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Film Soundtracks - Released May 8, 2020 | Rock Action Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 19, 2021 | Temporary Residence Ltd.

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There's an art to coming up with song titles when you have no lyrics to easily pull from. The Scottish band Mogwai excel at it once again on their tenth studio album. How can you not be curious to hear a cut called "To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth" or "Supposedly, We Were Nightmares"? They also deliver on the intrigue. There's long been a cinematic— sometimes wide-screen, sometimes almost unbearably claustrophobic and interior—quality to Mogwai's songs, and it's no wonder they've been a favorite of directors looking for a moody score. It's easy to imagine the pummeling drums and dramatic orchestral strings of "Midnight Fit" accompanying a pivotal turning-point scene where a hero figures things out in the rain; "Dry Fantasy," with its emotive keys and slow-build cymbals, comes on like an escapee from the Drive soundtrack. There's a neat trick at the start of "Fuck Off Money," when the hum pans from right to left in the speakers—a vertigo-inducing physical sensation that lasts just a few seconds, before the whole thing builds into a wall of sound that gives My Bloody Valentine a run for their money. So, too, do the mercurial dynamics of "Pat Stains." Formed in 1995, Mogwai tap into that era again on "Supposedly, We Were Nightmares"—all gleeful Britpop swagger—and the big and wonderful "Ceiling Granny," which recalls, of all things, Smashing Pumpkins. And the late singer-songwriter David Berman serves as lyrical inspiration for the blissfully fuzzed-out "Ritchie Sacramento," which features the only vocal verses on the record: "Rise crystal spear, fly true over me...what brings you back?/ Promises of a memory/ Your own ghost running away with the past." There are surprises, too, like the spaghetti-western guitars and ice-cold electronic beats that open "Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever" before it unspools into melodic, heart-tugging keys. As for the aforementioned "To the Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth," it promises to make for a killer concert spectacle (cue the bright white lights): swerving wildly from shimmering cymbals and delicate piano to a huge wave of noise that feels like an embrace. This is drone with heart and soul. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 21, 2008 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 1, 2017 | Temporary Residence Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 5, 2006 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

Possibly the most accessible yet sophisticated album Mogwai has released, Mr. Beast strips away most of the electronic embellishment of their recent work in favor of a back-to-basics sound that returns to and expands on the approach they pioneered on Young Team. Mr. Beast is also a surprisingly spontaneous-sounding album -- in the best possible sense, its freshness makes it feel like a recorded practice session and also helps give relatively delicate pieces like "Team Handed" the same amount of impact that heavy, searing tracks like the closer, "We're No Here," have. Interestingly, more of Mr. Beast tends toward the former kind of song than the latter; "Friend of the Night," "Emergency Trap," and the glorious, slow-burning album opener, "Auto-Rock," give the album an unusually refined, even elegant feel that is underscored by the prominent use of piano and lap steel in the arrangements. On songs like "Acid Food" and the magnificent "I Chose Horses" -- which features cavernously deep bass and spoken word vocals by Tetsuya Fukagawa from the Japanese hardcore band Envy -- Mr. Beast feels downright pastoral. However, Mogwai doesn't give up their heavy side entirely, as the aforementioned "We're No Here" and "Glasgow Mega-Snake" show; any song that has either "mega" or "snake" in the title should rock, and this one does, kicking off with a claustrophobic snarl of guitars that makes this one of the most intense pieces Mogwai has ever recorded. Mr. Beast manages to be immediate without sounding dumbed-down.. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 9, 2003 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

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Rock - Released July 22, 2014 | Chemikal Underground

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 30, 2001 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

