write more about the meaning and relevance of the music, is there some kind of progression through the album, what are they trying to say?

"So much post-rock seems not to understand itself, but this is a record which feels so intricately assembled that you know it could only have been written by a band whose genius simply gives the illusion of meticulous planning."
Not sure what you mean. That they intuitively know what they're doing?

"When you catch a stranger's eye on the subway and you know you're both thinking the same thing"
Attraction, embarassment, boredom?

"Even the silence between songs is flawless...Even the silence between songs is addictive and attention-grabbing."
Hmmm...


Knott-
Emeritus
April 2nd 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Maybe, you could write more about the band, their background and their place in the post rock genre?


i honestly don't think so. wikipedia has all that stuff covered. i don't see music as a history lesson.

Attraction, embarassment, boredom?


haha, maybe you're not pretty enough to know what i mean ;p

Not sure what you mean.


basically the album is so good that there's a sense it was created more by perfect instinct than rigorous methodology.

Hmmm...


just re-worked it for the summary. quite a common thing to do.

Thanks for the words, really appreciate it. And perhaps you were right about the lack of background information. I don't know, it just didn't seem like the right review to go off on a history lesson. Partly because this album makes history obsolete.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
April 2nd 2009


3771 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haha, maybe you're not pretty enough to know what i mean ;p


ahahah, zing.

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

STOP SHOUTING!
April 2nd 2009


631 Comments


Yeah, all I get on the train is what the fuck you staring at you ugly mother fucker.
But I don't know anything about the band, so background would be helpful for me.



Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2009


7026 Comments


I agree with what Adam Downer said. The review is ridiculously overblown.This Message Edited On 04.02.09

Knott-
Emeritus
April 2nd 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I feel actual sadness for people who think this album is just 'good'.

Chewie
April 2nd 2009


4532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

as for the review it seems like you're overselling this way too much even for a five star post rock review. for example:


well its not like you can rate things a 6 ;]

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Partly because this album makes history obsolete.

^stuff like this is what I'm talking about

Mendigo
April 2nd 2009


2299 Comments


ugh, have I missed something? seems like I need to give this another spin, it sounded very nice but not too special the few times I've heard it.

thebhoy
Emeritus
April 2nd 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

our little friend hyperbole reared its head a few too many times in this review I'm afraid. I should check this out, but I'm just not into post-rock all that much at the moment, perhaps this could change it.

Knott-
Emeritus
April 2nd 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

^stuff like this is what I'm talking about


comment may have been laced with a small dose of irony ;)

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

ha, fine. but it was tough to tell given the content of the review



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