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MOGWAI

Post Rock/Math rock • United Kingdom


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Mogwai picture
Mogwai biography
Formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1995

Named for that famous Gremlin, MOGWAI is Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, vocals-when there actually are vocals), Dominic Aitchison (guitar, bass) and Martin Bulloch (drums). MOGWAI are one of the most influentail post-rock bands of all time. They got together with the goal of creating "serious guitar music." What they've done is create seven (basically - five LPs and two compilations of singles) superb albums of gorgeous yet bombastic music. 98% instrumental, there are two sides to MOGWAI, a Dr. Jekyll side and a Mr. Hyde side. They can be melodic and beautiful and then anarchic and destructive, sometimes within the same track. Bands like BILLY MAHONIE and SLINT give a touchtone, but MOGWAI is truly unique.

Tracking down the literally dozens of splin 7" vinyl singles, compilation album contributions, etc, is exhausting and pointeless, because the band's done it for you. Two full-length compilations are out, "Ten Rapid" and "EP+6." Be careful when buying the latter. There's an "EP," and "EP+2," an "EP+4," a "No Education = No Future," and a "4 Satin." All these repeat themselves but are captured in full on "EP+6" - that's the one to get. At any rate, all the rare tracks that fell through the holes are available as free downloads from MOGWAI's official site.

The full albums are "Young Team," "Come On Die Young," "Rock Action," and "Happy Songs for Happy People," plus the single track 20 minute EP "My Father My King." There is a very stripped and organic feel to "Young Team," "Come On Die Young," and "My Father My King." There are more electronics covering "Rock Action" and "Happy Songs for Happy People." While all MOGWAI is highly recommended, "Rock Action" is the place to start. Also, "EP+6" minus one 13 minute noise track, is stupendous.

: : : BrainRock Ben, Birmingham, AL, USA : : :

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MOGWAI discography


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MOGWAI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.55 | 119 ratings
Young Team
1997
3.38 | 8 ratings
Kicking A Dead Pig - Mogwai Songs Remixed
1998
2.91 | 75 ratings
Come On Die Young
1999
3.41 | 84 ratings
Rock Action
2001
3.89 | 194 ratings
Happy Songs For Happy People
2003
3.72 | 114 ratings
Mr. Beast
2006
3.32 | 39 ratings
Zidane - A 21st Century Portrait (OST)
2006
3.69 | 100 ratings
The Hawk Is Howling
2008
3.82 | 143 ratings
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
2011
3.77 | 31 ratings
Les Revenants (OST)
2013
3.22 | 53 ratings
Rave Tapes
2014
3.63 | 24 ratings
Atomic (OST)
2016
3.20 | 30 ratings
Every Country's Sun
2017
4.23 | 17 ratings
Kin (OST)
2018
4.00 | 2 ratings
ZEROZEROZERO
2020
3.51 | 20 ratings
As the Love Continues
2021

MOGWAI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 20 ratings
Special Moves
2010
3.50 | 4 ratings
iTunes Festival: London 2011
2011

MOGWAI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MOGWAI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.99 | 21 ratings
Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
1997
3.60 | 15 ratings
Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003
2005
2.19 | 7 ratings
A Wrenched Virile Lore
2012
3.87 | 6 ratings
Central Belters
2015

MOGWAI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Tuner/Lower
1996
3.80 | 6 ratings
4 Satin
1997
2.60 | 5 ratings
No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew)
1998
3.90 | 13 ratings
EP
1999
3.42 | 17 ratings
My Father, My King
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Travels in Constants, Vol. 12
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Travel is Dangerous
2006
3.08 | 5 ratings
Friend Of The Night
2006
2.23 | 3 ratings
Batcat
2008
3.59 | 13 ratings
Earth Division
2011

MOGWAI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 143 ratings

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Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Dapper~Blueberries

4 stars It has been a while since I looked at a post rock album, let's change that. Post Rock as a whole has been sort of an enigma for me. Not that I do not like it but it sort of that odd genre of music that I never seem to fully understand. At one point it is about textures and lengthy suites with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and then it becomes some kind of evolution to space rock and psych rock with Crippled Black Phoenix, to then be cryptic, loud, and abrasive experimental music with Swans. It is a genre that never really is what people say it is. When you think you know what the genre is about it shifts on your head like a dime. Each post rock band has something completely new, which does make the genre exciting. How will a band contrast the rest, how will things go for them? What is their method, their thought process, how do they play, what do they focus on? It is sort of a given that I found a sort of attachment to the genre, not a full blown obsession to it, but if given the chance I would definitely listen to an album by a post rock outfit. One of the most critically acclaimed post bands to come out and one I think is my personal favorite, is Mogwai.

