John Walker's Electronic House

by on May.20, 2005, under The Rest

Mono, Bristol Fleece, Tuesday night.

Walking cloud and deep red sky, Flag fluttered and the sun shined

I’ve never been to a gig on my own before. All three people I know who have heard Mono (rather than heard of Mono) are currently on a remote Scottish island in what I imagine to be a cross between Five on Kirren Island and Battle Royale. And all three, while I’m sure are having a splendid treasure hunt/mass slaughter, expressed significant disappointment about not being able to attend. And it’s no surprise.

I’m a little woolly on the correct application of the genre “post rock”. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the reappropriation of rock instruments to be played orchestrally. Pioneers, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, are behemoths of sound, weaving foundational melody into a barely controlled cacophony, interspersed by recorded speech, shop tanoy announcements, and the prophetic ramblings of the mad. It is phenomenal, huge, and beautiful.

If Godspeed are giants, Mono are wraiths. They are the concept stripped bare, replacing woven destruction with ambient evolution. Precise, delicate patterns repeat and develop until everything is a roar, the persistent melody graffiti on a wall of noise. Until, and only when it is time, it unwinds and finally calms.

To watch this performed deceives the mind. Like a skilled artist casually sketching with a pencil creating a masterful work before your eyes, just two guys with guitars, one on drums, and a girl so slight as to look spectral on bass, doesn’t seem enough to be generating the universe of music that surrounds. As each piece reaches the peak of its crescendo, it’s almost impossible to keep your eyes open, as if your mind is refusing all other sensory input. And then, as the diminuendo begins, you can look again, and see the physical exhaustion of the band.

They care about what they do.

9 Comments for this entry

  • BBB

    Curses – I didn’t even know they were in the UK – and I’m not to far away from Bristol. Oh well, these thigs happen.

  • Clare

    I’ve noticed that it is Wednesday. How was the gig John?

  • John

    Congratulations on knowing the day of the week. Cambridge isn’t losing its edge, I note.

    Um, that was a description of the gig. I’m a bit confused.

  • Clare

    Ah yes….you make a good point!
    You see when I read that entry, rather than making the obvious assumption that you were writing about a gig you had just seen, I twisted logic in a really odd way and thought you were encouraging us to go and see Mono on Tuesday 24th because they were so good live. The fact that you wouldn’t know they were good live until after the gig never occurred to me. So when it got to Wednesday 25th, I thought I should ask how it went.
    I’m losing my mind.

  • John

    Cambridge will do that to you.

  • Clare

    No…I’ve been losing my mind for years, personally I blame CYFA

  • John

    I’m sorry? What’s CYFA?

  • Clare

    CYFA is no more. It was a wonderful community founded upon the principles of fellowship, happinesss, apple juice and green jelly with icecream. Unfortunately when their two best members announced they would soon be leaving for pastures new the group couldn’t cope, changed their name and entered a bleak winter of mourning their loss ;-)

  • John

    ‘Winter’. Very clever.

    Ah, in-jokes.