The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'mogwai'
The Scottish tsunami benefit concert looks pretty good, with Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub and Franz Ferdinand, among others.
I just picked up the new Mogwai album, Happy Songs for Happy People. I was surprised to find an insert in the album stating that the CD comes with a demo version of Cubase SX and the multitrack audio files of the first song on the CD, required to remix it. The Cubase demo is PC-only, so I don't get to see how the damned thing works under OSX, where most of my plug-ins can't go. The separate files are all .wav files, though, so if you don't mind not being able to load the .CPR Cubase SX project, you can still have a go at them. (Btw, Cubase SX files appear to be a RIFF data type; maybe some penguinhead will reverse-engineer them in due time, at least well enough to import them.)
Anyway, it's an interesting experiment; giving songs for the fans to remix like that. I can't see the copyright-crazed majors allowing their chattels to do something like that (i.e., if Radiohead did that, it'd probably come with a special rights-managed remixing program which ran only on your Trusted PC™ and let you give a few play-once low-bitrate Windows Media copies to a handful of friends before self-destructing), but I think it makes sense for indie artists. Mogwai probably have more to benefit from a fan-made remixes of one of their songs floating around the MP3 nets and being played by laptop-glitch DJs from their Ableton Live-equipped iBooks than most artists; much in the way that Björk has to gain from all the bootleg remixes of her songs floating around.
As for the album: haven't heard the whole thing yet, though it sounds good. It seems that the detour into Radical Jewish Thrash Metal that was My Father My King was just that, and the album is a progression from Rock Action; if anything, it's more introverted and subtle, though in a good way. In places they're starting to sound a bit like Sigur Rós, though.
Speaking of Sigur Rós, I also picked up their Sigur 1 - Sigur 9 single, which came with a DVD of videos. The one for Svefn-g-englar is not bad, and quite apt; it basically has people dressed up as angels moving about in slow motion around an Icelandic landscape, under a volcanic cliff and a featureless off-white sky. (The video was a US import, where they are released through MCA/Universal, which is presumably why it's a Region 1-only DVD.)
(Interesting that Mogwai hail from Scotland and Sigur Rós hail from Iceland. I wonder how long until a post-rock band emerges from the Faroe Islands, a point roughly halfway inbetween.)
Oh yes, and there's a new Mogwai album due in a few months. Good thing that they're not on EMI, eh?
The time is nigh upon us for the obligatory "top 10 albums of the year" lists (Graham already has his, for example). I'm not going to post my best CDs of 2002 just yet (for one, I'm still not through with all of this year's releases, and am still awaiting a particular consignment from Twee Kitten); however, I am going to do something related, that is, look at the lists for 2001 I wrote up a year ago, here and here, and see how they hold up a year later; which of my picks of the year have stood the test of time, which have fallen by the wayside, and which discs have emerged subsequently as favourites of that particular year. So please allow me this exercise in self-indulgent omphaloskepsis.
Firstly, the RAN list:
- New Buffalo, About Last Night. I'm still rather fond of this quirky little EP, though haven't listened to it much lately. (Apparently, Sally's off in LA recording an album with EMI/Capitol money. Hopefully they won't turn her into Danielle Spencer or Geri Halliwell or some generic pretty girl singer, though history doesn't give one many reasons to be optimistic.)
- Lush, Ciao! Best Of. Haven't listened to it, but have since then picked up the entire Lush back catalogue, plus some unreleased MP3s. Split and Lovelife still get played every so and so (in fact, I'm listening ti Split right now, and it was one of the discs I burned to CD-R and took to London with me.) As such, Ciao! has done its work admirably.
- Radiohead, Amnesiac. Still gets played every now and then; though of the Radiohead back-catalogue, OK Computer gets the most play around here.
- Spearmint, A Different Lifetime. Since last year, I've picked up their previous 3 discs as well. A Different Lifetime and its more baggy-oriented predecessor A Week Away would be my favourites.
- Black Box Recorder, Worst Of. Gleefully sardonic, and some of their best work (funny how B-sides sometimes tend to be that way).
- Prop, Small Craft Rough Sea. This CD still rocks. Groovy, cooler than cool and yet with powerful momentum.
- Radiohead, I Might Be Wrong Live Recordings. Haven't listened to this much over the past six months or so, though I prefer the version of Like Spinning Plates to the Amnesiac one.
(Of the honourable mentions, I've listened to the Angels of the Universe soundtrack and the Sealifepark album since. The Zero 7 album sort of got shelved, as I really only liked one track of it. Jan Jelinek's Loop Finding Jazz Records suffered a similar fate, having failed to hold my interest with its ultimately less than satisfying combination of deep-house-like rhythms and chords and Max/MSP laptop glitchery; and TISM's De Rigeurmortis lasted about one and a half listens. Oh, and as for the Field Mice best-of, that's still one of my favourites and is usually not far from the CD player.)
