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Mogwai - My Father, My King CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.43 | 13 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This has to be a mistake: only six reviews so far, and half of those only a rating, for a truly epic piece of music easily accessible in its entirety on the band's page here at Prog Archives.

All right, so it isn't exactly an essential experience, and especially not for old school Progheads still dragging their heels in a mid-1970s symphonic rut. But Mogwai's year 2001 single is the quintessential primer for open-eared newcomers, and could easily have been subtitled "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Post-Rock (*...But Were Afraid to Ask)".

Over it's gradually unfolding twenty-minute length the song - entirely instrumental, of course - spotlights all the stylistic conventions (or clichés, if you insist) of that very loud musical movement, including the majestic tempos, the steady 4/4 rhythm, and the slow thematic development, typically reaching a climax in an apotheosis of pure noise: fuzzed-out guitars, lots of crashing ride cymbals, and so forth. In this example the song ends in a sustained wall of feedback lasting several minutes, and finally halted with the abruptness of a pulled plug...hardly surprising, given the alarming surge of energy beforehand.

The haunting melody was borrowed from a Yom Kippur prayer (Avinu Malkeinu, not often heard in Presbyterian Glasgow), here given a suitably melancholy arrangement building from an almost subliminal intro to a level of power strong enough to incinerate the Temple of Solomon. The band's own description of the music is, "two parts serenity and one part death metal", but it's possible they have their ratios confused.

Arguably the song is too simple to justify its length; it certainly overstays its welcome long before the extended non-resolution. But on the other hand there's no reason why it couldn't have continued for another twenty or thirty hypnotic minutes. If more liturgical music were given a similar treatment, I might happily reconsider my longstanding religious skepticism.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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