Hymn to the Immortal Wind - Anniversary Edition by MonoRelease date: June 14, 2019
Label: Temporary Residence
It feels inconceivable that a decade has passed since Mono’s timeless Hymn to the Immortal Wind was released. The ethereal record has become a post-rock mainstay, sitting firmly at the centre of their current list of studio albums. Originally re-released on the 10th anniversary of the band’s formation, their wondrous masterpiece reaches the same milestone without showing any signs of age.
From Under the Pipal Tree to You Are There, the albums released prior to Hymn to the Immortal Wind combine patient, emotive passages with spine-tingling heavier moments. As the Japanese quartet matured, they began kneading their sound and injecting a cultural style now synonymous with their music. A decade on from Hymn to the Immortal Wind, they’ve built an outstanding catalogue with so much depth, it’s hard to comment on their 20 year legacy without using the word ‘legendary’. Their evocative music has an impact so intimately powerful, I feel that my life is so much better with Mono a part of it.
Enriched by a magnificent 24-piece orchestra, the album accompanies a short story from the perspective of an elderly woman. She recalls a lifelong friendship, bound by their experience and struggles during childhood, but strained through the passage of time. Their bond is reconciled in dreamlike sequences, telling tales of fragility, like in the planting of a seed, and hope, that something beautiful can grow even in the harshest conditions.
With stirring storytelling and song titles that contemplate the trials of life and sureness of death, the band paint a warm, vivid vision of passage from the physical world into the great unknown. Immersing us in an inspiring journey, we’re urged to ponder the forces we cannot see, but know are there; like our souls, that love and live on in the afterlife.
Reaching almost 70 minutes, the album is painstakingly composed in unedited detail, as patient and thorough as it deserves. Soaring with cinematic intensity, graceful segments entwine with dramatic, crushing moments; in particular, on ‘Ashes in the Snow’ and ‘Everlasting Light’, which start and end the record respectively. With loving embrace, Mono guide us through perilous dark towards welcoming light, indulging us in celestial perfection.
When truly absorbed, this ode to the eternal causes everything to subside into the background; all troubles fade away and we’re drifting through the clouds, across an endless ocean, below a moonlit sky. Mono weave their fingers into the fabric of music itself and romance the threads that bind it, creating a record of immeasurable beauty.