Formed in Glasgow in the mid 90s, with Stuart Braithwaite on guitar and vocals, Dominic Aitchison on bass, Martin Bulloch on drums, and a few others that have gone and left throughout the band's career on various instruments, namely the keyboards or flute. Where most post bands have songs that feel very inconsolable, I always found Mogwai's music to be more celebratory. They are a happy brand of post rock, as happy as post rock can get. This, added on with their less atmospheric and more rock driven output makes them a very interesting band. Unlike other post bands, they never really made any longer songs too. They have made longer pieces of music like with Mogwai Fear Satan on their debut album, Young Team, and the two part untitled dark ambient suite on the Zidane OST, but relatively they focus on smaller songs that showcase a bit of what the band has to offer in terms of sound and style. This direction leads their albums to be a little divisive among fans. Someone's all time favorite will most likely differ from else's which leads this band into a more fun route to take for a conversation, because I truly think Mogwai is a great post rock band to start with and go through all their albums. That aside, in 2011 they released their seventh studio album (not including any remix albums, session albums, or soundtrack albums), Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.

Now do not let the title fool you, this is not some loud and abrasive hardcore album filled with fast riffs and a punk nature, no, instead you will get some very well made post rock mixed with a bit of an alternative rock sound. The first song White Noise definitely shows this quite well. I can hear hints of more emo and softer rock vibes within this song in the pitter patters of the drums, and the soft yet defined guitars. It builds rich and defining atmospheric melodies that build into this noisy, yet somehow still very mellow and lush sound that is rich in its abilities. It feels all so squeezed up, but not like a fist being clenched, but like a hug. It is soft and warm, yet still has a tight grip on you. I think this is one of Mogwai's most defining tracks out there, and it is a shame it isn't as talked about as I would like it too. Definitely an amazing opening for this album.

Things do change with Mexican Grand Prix. While still post in nature, they shifted gears into a more EDM direction. I do admit this is my least favorite track on this album because it feels a little out of nowhere, and that it doesn't really fit with everything else this album has. It isn't a bad song though. I like the vibes on here, being very jovial and danceable while keeping the aesthetic Mogwai presents themselves having ever so truly. It is a fun track to listen to, but definitely not their strongest output.

Everything gets back up again with Rano Pano. Talk about being loud and proud, because this song is just noisy, and I honestly really like it. How the guitars create this airy yet thin atmosphere that gets built up more and more as the song progresses, with each beat of the drums making things expand more and more. It all gets louder and more crisp, which even despite all of this, it still has that very buoyant feel to it all. Even with style and sound changes the band still can create a very happy sound to it all. I cannot help but just love that main riff and how it repeats and never gets old. It is like how Mike Oldfield with Tubular Bells or Ommadawn made repetitious music that never gets forgettable or annoying in its structure. I feel like the more I talk about this song the more good I have to say about it, but that is just because I think it is another one of their many flawless greats.

This also goes to Death Rays, but I do have some critics on it, but from an album standpoint. As a song, it is just pretty. The melody and the structure of it all just hits everything right on the head of the nail. How it all builds towards a finish that feels so lush makes me just fall for this song each time I hear it. On an album stance though it feels like the band is back peddling when they do not need to. It feels like they are retreading similar steps from White Noise when it seems like this album is built off trying different styles and noises to create a complete work of art. It is something that slightly gets under my skin, which I think is really unfortunate because I really do love this song. It is still perfectly good, but I do see it as a tiny misstep.

However I do admit that San Pedro is such a good track. It dives head first into that sort of alt rock sound that was popular in the late 80s and 90s. It has this grunge and emo vibe to it all that it makes it feel like some anthem song for those who grew up on that type of music. I can tell this song might seem off putting to many people, but I do enjoy this song. It is different, it is something you do not get every day in the vein of post bands. It is taking a sound and style, and making it work in their own unique ways. It is short but it is fun to look at.

