Boomkat Product Review:
Enduring Japanese post-rock band MONO ditch the quiet-loud histrionics on their debut feature-length soundtrack, focusing on delicate ambient arrangements and airy cinematic bliss.
Directed by Yusaku Mitsuwaka, "My Story, The Buraku Story" is a documentary film focused on the lives of the burakumin, a "low status" group of ostracized rural villagers that experience discrimination in Japanese society based on their bloodline. For hundreds of years these people and their descendants have been treated poorly: prevented from working in certain professions and being forced to live only in designated areas. So for MONO, their job was to find a way to approach Mitsuwaka's film with the sensitivity necessary to help tell a difficult narrative - one that's rarely acknowledged by Japan.
It makes sense then that the band opted to strip back their usual heaviness and concentrate on more emotive elements, using piano, strings, synthesizers and choral vocal loops in place of guitars and drums. Tracks like the lachrymose solo piano number 'Yurameki' and self-consciously melancholy string and piano-led micro epic 'Kokyo' lead the charge. MONO's anthemic fingerprint is still present, just about, but turned down a few notches to marinate in the subject matter's calm sincerity. On tracks like 'Gohon no yubi' and 'Chinmoku' they use electronic elements to dematerialize in Eno-esque ambient zones, but they allow the instrumental post-rock to push thru on final track 'The Place', that slowly builds into a slow, Mogwai-esque crescendo.