And now for the unsung favourites; the CDs that didn't make the list, but ended up redeeming themselves after further listening:
- A Silver Mt. Zion, He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms. Bleak, desolate, existentially despondent, and beautiful.
- Models, Melbourne: Their early tracks. The whole thing didn't grab me, but Party Girls and Atlantic Romantic are pretty cool.
- Mogwai, My Father My King: a 20-or-so minute wall of intense, immersive noise. Put it on, turn it up, and feel it engulf you. It's all good.
- Vivian Girls, The, The Vivian Girls: like a slice of dimly-lit early-80s post-punk claustrophobia; it's great, especially Black Chair In A Black Room. (To be fair, it probably slipped the list because it was released in 2000, but I think it still rates a mention.)
So there it is. Watch this space for the best of 2002.
Another review of last week's Mogwai gig. That quiet flute bit certainly did lull one into a false sense of security.
They played at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda; the last time I set foot at this venue was to see FourPlay, and back then the PA was appalling. Though this time, the problem had apparently been fixed; either that, or with all the amps Mogwai had on stage, the Prince's PA was irrelevant. Either could equally be the case.
First up were a Sydney band named Decoder Ring. Somewhat Tortoise-ish, or perhaps like Prop with guitars instead of chromatic percussion. They were OK; quite agreeable in places, though they didn't excite me all that much.
Then Mogwai came on, picked up their instruments and made a lot of noise. Two basses, 3 guitars, a Rhodes piano, a flute, a sampler, a Titanium PowerBook and a lot of amplifiers, pedals and miscellaneous kit. They started with You Don't Know Jesus, then went into Mogwai Fear Satan, with the quiet flute bit suddenly going into a tidal wave of distorted guitar. They also played Helicon 1, making some quite lovely shoegazer textures, and then went into 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong, with vocoded vocals and a processed drum loop of some sort (though no banjo). For the encore they did Secret Pint (which I thought was one of the less interesting parts of Rock Action, though they fleshed it out a bit with the Rhodes), and then into an intense, headbanging version of the Jewish hymn My Father My King, rocking for a good 10-20 minutes and culminating with the bald guy tearing most of the strings out of his guitar, and leaving it to feedback, turning his attention to cranking all the amps up to 11 and doing things with pedals, treating the audience to several minutes of fucked-up noise. It goes without saying that they totally rocked.
This week's street press has some interesting articles; InPress has interviews with members of Saint Etienne (who say their new album Finisterre is a concept album about London, and that they have a set of short films that goes with it), Mogwai (who once printed T-shirts reading "BLUR ARE SHITE", and then found out that Japanese and US fans tend to be people who are into all British indie/alternative music as a genre), and Ninetynine, talking about the odd varieties of bands they've been booked to play with on their various tours (i.e., in Europe they have played with hardcore/metal bands a lot, not because they're metal as fuck but because of the pop bands all being signed to labels and them being independent). And there's another Ninetynine interview in Beat as well, which makes a Krautrock comparison; hmmm...
(I've noticed the Mogwai thing, about non-British UK-indie fans clustering into "Anglophile" subcultures, as well. Take for example Steve Wide's show on 3RRR, which plays everything from Oasis/Radiohead-wannabe bands to pill-popping dance grooves to French/Icelandic bands liked by UK-pop fans; or a UK-indie list I lurked on once which was mostly wannabe-Mods exchanging trainspotter-like lists of classic swingin'-60s movies and talking about their scooters. Or cliques of US-based "Anglophile" kids exchanging in-jokes on band-related mailing lists.)
Via The Fix, a big list of links to MP3s of tracks played on the John Peel show, from artists including Mogwai, Hefner, Set Fire To Flames, Trembling Blue Stars, Solex, King of Woolworths, Kid 606, Low, The Aislers Set and more. They're not MP3s of the actual Peel sessions, but of original recordings, as released by the artists or their labels.
Yes! Mogwai are playing in Melbourne on the 17th of October. It's at the Prince of Wales, though; I just hope that the PA there isn't as abysmal as it was when FourPlay last played (I was right in front of the stage and the chatter of the people in the room drowned out the band).
Apparently Glaswegian post-rockers Mogwai are coming to Melbourne in October. They're playing a set at alternateen rock fest Livid. I wonder if they're doing a solo gig as well; I don't really fancy paying some huge sum of money to see a short set by them and get a bunch of extreme-sports demos and skate-metal shows as a bonus.