But on a completely different note, Letters To The Metro is such a comely track. I just love how it builds but never gets anything loud in the end. Instead we get beautiful piano and guitar works that build this ambient and somber sound. This is probably their most sad song yet. In their wake of mirthful melodies, they can definitely work really well with more dreary movements. This change in sound really helps the album move forward into new directions that I think benefits the album really well. It's calm, it's focused, and it is bittersweet.

We got back into that alt rock groove though with George Square Thatcher Death Party. We have that noisy, and emotional sound returning in full force, and much stronger now. Everything feels so right in it together that you can feel everything rolling into one complete work of art. It's alternative rock in its pure sense. It has that Sonic Youth drive, that My Bloody Valentine noise, and that Velvet Underground spunk. It is what the entire alt rock movements stand for and go by, and I just love it. A plus material as always.

We get back into a more post rock sound with How To Be A Werewolf. For some odd reason I find this song to be kinda on the weaker side of things. I feel like as I stated before with Death Rays that it feels like back peddling when they should instead move the music forward. Still isn't a bad song, but it does get under my skin in terms of effectiveness, since I already heard something like that before where it builds up to something loud and jovial. It is retreading on familiar territory that I do not think needs to be retreated.

I do, however, think Too Raging To Cheers is a good improvement on that sort of formula I talked about in How To Be A Werewolf where it builds up into something loud. Unlike How To Be A Werewolf, it instead uses the buildup to explore a more electronic sound rather than that of a rock one. The guitars are still there, but I get vibes from more glitchwave and even techno music. It allows itself to truly be unique in presentation without the need for going back a few steps. It is that type of post rock that deserves a lot more attention. It is a post rock that combines the slow, methodical, and atmospheric charge, with more nuanced and differing genres and sounds, and making it work highly well.

Lastly is You're Lionel Richie, and this final track sets a good end mark for this album. Tracks through that familiar post rock mixed with alt rock sound this album has had for the course of most of its run time, but going about it with a longer focus and atmosphere. This 8 minute track shows a good amount of intricate details that create for a good experience throughout it. How everything is guitar driven without it being overly distorted or loud until the halfway point where it quickly gets more loud as it crescendos across through the end, makes this track extremely well made in style, sound, and overall presentation, making for an ending that is very solid.

Definitely not their best, but far from their worst. It is flawed, but this album has a ton of stuff to love about it. The sound, the unique styles found here, the interesting elements used here, and the entire emotional spectrum this has, combining joyous movements, with somber tones and textures, makes this a treat in every way possible. Check it out if you wanna hear what Mogwai can do as an example of great post rock music.

 Kin (OST) by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.23 | 17 ratings

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Kin (OST)
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by moshkito

5 stars Mogwai KIN England 2018

To start with, the only thing that can be said about this album is that it is magnificent, and you don't need to see a film to appreciate its beauty as a CD. The music, its moods and designs are really well (either) thought out or designed, and the music flows well ... and some things seem to go together (not in the film) like "Funeral Pyre" and "Donuts" both excellent and simple in their design ... but the feeling is really well developed within it, and the film would not be able to show these in their entirety, however, it was used very nicely ... although when you hear the CD, you will find the music itself is really nice to follow and get into. But it is really easy to say that the film clarifies a lot of the music, and for me it added the visuals ... although that might be difficult with just the CD and not seeing the film, but you end up with a more complete "story" that the film can not exactly execute in its entirety.

The album starts with a very simple piano opening that one might think has some far off and weird bits behind it ... but it never takes away from the main theme of this film. It is "Eli's Theme" and it might be considered how the kid feels in the story of the film ... and it might have been written that way, which would be very different from a simple rock song based on a beat.

Continuing with the story of the film, "Scrap" adds a little more to the main theme and it seems to suggest that something is about to happen. This is also a magnificent piano based piece, and beautifully developed and realized. And we to "Flee", where we see Eli and his brother getting in a car and running away to escape ... something that is not clear as yet. This piece expands into a rock song, with really good development and its mood enhanced each and every second ...