Sripping away much of the noodling and noise of their earlier work in favor of tighter structures, more immediate melodies, and vocals, on Rock Action Mogwai recaptures the excitement that surrounded their first releases. Like so many groups stuck with the post-rock tag, Mogwai needed a way to expand beyond the term without changing their sound completely, and aided by guests like producer Dave Fridmann and Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys, they've found it. Rock Action incorporates bristling distortion, propulsive drums, and electronic textures similar to Tortoise's Standards -- particularly on the opening track "Sine Wave" -- but the album's most remarkable moments revisit and reinvent more traditional sounds. Buoyed by lush string arrangements and Fridmann's detailed, warm production, the brooding ballads "Take Me Somewhere Nice" and "Dial: Revenge" couldn't be further from "rock action," but they display the album's refreshing restraint and immediacy. In particular, "Dial: Revenge" -- so named because "dial" is the Welsh word for "revenge" -- benefits from Rhys' emotive yet cryptic vocals in his mother tongue, but the general emphasis on vocals adds to the album's organic, emotive feel. Nowhere is this more evident than the nine-minute epic "2 Rights Make One Wrong": With its lush layers of brass, strings, banjo, guitars, and vocals, it sounds like the rock-oriented cousin of Jim O'Rourke's pocket symphonies. Meanwhile, "You Don't Know Jesus" uses its eight-minute length to reaffirm that the group is still at the top of its game when it comes to guitar-driven catharsis. "Secret Pint" sends the album out on a serene note, proving that in the proper hands, the quietest ballad is just as commanding as the loudest rock action; Rock Action shows that Mogwai have mastered both styles. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 26, 2004 | Chemikal Underground

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Rock - Released October 29, 2006 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

Mogwai's Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait doesn't have much in the way of catchy melodies, and its tracks tend to blend into each other -- but these are precisely the reasons why this score is so effective. Droning, hypnotic, but subtly tense, this album is about crafting and sustaining a mood, even more so than the band's collaboration with Clint Mansell on the music for The Fountain. It's understandable why fans expecting another Young Team or even Mr. Beast might find Zidane too monochromatic: on tracks such as "Black Spider," Mogwai shift their famously wide-ranging dynamics into neutral, concentrating on the band's shimmering, introspective side; it's only toward the end of the over 20-minute hidden track tacked onto "Black Spider 2" that Mogwai approach heavier territory. Meanwhile, the moody piano and guitar themes repeat on "Half Time" and "Time and a Half," giving the score a unity that could seem monotonous separated from the film's context. However, while most of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait is the musical equivalent of a faint but still distinct shadow, several tracks are standouts, albeit subtle ones. "Wake Up and Go Berserk" -- which follows in the footsteps of other ironically named Mogwai works like Rock Action and Happy Songs for Happy People -- is a thing of bleak beauty, mingling vapor-trail electric guitar textures with looping acoustic guitar melodies. Likewise, "7:25" and "I Do Have Weapons" are also sublimely poignant, without ever feeling like they're pandering. It's easy and true enough to say that this album will appeal mostly to Mogwai diehards, but it's such a quietly accomplished musical portrait of one of soccer's most complex and controversial personalities that Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait could very well add some soundtrack buffs and sports aficionados to the band's ranks of fans. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 31, 2018 | Temporary Residence Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 25, 2013 | Rock Action Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 21, 2014 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 20, 2008 | Rock Action Records

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Ten Rapid compiles the bulk of the singles Mogwai released between 1995 and 1997, but the tone of the music is so consistent, it could have all come from the same session. Like a post-rock band, Mogwai is about subtle, shifting sonics and repetition, but they are hardly as precious or cerebral as any post-rock group. Each of their songs sounds as if it goes around in a circle, surrounding itself in interlocking, mathematical patterns. While there are waves of feedback washing over the album, the music itself sounds like it's in the distance. Their habit of burying vocals (which aren't featured that often in the first place) also keeps Mogwai from reach, and nothing on Ten Rapid is immediately engaging, even though it is intriguing. With repeated listens, the album reveals its hidden layers, and the music becomes hypnotic in its gradual, deliberate pace and interwoven guitars. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 15, 2011 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2012 | Rock Action Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 21, 2005 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2002 | Chemikal Underground

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 29, 2020 | Temporary Residence Ltd.

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 17, 2012 | Rock Action Records

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