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Mogwai - Zidane: a 21st Century Portrait CD (album) cover

ZIDANE: A 21ST CENTURY PORTRAIT

Mogwai

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.33 | 26 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the very good impressions that "Happy Songs for Happy People" and "Mr. Beast" left on me, I had been eagerly waiting for MOGWAI's new album to be released. I didn't know this album/soundtrack was available, but as soon as I found out about it, I bought it. After all, the main "star" here is was my favorite football (soccer) player of the last decade. And I was very interested in hearing what the post- rock band could do with Zidane as main subject of this score.

The results here are mixed. What's clearly obvious from the beginning (but especially in the end) is that this album would fare much better if the movie for which it was created was seen simultaneously. This statement is especially accurate for the last track, the 30-minute "Black Spider 2", which is just a long piece of noise and feedback with some musical touches here and there. I can imagine what this movie is like after listening to its soundtrack. I'm pretty sure it should be very slow, very limited in words or dialogue (if it has any). And I'm sure this soundtrack may fit it like a glove, if it's like I think it is.

The music (which is what I can judge, as I have heard it) is not in the same spirit of MOGWAI's previous album, "Mr. Beast", or even of its predecessor, "Happy Songs (.)" as it's much slower, much more repetitive in tempos and themes, less dynamic . The mood is not depressive, though, but more dream-like. Instead of feeling that we're listening to a collection of tunes written by a depressed, lonely, sad human being, we get the idea that whoever composed this was dreaming, soaring the skies of alpha waves, maybe with the help of opiates or other hallucinogens.

As always, the texturing work is very good. With mostly clean and little-distorted guitars, MOGWAI creates short numbers of extreme depth. The themes are usually weakly developed, which of course it's intentional as it's the main basis of this music: to build upon a theme with texture, harmonics and dynamics in intensity, not so much with changes of melodies and keys. The good news is that the tracks are short (except for the last one), so that they never become tiresome or boring, like those in works by other post-rock artists who love to wander around a single idea for minutes. This has always been MOGWAI's biggest advantage in my point of view, and never it is more evident than here: if some of this dreamy, slow tracks would've lasted longer, the album could've become a real pain to endure. But as it is, it's enjoyable.

3 stars, as the variation in moods and speed is minimal compared with "Mr. Beast", and the tracks less magical than in "Happy Songs (.)". But this is a good album, probably a good soundtrack (we would have to confirm this assertion watching the actual movie) and a decent warm-up to MOGWAI's next real full-length. Add a star if you are a post-rock fan.

The T | 3/5 |

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