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Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain

June 19, 2007 | Format: MP3

$7.99
Also available in CD Format
Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
12:15
30
2
13:36
30
3
17:04
30
4
12:00
30
5
19:13
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By Jason on July 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
...does this album have two reviews? Two. Two. Hmmm. Two.

Why does that upset -- nay, sadden -- me? Probably because 'Palmless Prayer' is, no joke, one of the most beautiful compositions I've ever heard. Really.

Two reviews... goodness. I will say, however, the only reason I sought out this album was because I heard someone else declare it to be levels above one of my most beloved bands -- Canadian post-rock 'Godspeed! You Black Emperor!'; the spite that immediately exerted itself, simply from another being putting 'Godspeed!' (qualitatively) at a lower level than any other particular musical force, was enough for me to seek out this music immediately... and so I did.

...and this guy knew what he was talking about, at least in part. No -- I will not be so bold as to praise 'Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain' an entity towering above the works of 'Godspeed! You Black Emperor'... no, I cannot do that, because, to my ears, it is not of a higher level. That said, I am both surprised and excited in being able to tout the album as reaching the same general level of greatness, because that greatness, in my experience, is not reached very often.

There are various reasons this music is haunting, but perhaps the most demanding virtue is its sense of drama; not often have I heard such sadness echoed in the form of music. At first, the sound was so unrelenting I had to take a giant step back, and proceeded to observe with skepticism, for anything this morose can so easily come off as narcissistic or, similarly, containing a mild amount of pretense. Yet, with further listens, it was obvious -- behind the seemingly 'artsy' surface, there is a permeating heart that, for me, breathes the most loving, sensitive of breaths...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is probably the saddest thing I have EVER heard. By the time I get to the sequentially titled Trailer 3 (of a five part album), I'm almost shaking with grief, unable to comprehend how mere music can possess so much power of movement. I challenge anyone to sit through this marvel and rebut my pronouncement. Mono is a Japanese instrumental post-rock band, which appeared over and over on my charts throughout the years. With multiple releases on Temporary Residence Limited, Mono has developed their own staple sound as well as a group of loyal followers (including yours truly). On this collaboration they are joined by Katsuhiko Maeda, who releases under many names, most notable of them, World's End Girlfriend with excellent albums on Midi Creative / Noble. Maeda's sound is an unclassifiable potpourri of modern classical, experimental post-rock with a touch of electronic glitch, and he has also numerously appeared on my rotations. But on this album, Maeda leaves his micro processing behind to join Mono and create an acoustic requiem which grabs at your heart and does not let go until it squeezes every last tear. I have officially found music for my funeral. Yes, I want everyone to weep freely to this nonreligious, palmless prayer.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow. This collaboration between Japanese epic art rockers Mono and their equally arty countrymen World's End Girlfriend is nothing short of gorgeous. Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain is an absolutely breathtaking five-part mood piece that enshrouds the listener in looming desolate shadows cast by classically composed guitar, strings, piano, saxophone and even a fleeting vocal chorus. A staggeringly moving work definitely for fans of Godspeed You Black Mogwai or anyone else looking to have their jaw dropped by some seriously bleak beauty.
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Format: Audio CD
...although this was released in 2006, is MONO & world's end girlfriend's gorgeous Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain, a five-part chamber music suite, as it were, for string quartet and post-rock band. A collaboration between Japanese composer Katsuhiko Maeda and the thunderous Tokyo quartet that is MONO, the album is surely going to be one of my favorites of the year.

Doubtless a lot of music fans more knowledgeable than I would point to music from a different tradition--say, Shostakovich, Pärt, or Gorecki--as more complex, more profoundly moving. But the difference is that MONO rocks: the moment in "Part Three" when MONO's Mogwai-influenced wall of guitar comes crashing down on the orchestra is a cathartic sonic event, only made more poignant by the calm resignation of the finale.

It's hard to describe the widescreen sorrow at the core of this music. It's something as mundane as the inherent loneliness of automobiles stranded on the freeway at sunset. But the ineffable grandeur it evokes is not just exit music for a film, it's Exit Music for real: ruined cities, a threnody for the broken earth, the dying sun's last defiant flare before the beginning of a cold, dead universe. Or as C.K. Williams puts it in his poem "Light," "...everything ends, / world, after-world, even their memory, steamed away / like the film of uncertain vapor of the last of the luscious rain."
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Format: Audio CD
There are experiential works and this is one of them. If you have heard Japanese post-rock band Mono before, they are one of the two acts in here, but this album is not their most accessible or typical piece. The result of the blend of styles between them and World's End Girlfriend could be compared somehow to the sound that the soundtrack for "The Fountain" if, instead of Clint Mansell, it had been Rachel's doing the score portion and, of course, if Mono had done the post-rock work instead of Mogwai. If that makes any sense to you and you are still interested, then check out "Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain". If not, I still invite you to experience the 5 parts that make up this magnificent album: you will not be disappointed if you are willing to put in what it takes into the musical adventure it will take you on.
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