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The Battle to Heaven: Japan’s MONO to transcend at Gabe’s

Posted by Paul Osgerby | Jun 26, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment

MONO, w/ B Star

Gabe’s — Wednesday, June 28 at 9 p.m.

MONO plays Gabe’s on Wednesday, June 28; B-Star will open. — video still

Added as part of their three-month North American tour, Japanese gazed-out four-piece MONO will provide an instrumental backdrop for emotional discernment at Gabe’s on Wednesday, June 28. Doors open at 8 p.m., with the music lifting off at 9 p.m. The event is 19 and over. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $12; $15 at the door.

MONO started as the brainchild of guitarist Takaakira “Taka” Goto, gelling with three of his friends in Tokyo over the course 1999. Together they sought experimentation in shoegaze in the vein of groundbreaking UK band My Bloody Valentine, paired with the aural cacophony of early Sonic Youth. The films of Lars von Trier, particularly Breaking the Waves, made a lasting impression on Taka — and MONO — regarding the language in its nuances of dramatic effect.

When MONO dropped their debut full-length album, they added one stringed instrument — the cello — to ascend their guitar-driven songs. In each subsequent release, MONO added more and more strings as well as other (literal) bells and whistles, fully absorbing classical intonations into their sound (each band member is listed as a glockenspiel player). In 2014 the band released the double-album The Last Dawn / Rays of Darkness, the latter of which ditched the orchestral instruments in favor of their early sound. The album contrasted the binaries of morality: good and evil.

Now into their ninth release, MONO have brought back a full string section. Produced and masterminded by legend Steve Albini — who produced three of MONO’s past albums and whose band, Shellac, co-headlined a Japanese tour with MONO in 2015 — Requiem for Hell is a five-song double LP. MONO have continued to magnify binaries across the emotional spectrum: gallant and fearful, sanguine and gloom, love and loathing. In classic Nietzschean fashion, MONO presents instrumental music as an essence of the object-world.

Opening for MONO will be local band B Star.

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