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mono - Gone: A Collection of EP's 2000-2007
So after something of a burst of life last year, the decaying post rock sound has gone into a sharp decline in 2007. Maybe we should have expected it, it's been going on for quite some time now, and you can't keep pulling the same old tricks forever, but I can't help but be slightly sad about the whole affair. Lucky then that Japanese symphonic post-rock poster-boys Mono don't show any signs of letting up with this latest full-length from the Temporary Residence label which collects some of their more difficult to obtain tracks. You see Mono are one of those bands who seem totally happy releasing music on vinyl-only editions of four copies, so it feels pretty nice to be able to finally get some of their best work (seriously) in one easy to obtain package finally. Collected here we get their Japanese 'Hey, You EP' from way back in 2000, their contribution to the split album with Pelican (which has been sold out pretty much since it was released), the utterly flawless 'Memorie del Futuro' 10", a compilation track from Temporary Residence's 'Thankful' cd, and the entire 'The Phoenix Tree' EP which was released as a subscription only disc last year. Phew, that's a lot of music and what's more there's not a duff track in sight. It might be worth knowing that much of the material on here was recorded at the same session with Steve Albini at the helm so there's a definite leaning towards the more recent work (specifically 'You Are There'), with a more orchestrated feel sidestepping the overtly noisy earlier work. It's nice then to have the album kicking off to such a raucous start with their two debut tracks and then ending with their most recent, bookends to their career so far, and while their sound hasn't moved into a totally new direction it has certainly evolved over the band's seven year lifespan. For our money the record's high point comes with the incredible and epic 'Memorie del Futuro' EP, released a few months ago on filmmaker Cameron Crowe's Vinyl Films imprint which shows the band's move into the lushly orchestrated film-soundtrack influenced world as totally welcome, and this is thankfully where they have stayed since. Where at the beginning the band could be compared mostly to the high-low fuzz of Mogwai or the brooding long-form ambience of Godspeed You! Black Emperor they have developed now into something less derivative and more a blend of the cinematic sounds they clearly know so well. With the album's final four tracks we see them even arranging a full (albeit short) string piece and hopefully this is an indication of what treasures we're going to find on the next album proper. Until then we've got this representation of a band who are at the top of the post rock tree - just buy it!