Mono - a word that conjures thoughts of a single, shallow channel of sound, or a kissing-related virus. Which is odd, because the Japanese instrumental group of the same name has an intensely rich, dynamic sound that could transport a tired soul to a state of voluminous bliss.
So, why didn’t this video make it into the film, after cashing in favors with good friends to help me shoot their performances in San Diego and LA? Simply put - They are not on any of the 3 highlighted labels in the documentary. At the time of this filming, they were in the middle of a co-headlining tour with Pelican - who IS in the doc, thanks to their affiliation with Hydra Head - and I thought that the film was going to more of a “post-rock” documentary.
However, as Aaron Turner states in the film, “Terminology is lame.” The spirit of these bands and labels can’t be attributed to falling under an easy-to-dismiss moniker. Instead, it’s the family vibe of these labels and bands that was the root idea of this idea back in 2005. That same vibe extends to other labels and bands, as it did on this Mono/Pelican tour - but once I let in one band from another label, I will start saying, “What about Rosetta, who’s on Translation Loss Records? What about the bands on Deathwish, and their connection to Hydra Head?” And then, the next thing you know, you have even more hours of footage that seems impossible to whittle down into a feature-length film. And I didn’t want to whittle. So, the decision was made early on to solely focus on the 3 labels.
Plug time - And, that is why the deluxe double-DVD set, available soon, is being made - so you, the fans (present and future) can see a portion of what did not make it into the film. And, since DVD’s can only hold so much information, even more footage will be showing up here, on The Cutting Room Floor.
So, enjoy this clip, from one of my favorite groups, performing one of the most dynamic and emotional songs from their catalog of instrumental epics. Interspersed are interviews with the band and their live sound engineer, Matski, who has very clear opinions on what he thinks about modern music.
Produced, Directed, and Edited by Kenneth Thomas.
Camera Operation by Chris Mckee, Kenneth Thomas, and Ren Yoneyama.
Shot at The Casbah, San Diego, CA, 27 May 2006; and at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA, 29 May 2006.