Mono Holy Ground: NYC Live With the Wordless Music Orchestra

Mono Holy Ground: NYC Live With the Wordless Music Orchestra
When Japan's Mono reached the ten-year-anniversary mark in 2009, the instrumental-loving post-rockers marked the occasion with a special one-off show, the result being Holy Ground: NYC Live With the Wordless Music Orchestra. The CD/DVD combo was recorded at New York's Le Poisson Rouge with a 24-piece orchestra, which effectively made Mono's already massive sound only that much more immense. And despite this being a live recording, it isn't an experience marred by crowd chatter, stage banter and questionable sound quality. In fact, the audio is flawless, thanks in part to the mixing talents of Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis), making every finger picked nuance, swelling climax and stereo-destroying guitar assault come with stunning, catharsis-inducing clarity. Roughly half of the set list is made up of tracks from 2009's orchestra-equipped Hymn of the Immortal Wind, with the remaining tracks digging into the band's back catalogue. But since Mono's emotion-packed songs have always been suited to orchestral stabs at grandeur, the live orchestra enhances each track, no matter the period. Add in a DVD of the entire 90-minute concert and you have an impressive package for diehards and newbies alike. (Temporary Residence)