For me, the two pieces that really make this outstanding for me, is "Funeral Pyre" and the follow up "Donuts". "Funeral Pyre" has a haunting suggestion that makes you think ... and it leads to "Donuts" which is a sumptuous affair with beautiful keyboards and soaring leads over it, that just stands out all over the album, though we can not hear all of it in the film.

It's difficult to try and explain so much of this material ... I think it is strictly designed to be visual and not just "music" and specially "rock music" feelings, and I found it lovely to be able to close my eyes and just fly with it. I had not even seen the film at that time, and this piece alone already had my imagination so fired up it was crazy. Of anyone creating music, specially film, I can only think of Vangelis as the true one ... although it is very difficult to leave behind so many folks that added so much to the film, as was the case with David Lean and others, who loved to use music.

The rest of the songs in this album, are a part of the film, and it might be difficult to expand and express their design and connection ... I have to watch the film again to see when "Miscreants" and "Guns Down" are, which would be around the last half or third of the film ... and then if you did not have enough, you get the title of the film and is "big" with a slight rock beat accompaniment ... which is something that this whole album seems to not want to fall into ... which makes it one of the great albums of music ... even without the film.

Seeing the film, will likely help you enjoy the music even more, because you will see how well it was used, and how well designed the music was!

A great album ...

5 STARS

======================================

This is the film review I have for this film and its soundtrack.

A very nice film, not usually the kind that I see, but somehow one thing got my attention ... the album of music by MOGWAI is massively great and beautiful, and immediately sent me chasing the film to see it ... and no sooner I got the DVD ... son of a gun ... I watched it twice, back to back, just because ... just because ... I don't know ... for once an "action" film, was not shot to be clever for its tricks and stuff ... but it used these things really well within the context of the story and made the film nice to watch ... and its music moments are magnificent, and not over done by film that make it look like music is so important to make this moment greater than it really is ... this film is already "alive" and the addition of the music in some parts, is extremely well done, and adds the right amount of feelings that your stomach and mine might have for the moment ... the music is not used for sentimental values and ideas ... it's used as a part of the film itself ... and that makes this film, special in many ways!

And for once, you do not get involved in this film for its clever, and science fiction styled details ... they just seem to be nicely setup maybe, just maybe with one exception towards the end, that I am not sure is necessary, but the film maker has the right to feel otherwise and show us the story as he sees it.

The story itself is probably open to interpretation but a kid, one that we would otherwise consider a "loser", finds a package that he takes home, and eventually learns it is some kind of weapon that does some serious damage ... and he learns to use it once or twice ... and then we come to the part that makes is a bit of the sci-fi thing ... the weapon was lost and there is a group trying hard to find it, and they finally locate it, and it helps (I think?) that it ends up clearing up the story of the kid ... and his apparent confusion and occasional lack of ability to make a decision, but when the time comes, somehow it appears to work just fine.

But he learns all this during what seems to be a cross country trip making an effort to escape ... and the only thing we know is that his brother is being pursued by bad guys and somehow the brothers are joined up by a dancer ... and Eli almost accidentally learns to work the big package.

And at the end, it is returned to its rightful place and the bad guys are done in. Eli has grown up a little, and the dancer goes her own way! No love story here ... just friends that meet on the way to .... and this is how the film feels ... and I think this is the part of the film that is far out ... we don't think of it as some sci-fi thing ... and we just hope that the bad guys all go away ... etc, etc ...

For me, a very enjoyable film, and seeing the music used properly in the film instead of just a background a la Hollywood ... shows some serious maturing and understanding from the brothers that wrote and directed this film.

It is a wonderful exercise ... a low key film, that works ... and doesn't have to show off its clever tricks to gain an audience.

