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on 9 December 2008
As a pianist, I find that many beautiful melodies on the ivories can jangle my emotions, and send shivers tumbling down my spine. And that is exactly how I feel when I listen to 'You Are There' by Mono, an album so packed full of sumptious moments that almost anyone could be bowled over by the beauty of the atmospheric pieces contained within.

Anyone familiar with Mono will know what they're about- soaring guitars, crunching riffs, frantic tremelo picking and emotion conveyed entirely through instruments. Mono don't have vocals in their compositions, because Mono have absolutely no need for them. I use the word 'composition' very deliberately here, because it applies to Mono perhaps more than any other band - these are considered, meticulously crafted pieces of music, and there is simply never a dull moment. Mono approach the studio as though they are playing live, and it's evident here - although every track is planned out and designed very well, the emotion that comes with a live concert is translated almost perfectly onto CD, an accomplishment few bands could even consider attempting, let alone succeeding in.

Every single track is amazing. In other reviews, I have noted some negative points to tracks and bands, but it's very difficult to fault this album. The beauty is there in abundance, and a more piano-orientated feel is still present on 'The Remains Of The Day', a soft and wonderful piece of music. Yet, despite the sweeping elegance of the emotion conveyed, 'You Are There' is still very much trademark Mono, and finds them in the form of their lives. The guitar work is sublime, and at times absolutely brutal - when I saw them live, Taka actually wore down his pick on the strings, such was the speed of the playing. That should give you an idea of what this band is about; they wear their hearts on their sleeves, and their instruments do all the talking for them, emotion and message conveyed purely through melody.

Mono have many contemporaries, some very lofty indeed (Mogwai, EitS, and so on). That said, this is the finest post-rock album I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. If you like the genre, the band, or any bands remotely related to Mono, you simply have to purchase this album - it is scarily powerful stuff, and an addition to any musical collection. 'Moonlight', 'Yearning' and 'The Flames Beyond The Cold Mountain' in particular rank amongst some of the best tracks ever committed to the recording studio, with crescendos, quiet buildups, piano, strings, and a million other combinations to keep you occupied. You won't get bored with this album. I know I'm eulogising a fair bit here, but it would be a disservice if I didn't. If you're not sure, try and pick up a sample of the first track somewhere, and get an idea of what the album is like overall, in terms of tone.

Sometimes, something in life is just so good, that you feel compelled to laugh out loud at how brilliant and beautiful it is. Mono's magnum opus does it for me everytime, and I hope to be dazzled by it for years to come.
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on 12 June 2006
`Are You There' is the monumentally epic 4th album from Mono, perhaps one of the must sonically stunning groups ever. Hailing from Japan, Mono don't really make music they lovingly craft huge picturesque `collages' of sound. From the most delicately dream-like notes to gigantic walls of noise then mould them into a sound that is so sublime and full of emotion and passion that you can't help but just sit and let it wash over you. It soaks you to the bone, keeping you held firm by its hypnotic charm. With an amazing evolution in sound and delivery, `Are You There' supersedes its predecessors `Walking cloud and deep red sky, Flag fluttered and the sun shined' by taking their bewitching sonic sculptures conjured up on it and pushing their emotive qualities and rare unequivocal power and force it contained to new heights.

Using only guitars and drums the sound this quartet produce is unmatched, as they grow from the most delicate to the most ferocious and back again effortlessly. With an almost organic nature the tracks evolve with each listen forming new sculptures of sound and imagery, they captivate the mind and senses of the listener. Like a field of butterflies in flight, delicate and beautiful, yet complex and awe inspiring as a collective, Mono's recordings transcends and redefines the very essence of how music should sound by adding this rare, yet delicately exquisite passion and allure that keeps you spell-bound throughout the entirety of the album.

Its difficult to actually put into words the juxtaposition of beauty and power that `You Are There' creates as the shear depth and drive it contains really need to be experienced to get the just of exactly what Mono are capable of. Likewise comparisons to the likes of Neurosis, Godspeed you Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky are kind of useless, as although they're a point in the right direction, Mono's music is un-comparative and offers up so mush more than these or any other artists out there.

This may sound like a broad statement to make but after you've experienced the majestic beauty, sonically descriptive seductiveness and apocalyptic splendour of `You Are There' you won't be able to forget it.

Once again with a seemingly effortless approach, Mono have produced an album that shatters genres and set the band so far ahead of their contemporaries they seem untouchable. `You Are There' is shear brilliance and nothing less and is without doubt one of only a hand full of records that you HAVE to experience.
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on 22 August 2006
Mono go from strength to strength. This does "feel" like a natural follow-on from Walking Cloud, which is no bad thing. Whilst it lacks some of the (IMHO excellent) experimentation of One Step More or Pipal Tree, it feels more reflective and subtle (sic). Are You There is an excellent example of this.

I find Mono very hard not to listen to: I usually end up transfixed. You are There contains all the hypnotic, enigmatic qualities of pervious works.

If you're new to Mono this is definately a good start. But beware, you may find yourself buying all their works!

Finally, I was introduced to Mono by John Peel (GRHS). He played Sabbath from One Step More ...... I was hooked.
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on 18 June 2008
This is the first and only Mono record I own. They play instrumental rock music (or post rock if you prefer that term) and I feel that they're greatly influenced by the masters of "post rock", Godspeed You Black Emperor! Only that Mono sound more... ehm.. rock. The songs are pretty much building over guitar riffs slowly but rewarding.

I like this cd and I'm sure I'm gonna check out another of the band's releases sometime. To sum it up, while Mono don't re-invent post-rock in any way, their songs are pretty good and atmospheric.
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on 26 March 2006
This album, like its predecessors, is quite simply stunning. If you are familiar with mono this album is probably best described as walking cloud deep red sky, with the more sombre feel of the recent mass murder refrain album with world's end girlfriend. I like to think of this album as the sunset to walking cloud deep red sky's dawn. Of course this is a very limited description and if you are familiar with mono then you should have brought this already! If you don't have this album (those of you who have no idea what mono sound like, should start by listening to 'lost snow' or 'halcyon' off the walking cloud album)i'd encourage you to just go ahead and buy it, as mono are at the peak of post-rock. It's just too beautiful for words...
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on 19 April 2006
Folks,get it; don't even question it, get it.

The missing link between Mogwai, Sigur Ros and anything that transports you into another dimension.

A friend of mine (thanks Sebastian)played it for me when he bought it a couple of weeks ago and I've been hooked since - even had to get it for myself.

Can't wait to see them live now...

Dx
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on 9 January 2016
Great album worth every penny.
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on 7 February 2009
Being a fan of "post rock" i gave in to the exultant reviews of this group and bought this one.There is nothing original here and the "chiming" guitar crescendos are as overused here as with the similarly overrated Explosions in the sky.Definitely second division.no risk "post rock".Their collaboration with Worlds end girlfriend (palmless prayer) is excellent though.
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