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Mogwai - Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997) CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.00 | 22 ratings

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2 stars "Ten Rapid" is a collection of "Mogwai" early recordings that weren't released in their original forms on any of their albums released previously. The release dates on these various songs are between 1996 - 97. This album will give insight to fans and other listeners on how Mogwai's sound started to develop. The recordings, being early performances, are somewhat noisy in nature, but reflect the direction the band wanted to take it's sound and expand the post rock genre.

The album starts out with "Summer" which was released as a double A-side with "Ithica 27:9", which is included later on this album. It was also released in a different version on the debut album "Young Team". Beginning with a noisy and distorted version of the song's chorus, this soon fades and is replaced by a more melodic melody with occasional bursts of heaviness. The sound is similar to the direction the band "Tortoise" was taking in the beginning of their career but the song gets quite chaotic again as it continues while the vibes still shine through the wall of noise that comes and goes. "Helicon 2" (otherwise known as "New Paths to Helicon Pt. 2) , was released on a 7" single along with Part 1 of the song. This has a more laid back sound with the melody played by bass at first and then developed further by guitar as the drums move the track slowly along.

"Angels vs. Aliens" is a re-recorded version of the track of the same name that was released on a split single (shared with "Dweeb) in 1996. The track fades in with jangly guitars, bass line and drums. There are the typical subdued vocals that were often heard in Mogwai songs in the early days. The guitar lines get more complex and build up in intensity and the darkness contrasts with the sudden addition of bright chimes and a heavy wall of sound is constructed from guitar feedback and noise. "I am Not Batman" is a track that was released on a multi-artist compilation cassette that was given away free at the Ten Day Festival in Glasgow, Scotland in 1996. This one begins with a guitar drone that softens to allow a bass and guitar line to come in with the minimalistic vocals. Noises emerge from the drone generated from guitars as a pulsating drum and simple bass line stand out above the drone.

"Tuner" is one side of the band's debut single (the B-side "Lower" is not included on this collection). It starts out in a minimal fashion with tapping drums, bass and soft, barely discernible vocals. The song doesn't develop past this minimal sound. The version on this collection is a re-recording of the original single version. "Ithica 27:9" is the other half of the "Summer" single which was the first track on this collection. It builds from a soft beginning based off of a melody created from repeating notes. A sudden extreme increase in tempo and heaviness turn this into a wall of distorted noise before it suddenly settles back to the main theme again and then it fades on the last note.

"A Place for Parks" was included on a free multi-artist compilation given away at the Camden Crawl II show in England in 1996. It is a more simple guitar melody with some barely discernible spoken word and a soft base of bass and drums. "Helicon 1" is the other half of the "Helicon 2" single. This track has been used in several TV shows and movie previews. It fades in off of a descending 3 note guitar riff and layers build on top of this with a slow, almost march style drum pattern. After a few minutes, there is a sudden increase in intensity, the 3 note melody continues against a loud background. Later, the wall of noise drops and the track continues in a soft bass rift and the continuing guitar melody playing quietly and then fading out. "End" is the last track and is simply "Helicon 2" played backwards.

This is a rather short compilation at only 34 minutes total, and it is also mostly a study in extremes going from minimalist to a heavy wall of noise in a split second. The production is questionable, as should be expected from a collection of mostly singles and previously rare tracks. This was Mogwai experimenting with their sound in the beginning of their career. Of course things would get much better as the band continued on their path to become one of the most popular and innovative post rock bands that would influence the genre immensely. They would go on to become quite influential, along with Tortoise and Godspeed You! Black Emperor in the post rock world. This album, however, is probably more suited for the fans, and is definitely not a good entry point for those interested in exploring the band's sound. The music is quite rough sounding and abrupt, not really the sound that the casual listener would equate to Mogwai's later music.

TCat | 2/5 |


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