4 GIBLOONS

Band Members: Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, vocals) Barry Burns (guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals) Dominic Aitchison (bass guitar) Martin Bulloch (drums)

 As the Love Continues by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.51 | 20 ratings

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As the Love Continues
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by The Rain Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Mogwai are a 4-piece post rock band from Glasgow, Scotland and "As the Love Continues" is their 10th studio album. I have always been a passive fan of Mogwai. I must admit the only previous records I ever got really into were "Rock Action" and "Mr Beast". I did go and see them once at the Barrowlands and they are some live band. The reason why I got into this album was very much because of the hype leading up to it. If you follow the bands twitter account, you will know exactly what I mean as the band pushed for number 1 in the album charts for their first time in their history and they did achieve it. It was something to behold with many bands retweeting Mogwai's pleas to stream/buy their album. Everyone in the rock community and beyond wanted to see them do it. I do not know the last time an instrumental rock album got to number 1 but I think you would have to go back several years. A truly astonishing feat. Now to get into the album itself. On the surface and after a few listens it does give the feel of a typical Mogwai album. Those kinds of songs which build and build then reaching crashing climax and create this wall of sound. Which if turned up loud will go right through you. But on further inspection while I would say this is the case for most songs on the album. Not only are their exceptions; But the songs which do follow this quiet/loud formula do so by going in different directions to get to that wall of sound destination. For example, "Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever" has an electronic vibe throughout the song, particularly at the start. Then that is followed by "Dry Fantasy" which uses keyboards and is a song which does not actually peak and acts as more of an interlude. "F off money" goes along the same lines as "Dry Fantasy" to begin with but has a heavier mid and end section.

Opener "To the bin my friend..." is perhaps more what you would expect from Mogwai being this heavy and driving guitars. "Ceiling Granny", "Drive the Nail" and "Supposedly, We Were Nightmares" also follow this pattern and are a great reminder of what made Mogwai so good in the first place. "Pat Stains" for me is for me the weakest moment on the album. It just feels like the build-up has this same loop going round and round which gets irritating. Then the main part or the chorus goes into another repetitive loop and those two loops go back and forward for the entire song which lasts 7 minutes. A very skippable track.

A track which really stands out like a sore thumb on the album is "Ritchie Sacramento". The reason being it is one of the few tracks Mogwai have ever done (and I do not know exactly how many times they have done this) that has vocals on them. Now do not get me wrong it is a chirpy we number, which has a Teenage Fanclub sort of vibe. It is a good song. But does it fit on a post rock album and should it be something that a post rock band does? To me it feels like they have broken the rules when it comes to post rock music. No singing allowed :-P. I know rules are there to be broken but this song does feel out of place on this album and maybe should be left to a side project. It is clear though that the vocalist can sing though.

Another track which stands out for me and is currently my favourite on the album is "Midnight Flit". The reason for this is because they didn't have that wall of noise, I was talking about earlier so it is a bit different. What they do have in this song is a string section which adds so much to the song. I think when you talk about bands evolving now and doing something different. It seems like the first answer is to bring in a string section. Look at the Foo Fighters latest album and the song "Waiting on a War". Then there are bands like Travis, Alter Bridge and Bring me the horizon doing gigs with orchestras. Strings seem to be in just now and are a way giving bands that extra dynamic and I have to say I love it. And I love the way Mogwai have used strings on this track as they really are in the foreground of the mix.

Overall, this album has been a slow burner for me. Initially I thought this was just a run of the mill Mogwai album with their quiet loud approach but on further inspection they have used things like electronics and strings to make things more interesting. Even if it was just the quiet/loud approach there are not many bands that do it to quite the same level as Mogwai. There is a reason they have been around for 25 years and have been one of the top bands in their genre all that time too. Reaching number one was not just a triumph for post rock, it was a triumph for rock music in general.

 Central Belters by MOGWAI album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.87 | 6 ratings

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Central Belters
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars If you don't have any Mogwai albums, don't want to take just a short compilation and simultaneously want to collect rarities, this is the 3-CD release to go for. You have mostly lighter laid back tracks. sometimes compensated by intensive numbers like "We're no here" or "Batcat". The absence of vocals helps focus on the atmosphere. What may be surprising is quite a good proficiency and use of keyboards, preferably piano that is usually secondary on post-rock albums. Also, Mogwai aren't content to just play a song and that's it, they can add colourful arrangements, guitar decorations and suitable drum pattern so you get a first-class cake. "Rano pano" is somewhat of a hymn with its melody and cresciendo rounds. Well recommended to listeners who want to start exploring Mogwai.
 Earth Division by MOGWAI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.59 | 13 ratings

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Earth Division
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Earth Division is an EP that was released by Mogwai in 2011. The 4 tracks on the EP were exclusive to the recording and were recorded during the same sessions as "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" and released later in the same year. These tracks just didn't seem to be in the same style as what was on the album in that they were quieter tracks, so the band released them separately to show off that quiet side of the band.

