For seven albums Mono has consistently delivered cinematic post rock, minus the Hopelandic whalesong. They do it again here, but with a nicely nuanced twist. The 24-member Wordless Music Orchestra contributes beautifully shaded chamber music accompaniment to the sturm and drang, and that means that these long, long songs -- most of them in the 12 to 15 minute range -- are just as captivating during the glacial buildups as they are during the big, cathartic payoffs. The 9 live tracks, spanning 80 minutes, are primarily taken from the band's great 2008 studio album Hymn to the Immortal Wind, but there are a couple surprising choices as well, including two from the band's 2004 collaborative re-mix album New York Soundtracks. The classical/post-rock hybrid is such an obviously fitting stylistic marriage that it's surprising that it hasn't been tried more frequently. Sigur Ros, with their collaborations with string quartet Amiina, have beautifully explored the quiet side of the equation. But Holy Ground takes in the full sonic gamut, and the results are everything one could hope for -- brooding, serene, explosively powerful, and never less than lovely.
Edited by Andy Whitman, 27 April 2010 - 09:49 AM.