Japanese instrumental post-rock veterans MONO have apparently been very busy writing new music for all of us to enjoy. They’ve announced not one, but TWO new albums to be released next month, and they’ve put out a song from each to give us an idea of what to expect from the new records. Titled The Last Dawn and Rays of Darkness, the two albums feature beautiful cohesive artwork and seem to each show off a different side of the band. Hear the new songs and find out more about the records after the jump:

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‘Where We Begin’ is taken from The Last Dawn and it’s a nice, soothing emotional piece in a style that should sound familiar to anyone who has been keeping up with the band over the last few years. Here is a basic description of the album, provided by the band:

“The Last Dawn is the first of these two companion albums, and is the “lighter” of the two, thematically and melodically. It contains undoubtedly some of MONO’s strongest songs ever, drawing on an array of influences from minimalist film score to vintage shoegaze. It is MONO at their absolute purest, executing an uncanny, unspoken dialogue with each other without the dozens of stringed instruments that have been so prominent throughout their catalog. The songs are also noticeably more efficient – there hasn’t been a MONO full-length record to fit on a single slab of vinyl since 2003’s One Step More And You Die – and the album benefits immeasurably from this streamlined approach. MONO have always been masters of telling compelling stories without words. But now they’ve proven they can do it without frills, too.”

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In contrast, ‘Recoil, Ignite’ is taken from Rays of Darkness and it shows off a darker and heavier style than what we’re typically used to hearing from the group. This appears to only be an excerpt from the song, but with it clocking in at over 7 minutes it provides substantial material to whet our appetites. As with The Last Dawn, the band have provided a description for this album too:

“Rays of Darkness is the first MONO album in 15 years to feature no orchestral instruments whatsoever. That fact alone is remarkable given the band’s reputation for sweeping, dramatic instrumentals that recall Oscar-worthy film scores. Instead, Rays of Darkness more closely resembles a jet engine taking off inside a small, crowded auditorium. It is MONO’s blackest album ever, a collection of scorched riffs, doom rhythms, and an unexpected contribution from post-hardcore pioneer Tetsu Fukagawa of Envy. The album ends with the smoldering wreckage of distorted guitars and ominous drones playing out a eulogy to the days when MONO shot blinding rays of light through seemingly endless darkness.”

Although it seems both of the albums will be very different from each other, what we’ve heard so far shows that they will each be excellent and welcome additions to MONO’s extensive discography. It will be hard picking a favorite between these two, so don’t be surprised to see them both included on some year-end lists here in a few months. The records don’t come out until October 24th,  so it’s likely we’ll hear more new music between now and then. If and when that happens, we’ll be sure to let you know.

-PM

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