"Get to France" proves that fact right away as it is led off by a solo piano and later joined by strings and various keyboard stylings. The track is a lovely, almost cinematic theme that stays soft throughout. "Hound of Winter" is led more by an acoustic guitar, this time with twinkling piano, soft accordion effects and swelling strings and guitars. There are vocals in this track, the singing kept pensive, yet out front instead of buried and subdued. Again, this track is beautiful and cinematic.

"Drunk and Crazy" is harsher with thick droning guitars. The guitar wall waxes and wanes as it goes on, the drums are somewhat subdued into the mix. At 2 minutes, the wall of sound expires and we are left with pleading strings. Piano chords chime in with a fuzzy effect making things a bit unsettling. As the music builds a bit, the harsh wall of guitars push the music forward again, first tentatively and then almost taking completely over again. "Does this Always Happen?" quiets things down again with a chiming guitar riff and a violin creating another beautiful theme. Piano again joins in with bass and the piece continues along with that same soundtrack feel as before.

The album is exquisitely lovely with sadness and pain expressed in a heartfelt way mostly unlike the band has done before. It shows a more vulnerable side of the band and their music. It is obvious why this music had to be separated from the album and placed here on its own. The biggest fault of this, as is the problem with many short EPs, is that it is too short. You only want to hear more of this by the time it ends. But the music is lovely enough to merit a 4 star rating.

 Les Revenants (OST) by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.77 | 31 ratings

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Les Revenants (OST)
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars The TV show wasn't a masterpiece, the plot had a huge number of logical faults and the authors didn't have any idea of how to explain it, so a lot of things remained unexplained and incomplete. But the atmosphere of that French village on the alps, with people coming back from death and resurrecting several times and a number of related misteries was able to keep you sit in front of the TV.

Well, one of the reasons is that the music composed by MOGWAI was perfectly fitting in that atmosphere. It was so integrated that I can't imagine watching it with a different soundtrack. In example, the Americans, maybe Netflix tried a remake, but unfortunately the actors were "standardized" to the American style and the soundtrack...well I don't think I resisted more than 15 minutes to the whole.

So back to Mogwai: this was not a horror movie even though there's a thrilling atmosphere, and the musical comment is not that of a horror movie, but it's like a light nightmare. The music can show all the dark side of the story, which include serial killers, religious fanatics, alchoolist parents, almost all the possible dark aspects of the human nature, but there's some melancholy, sense of wonder, so a number of sensation that the music is able to create, not just comment.

I don't know if I would have appreciated the movie without that music and vice versa. Keeping the two things separated isn't easy. I can say that I enjoy listening to the album "alone". All the tracks, except one, are instrumental, slow, atmospheric and dark but not too much. The non-instrumental track is a sort of slow country melodic song in the vein of Roger WATERS solo stuff, but without him screaming as usual.

I actually heard the Mogwai debut only, and I didn't like much. This TV stuff had the merit of making me appreciate their music and their other works. (I still don't like the debut, anyway).

So I don't know if I'm suggesting/reviewing the album or the movie. let's say both. The story is inconsistent, but the atmosphere and the OST are great.

 Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.82 | 143 ratings

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Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Recently I had contact with a member of the new Italian prog band Giant The Vine. I had asked for a biography, and read about their honouring of Mark Hollis (Talk Talk), and their appreciation for post rock bands, like Talk Talk and Mogwai. Also due to a topic on the Forum I decided to take a dive into the world of post rock, and to listen to Mogwai its album Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. While listening I notice that the music is simply structured, melodic and harmonic, with a strong focus on emotion. The atmospheres range from dreamy or hypnotizing to dark with up-tempo beats. The colouring with the guitars is wonderful, very moving, from tender to raw. I am pleased with the subtle use of instruments like the organ, vocoder, piano and violin. This colouring gives the music an extra dimension so you can easily identify with the music, feeling sad, euphoric or agressive. I grew up in the Eighties with U2 and Simple Minds, I had to think about these bands at the point of accessible progressive pop rock with emotion. I am curious to more post rock encounters, this one is certainly worth, thanks Giant The Vine, this Old School proghead has broadened his musical territory, at the age of 58!
 Come On Die Young by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.91 | 75 ratings

