Venue: Bentley Music Auditorium, Mutiara Damansara, Malaysia
Date: 4th April 2013
Promoter: Soundscape Records
Review by: Ee Liza
Special Thanks: Mak, and the Soundscape Records team
I have come to notice that the journey of my music exploration has been split into four amicable parts. Each part of course, has been highlighted by the four visits Mono graced Malaysia. In 2008 when Soundscape Records bravely introduced Mono to the Malaysian concert scene for the first time in Zouk KL, it felt like I experienced the whole gig in a deer in the headlights moment. Floodgates were lifted and I learned that four people can unearth a dam-full of gracious new noise. The second time I caught Mono in KLPAC (2010), I saw for the first time, the wonderful brilliant absolutely fantastic complementation and amalgamation of orchestra and rock. To this very day, I still favour and notice songs that have subtle yet sturdy strings in the background. I had to miss the third (2011) Mono appearance in Malaysia however, as I was away at that time. Nevertheless, I had the privilege of hearing Mono play with the Holy Ground Orchestra in the UK that year. Holy majestic cymbals indeed.
Enough about me, though. This is a review for Mono’s fourth visit to Malaysia. A walk down the beach will most certainly leave you with sand between your toes, regardless if you wore sandals, flip flops, or slippers. This is the palpable feeling that you get as you stroll into Bentley Music Auditorium on the night Mono graced Kuala Lumpur yet again. It is the pleasant, familiar kind of sand that you get, certainly not the kind that chafes at your skin but the kind that reminds you of how you are so very present at a certain point of time.
Present enough to be aware that when Mono kicked off their set with Legend, it would be foolish not to expect the four members of Mono to perform as such. Seven minutes into the song and it would have felt like you transported right between cliffs with waves crashing around you. Dig your toes into the sand, I say, because you would certainly want to scale these walls of sound.
The setlist featured three new songs from the latest album For My Parents, Dream Odyssey and Unseen Harbor were absolute gems to watch unfold as you pick up on unassuming agendas that were lay out in between songs from Hymn To The Immortal World. Pure As Snow and Follow The Map amongst others, these are just songs that one will never tire of listening. The night closed with Everlasting Light but not before we get another crowd favorite, Halcyon.
How has this experience of watching Mono again evolved, you ask? In the course of five years, music has most certainly progressed in such a way that despite all the new music you have come to love, there is always a new rhythm, a new way of seeking cadence, a new effect, a new sound that surprises the explorer in you. Perhaps it is the same sense of exploration with Taka, Yoda, Tamaki and Yasunori Takada as they tour, create and spread new defined sounds. They continue to have my utmost respect and I do solemnly hope that there will be many more opportunities for Mono to return.