Welcome back, friends! Today we have something special going on in the way of a two-for from Pelagic Records. As you already know, Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offerings: MONO’s Beyond the Past: Live in London with the Platinum Anniversary Orchestra and Pelagic Coffee’s The Great Dying.
The Tunes: MONO – Beyond the Past: Live in London with the Platinum Anniversary Orchestra
Does MONO really need any sort of introduction at this point? For over twenty years, the Japanese post-rock outfit has been churning out a steady stream of some of the most breathtaking, evocative, gorgeous music in any genre, in any country, in all of time. The name alone speaks for itself at this point, and as a celebration of the two decades that they have been together making music, they are releasing the special anniversary concert they played in London in December of 2019 (57 years ago, by my watch). Recorded at the Barbican Centre, the band are joined on stage by special guests the Platinum Anniversary Orchestra, which also features members of the National Youth String Orchestra, for a two-hour plus journey through their entire discography. It makes a lot of sense, both for the pomp and circumstance, but also because MONO’s music naturally pairs really well with the haunting, lush strings and orchestral accompaniments. MONO’s live aesthetic has always traded in simplifying their arrangements in favor of more volume, but here you get the best of both worlds. On tracks like “After You Comes the Flood” and “Nowhere, Here Now,” the band start slow and build bit by bit, trading back and forth with the strings and orchestra until they reach the crescendo everyone knows is coming and still can’t help but cheer for. And cheer they do. Hearing the sold-out crowd of 2,000 people go nuts at the end of every song reminds me of just how much of a musical impact MONO have made over the years and just what a great testament Beyond the Past is to their legacy, as well as remind me that I really really really miss concerts.
Booze Beverage: Pelagic Coffee – The Great Dying
Who knew Pelagic Records also dealt in coffee? We’ve already talked about how this exact thing is my new obsession, but since we last talked coffee, I’ve managed to get my hands on a pourover set (thanks Vince!) and now I am unstoppable in my snobbery. What better, then, to pair with my new setup and with a Pelagic Records release than some Pelagic Records coffee? The Great Dying is the signature blend and roast of our favorite The Ocean, containing a mix of beans with truly buck-wild names like “The Origin of God” and “Eternal Recurrance.” The overall roast is quite dark, but without a strong level of bitterness. Instead, you get a very robust, roasty, full-bodied flavor that is quite creamy and slightly sweet all on its own, but with some interesting almost-vegetal tobacco notes that come from the soil the beans are grown in. Of course, all the beans are fair-trade and organically grown, which means you get the absolute highest quality, but also, as someone who ordered these from the USA, the price is quite reasonable and shipping from Germany was as easy as it could be. Pelagic all-stars God Is An Astronaut and the aforementioned titans MONO also have their own signature blends as well, and they are both equally delicious. It probably would have made sense to review “Rays of Darkness,” MONO’s blend, here, but…well, I drank it so fast that I didn’t get a chance to gather my thoughts. Which, I suppose, is the best review I could possibly give it.
Hope you enjoyed the double feature today! There will, for better or worse, undoubtedly be more coffee gracing these hallowed halls soon, but until then…cheers, and be good to each other.