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Come On Die Young
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Mogwai's second full length album "Come On Die Young" (released in 1999) was the first album to feature Barry Burns who had worked with the band in the past and was made one of the core members. This would be the last time that Mogwai's line up would change until 2015. The critics were a bit harsh with the album after they raved over the debut album, mostly because the sound was less intense. Mogwai wanted to create a sparser sound for this album inspired by Nick Drake, The Cure, Slint and Low. The critics were not so happy about the change. However, the album proves to be a step in the right direction in the long run as it sees the band not settling in on a single sound, but branching out and trying out new styles.

The original plan for the album was to be quite shorter, but the record label talked them into including more tracks that they had recorded during the recording process, so the album ended up having a total length of over an hour, 67 minutes to be a little more exact. The first track "Punk Rock" is a pensive track featuring a simple electric guitar playing while Iggy Pop talks in the background. This speech is taken from an interview done in March of 1977, about punk rock, of course. This is followed by "Cody", which is slow and pensive also, but has a steady beat behind the guitar. The track also includes distinct vocals, where most of Mogwai's material that features vocals that are subdued and mixed down deep so that they are almost not heard, but more like becoming as an instrument. This track also has a distinct melody, a slide guitar and more accessible than normal. The melody is nice and the feeling is quite relaxed, a lovely sound.

"Helps Both Ways" originally featured John Madden doing a commentary during a game in 1998, but this was replaced with another commentary later because the use was unauthorized. While this commentary plays softly in the background, almost like a TV playing, the guitars, synths and flute play along slowly and pensively to the beat. Again, it's a nice, slow track, that stays mellow throughout. After this point, the music continues in the same slow or moderately slow style with pensive guitars, synths and occasional flute with differing effects come in. The melodies get less interesting and the songs start sounding a bit same-y and lackadaisical. It's not bad if you just want to chill and float along, but it doesn't invoke the emotion of "Young Team" or some of their other, later albums.

"May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door" finally stretches the length to exceed 8 minutes, but continues with that same feeling. However, it does have time to develop and crescendo to where there is more intensity, but nothing much else changes during the duration of the track. "Ex-Cowboy" and "Chocky" are also longer tracks at over 9 minutes. The grandeur that is missed in most of this album starts to come out on "Ex-Cowboy" and, with the help of violin, builds into a wall of sound, but reaches the climax quickly and then dies down again and goes quite minimal for a while before building again, this time to a longer climactic section. It's better, but not very ingenious. "Chocky" is a much better track that lessens the guitar and increases the keyboards, creating a different texture and giving the listener more variety. It features a repeating piano line against soft droning in the background. Feedback and effects build out of the drone when the piano stops and things increase in volume, and then fall back. Another piano melody begins, this time more distinct and the soft drone continues in the background and drums carry a steady beat. It builds quite slowly, most of the build coming out of the drone as individual sounds become more apparent as the volume increases. Towards the end of the track, the piano ends, but the drone suddenly grows much louder and then cuts off.

"Christmas Steps" is the longest track at over 10 minutes, and is more of a return to form of the previous album, more intense and grandiose. There was a track on Mogwai's earlier EP "No Education = No Future" called "Xmas Steps". The melody of both songs is pretty much the same, but "Christmas Steps" is much slower than the original. The structure is pretty close though as the guitar melody is repeated and then doubled and improvised on as the music continues to grow and the guitars play repeated chords. Later, as the tempo and loudness increases, the guitars get distorted and quite heavy. After 6 minutes, things clear up as the noisy background drops off and then a violin solo starts up deep in the background. The music gets very quiet until the end as just the guitars play their repeating melody and the violin continues. This and "Chocky" are definitely the highlights of the album.

