Before The Past • Live From Electrical Audio by MONORelease date: November 8, 2019
Label: Temporary Residence Ltd.
Following their excellent tenth studio album Nowhere Now Here’s January release, Tokyo post-rock quartet MONO are celebrating their 20th anniversary by re-recording three of their early tracks with their long-standing friend and NNH engineer Steve Albini.
The EP comprises new versions of ‘Com(?)’ and ‘Halo’ from their second album, One Step More and You Die (2002), and ‘L’America’ from their debut, Under the Pipal Tree (2001). The EP is (frankly) awesome and testifies to the strength of the band’s continuing relationship with Albini. The new cuts of ‘Com(?)’ and ‘L’America’ blow their respective album counterparts out of the water and this rendition of ‘Halo’ is a distinct improvement upon the original.
It’s tempting to overstate the significance of the veteran engineer’s involvement with the record (as sometimes happens with music that he records for other bands) and it probably makes sense that these recordings will sound stronger and more confident than the originals as they’re being performed by musicians with 17/18 years’ more experience under their belts. However, Steve Albini accomplishes his trademark feat of capturing the sonic power of bands’ live shows in a studio environment with full aplomb here, with the epic climax of ‘Com(?)’ functioning as a particularly noisy highlight.
All in all, this is a solid EP that shows just how much MONO have developed as musicians during their 20 years of existence, as well as providing a snapshot to the uninitiated of just how powerfully abrasive their live shows can be.
Please also see our recent live review of Mono here. Attended and written by our Editor Adriana Ciccone.