I have been really floored and quite inspired to receive SO many song suggestions from you after I introduced you my new “Digital Noises for Analog Souls” Spotify playlist, all personal songs, with a personal meaning to them. I believe that music, along with visual art forms, is the purest of all communal expression as it doesn’t require any far-fetched analysis or overly pompous explanations to feel the emotions they are made of or shared from. So again, thank you for sending me your personal favorites along with a few words explaining why via comments or personal messages with the mention “my fav song, #10, playlist”, or whatever may catch my attention quickly 😉 You guys will always have the #10 spot on every one of my weekly playlists “Digital Noises for Analog Souls”.
This feature will be biased. I knew it even before writing a single word about MONO’s new album “Nowhere Now Here”. First, I’ve been a MONO fan ever since I had the wonderful blessing to hear the album “You Are There” played on a tiny little screen at Tower Records when I first visited Tokyo back in 2007. I wasn’t much a fan of instrumental music at the time, but MONO kind of opened the door to another expressive dimension that would later become a very important part of my personal and artistic expression and would lead me to become a massive fan of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky to only name these 2 bands. MONO will however always remain my first love.
I have never missed an album release since. But even more, I’ve been able to grow with them, to evolve as they have, to live it all as a fan, which for me is becoming difficult with time… Mainly because I saw behind the entertainment’s “magic secret” curtain and kinda lost my innocence on the magic that I used to find within my favorite artists’ stories, I guess. But some of them, like MONO, remained what I call the epitome of what it means to be creatively honest. After so many albums, so many tours. I know how easily corrupted that honesty can become, for whatever reasons, right or wrong. But still, for me, MONO is some sort of a personal anchor into that fast fading realm of real, of honest.
I was actually pretty intrigued when the band talked about a new season or new beginning while getting back with legendary producer Steve Albini (Fugazi, Pixies, PJ Harvey, Nirvana). Don’t get me wrong. Steve is one of my favorite producers and he has produced some of my ultimate albums. Their previous release left me a little less moved, a little less surprised. Again, I say that out of a fan perspective and with total respect. It was good, and I actually liked it, but I didn’t quite feel that urge I usually had to keep dwelling in their new material, for both “The Last Dawn” and “Rays of Darkness”. Knowing they were back in Chicago with Steve Albini and had parted ways with original member Yasunori Takada, I was curious to see what that fine line between dusk and dawn would give life to.
I had the great privilege to hear the record a few weeks prior to its release and I was… speechless. For those who know me more intimately, you know it’s quite rare to see me surprised or amazed. And honestly, “Nowhere Now Here” feels like a record made out of a well-designed comfort zone to me. It touches me. It moves me. In ways I can’t describe… Which is fabulous in every possible way, because it goes back to emotions rather than trying to understand and such emotional state paves the way to a real personal uplift. Which again, I find so difficult to experience nowadays.
To sum it all up, if ever possible while sharing about artists as singular as MONO, “Nowhere Now Here” led me right back to that very first moment I discovered the band in 2007 at Tower Records in Tokyo when I couldn’t stop staring at that little monitor playing what seemed to me like the only thing that mattered but without anything close to nostalgia. This newly released album is the sound of a band that has evolved within the same spectrum of lights and shadows as I have myself. Every song is a moment within a journey. Fragile yet delicate, feeling so perfectly assumed and totally embraced. It is reminiscent of every amazingly significant record signature in Albini’s production credit. Pure, raw, honest, somehow greater than himself, and crazy to say, greater than the band itself.
I didn’t really know which songs I should share with you, so I went with those that had me stop writing this text to let go in a vibe carrying me places away from here for a second or too long to really know… Nowhere. Now here.
Note: I decided to complete my second week playlist with songs from albums produced by Steve Albini that have been – and still are – highly significant for me as an artist and utterly influential on the person I became.