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8/10

Mono - Holy Ground: NYC Live With The Wordless Music Orchestra

Joe Marshall
Joe Marshall 26 April 2010 at 16.24

Mono - Holy Ground: NYC Live With The Wordless Music Orchestra Cover

A hugely special evening...

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of live albums are a waste of time; ill conceived, poorly mastered and delivered as little more than an afterthought aimed at the most intransigent completists. Thankfully, Mono are one group who rarely operate in half measures and this, their first live record, delivers on almost every level. Documenting the band’s 10th anniversary show in New York, complete with 24-piece orchestra, ‘Holy Ground…’ quite clearly represents a labour of love and, thanks to a quite revelatory mastering job from Matt Bayles, the entire set is rendered in stunning clarity and with a commendable absence of compression. Indeed, with the concert hall’s acoustics swathing every instrument in a sheen of beautifully organic reverb, it’s arguable that Mono have never sounded better. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the relatively straightforward visual aspect of the package pales somewhat in comparison and, given that ‘Hymn To The Immortal Wind’ (from which the vast majority of the set is culled) was itself recorded live, the difference between the two albums is at times barely discernible. Nevertheless, aside from a couple of minor complaints, ‘Holy Ground…’ provides an exemplary record of what was without doubt a hugely special evening.

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