Though not as interesting as some of their later, more developed albums, or their previous album, "Come On Die Young" still has it's great moments, they are just a lot fewer and farther between as the album is more of a study in minimalism. There is nothing wrong with that, but the middle of the album definitely sags quite a bit as the songs start to sound too much the same. The best parts of the album are the first 3 tracks and the last 3 (not counting the final postlude track, which is pretty much a throw away, short track). I wouldn't start exploring Mogwai's music with this album, but it is a good one to come back to later mostly for the better tracks.

 Young Team by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.55 | 119 ratings

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Young Team
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I am very glad that I decided to give Mogwai another chance after my disappointment with Rock Action, this time deciding to go right back to the start where the band were apparently at their most minimalistic and representative of post rock. What I found here was far from a perfect album, but it's one that definitely has its fair share of good moments on it, and is just enough for me to feel like looking a bit more into the band. The main aspect of this album that I enjoy is the leaning on noise rock that a lot of the louder sections on songs have, which is definitely an interesting contrast to what often feels like an explosion of indie rock with a lot of other bands, providing a more unique listening experience. There is also a more ambient side to the album, many songs escalating very little, more like soundscapes than full fledged songs, which are often where I find this album falter.

Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home starts the album off nicely, staying mostly at one volume, but having a really nice jump near the end where the guitar distortion kicks in, while still maintaining a melancholy atmosphere, nothing particularly intense, just an extra layer of depth that creates a more grandiose atmosphere. Like Herod is where things really pick up though, with an ominous bassline, which subtley changes throughout, as the guitar switches between eerily playing off the bass, and having a very slightly more upbeat tone to it, harkening back to the previous track in terms of tone. The song then goes full throttle and explodes into a wall of noise, which ot me sounds like utter panic as everything seems to be falling apart at the seams, the repetitive, wailing guitars sounding similar to some sort of emergency siren. Katrien feels very disappointing to me after the incredible heights the previous song reached, this one being a fuzzy, meandering experience with some spoken word that adds absolutely nothing. Tracy is somewhat better, feeling as if something's taking place, especially with the noise in the background adding additional weight to the core melody, which in itself is extremely good. It goes on for a bit too long, but it's nothing egregious. Summer further picks up in terms of energy, having a faster pace and reminding me strongly of the intro to Metallica's Fade To Black, although I do find the heavier sections here to lack any sort of major impact. WIth Portfolio on the other hand causes the flow of the album to fall flat, being nothing more than a wonky sounding piano arrangement with annoying noise plastered haphazardly over the top. R U Still In 2 It? is the only song with proper vocals, an it is by far the most bleak song here, and while it does drag on a bit, the way it captures such a feeling of isolation is impeccable, so tonally it's extremely good. The final track is also regarded as the best that the band has released, and for good reason I'd say, as the rest of Young Team almost feels as if it simply served as a 50 minute prelude for Mogwai Fear Satan. After an album filled with emptiness and melancholy, this track acts as a ray of sunshine piercing through the clouds, and is very uplifting, being in an absolute constant state of building up and hitting cacophonous climaxes. The song is in a constant state of movement, along with being amazingly powerful. This isn't the best post rock song I've ever heard, but even so, it's still an amazing song that almost makes the multitude of weak points throughout the rest of the album worth it.

Overall, this akbum has some amazing high points on it, but is also rife with filler tracks and a gneerally meandering feel to it, I personally feel like they could have cut this album down to about 45 minutes and had missed out on very little. Overall, while I do like the difference in sound this album has, leaning more on noise than indie rock in many points, it still ultimately doesn't work amazingly on the basis of many of the compositions feeling as if they could have used some tweaking and cutting. I still stand by the fact that I feel as if this album has made me see Mogwai in a more positive light after Rock Action, to the point where I want to listen to some of their other material, but this album does have some flaws, even if Like Herod and Mogwai Fear Satan are both absolutely killer.

Best songs: Like Herod, Mogwai Fear Satan

Weakest songs: Katrien, With Portfolio, Radar Maker

Verdict: Not where I'd start with post rock, but a pretty decent album, despite it being on the overlong side of things. Give it a listen if you enjoy post rock, but this isn't where I'd recommend you start off in the genre.

 Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997) by MOGWAI album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
2.99 | 21 ratings

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Ten Rapid (Collected Recordings 1996-1997)
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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