MONO

Mono is an instrumental post-rock group from Tokyo, Japan. They play a dark, moody brand of dynamic guitar oriented music. They formed in 1999.

Mahogany Frog

Mahogany Frog is an instrumental electronic rock band from Winnipeg. The group is comprised of four multi-instrumentalists: Graham Epp (guitar/keyboards/trumpet), Jesse Warkentin (guitar/keyboards), Scott Ellenberger (bass/keyboards/trumpet) and Andy Rudolph (drums/electronics). The music draws influence from '60s psychedelia, electronica, '70s progressive/kraut-rock, jazz, 50's "ultra" lounge and ambient/experimentalism. Using an extensive collection of analogue and digital keyboards, cacophonous, feedback-ridden guitars, fuzz-bass and walls of electronics, the group creates dynamic, multi-layered songs that explore tone, mood and composition. Although Mahogany Frog's unorthodox sounds and complex arrangements can challenge the ear, their haunting progressions and playful melodies are immediately approachable and satisfying. Onstage the band performs furiously and at massive volumes, often connecting multiple songs together with interludes consisting of ambient noise. Over the past decade Mahogany Frog has released six records, delivered high-profile performances at Pop Montreal, Winnipeg Jazz Festival, WSO New Music Festival, JUNOfest, Prog Day (Chapel Hill, NC) and SESC (Sao Paulo, BZ), and shared the stage with notable artists such as Caribou, Deerhoof, BADBADNOTGOOD, Venetian Snares, The Besnard Lakes and Eric's Trip. Their latest release SENNA won Instrumental Album of the Year at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards, and was nominated in the same category at the 2014 JUNO Awards.

History:

Mahogany Frog began in 1998 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when Graham Epp and Jesse Warkentin, who had been honing their own sound of fuzz-laden psychedelia, joined forces with the percussionist/electronic musician Jean-Paul Perron and bassist Nathan Loewen. The band began to coordinate functions at venues throughout Saskatchewan, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere utilizing projections, performance art, and a broad spectrum of exploratory sounds. As a result of these performances local promoters began to recognize Mahogany Frog's increasing audience, and between 2000 and 2002 they headlined regularly, opened for Canadian touring acts such as Eric's Trip and Projektor, and released their first full-length record Mahogany Frog Plays the Blues. In late 2002 they formed a six-piece, with singer-songwriter Shaun Mason (founder of Montreal's Dumb Angel) replacing Loewen on bass, Jordan Perry (co-founder of Saskatoon's Linus Hemmingway/Blood Music and Montreal's Derelict) on organs and synths and Mike Spindloe on saxophone. With this lineup Mahogany Frog performed and recorded an hour-long instrumental concept that eventually became their second album The Living Sounds of Mahogany Frog.

Relocating to Winnipeg, Mahogany Frog minimized to a four-piece, introducing Scott Ellenberger on bass/trumpet. With the release of The Living Sounds came recognition from the Winnipeg art community, and the band became involved with an eclectic group of musicians, performers and filmmakers. They embarked on numerous prairie tours, collaborating with the newly launched indie label/collective Teargas Recording Tree in Saskatoon to organize multi-media events in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Teaming up with musician/recording technician Michael Petkau Falk (founder of Les Jupes/Head in the Sand Productions/Record of the Week Club) they spent the summer months of 2003 creating Mahogany Frog Vs Mabus. Released in February 2004, this collection demonstrates the increasingly complex compositional aspect of the group, as well as the expanded use of synthesizers and analog keyboards. The band began to tour extensively, and Vs Mabus charted on campus/community radio throughout Canada.

In winter of 2004/2005 Falk recorded the band's fourth LP Mahogany Frog on Blue. Released in June 2005, the album takes cues from the sounds and textures of Vs Mabus but the compositions are short and focused, displaying a challenging array of melodies and sounds projected with a raw, forceful energy. The songs translate effectively onstage, and while touring on Blue the group began to develop a reputation for being one of the country's most fierce and inventive live acts. The album garnered favorable reviews throughout North America, and became available through Vancouver's Scratch Distribution in Canada and Cuneiform/Wayside in the USA.

In autumn 2006 the band began recording Mahogany Frog DO5. Engineered by Michael Petkau Falk at Winnipeg's MCM Studios between October 2006 and May 2007, the record features atmospheric soundscapes, catchy melodies and saturated, explosive noise. DO5 was immediately picked up by New York City-based label MoonJune Records (home to avant-garde/progressive/fusion artists such as Soft Machine and Allan Holdsworth) and re-pressed with international distribution. With help of MoonJune founder Leonardo Pavkovic's promotional efforts DO5 won the band international acclaim; the record received glowing reviews in publications throughout North/South America, Europe and Asia. Following the album's release the band embarked on numerous tours throughout Canada/USA, sharing the stage with notable artists such as Caribou, Deerhoof and The Besnard Lakes.

In autumn 2008 Perron was replaced by drummer/electronic composer/performance artist Andy Rudolph. As a long-time collaborator, Rudolph was familiar with the band's work: he had filled in on drums during a tour in 2005, and the group had interpreted one of his compositions and released it as the closing track on DO5. Rudolph's electronic proficiency, as well as his tendency toward jazz/R&B-style drumming, resulted in a gradual musical shift: new material began to display layers of MIDI-controlled sequencers, razor-crisp glitch-beats, moody tonal washes and infectious, hip-hop-esque grooves. In autumn 2009 the band enlisted Winnipeg filmmaker Stephane Oystryk to film a live performance in a historic Exchange district warehouse; originally intended as a music video for promotional purposes, the project slowly became a full-length documentary, incorporating tour footage and interviews spanning the band's career. The film was eventually released in 2013, screening at Pop Montreal and Gimmie Some Truth Documentary Festival in Winnipeg. In spring 2010 the band performed a live score to the film CAS'L, an eccentric work-in-progress created by animator Bruce Bickford (best known for his work in the 1970s with Frank Zappa).

In September 2012 the band released SENNA. Recorded and mixed by John Paul Peters at Private Ear Studios in Winnipeg from July to November 2011, the record was released independently in Canada and distributed internationally by MoonJune Records. Lush with soaring synth-scapes, waves of blistering guitar feedback and sound-art segments consisting of field recordings, tape collage and analogue electronically generated sounds, the album is the group's heaviest and most challenging effort. Combining both live and multi-tracking recording techniques, it effectively translates the intensity of the band's live performance, and demonstrates their growing tendency towards electronic programming and sequencing. SENNA received international critical acclaim, won Instrumental Album of the Year at the 2013 Western Canadian Music Awards, and was nominated in the same category at the 2014 JUNO Awards.

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