April 21, 2008 at 12:11 pm (band review) (, )


So, in celebration of the fact that I am to see Mogwai for the third time next month (they are playing, oh yes, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, on Londons South Bank – ) Tragically, I only managed to see them after they started playing a lot more quietly than when they started (i saw them in march 2006 at the Birstol academy – however, after seeing merzbow last night, maybe my hearing will thank me).  Yep, in the last few years, Mogwai have become more melodic, more thoughtful than anyone could even begin to imagine… surprisingly really considering the fact that Mr Beast, their last studio album, was a return to a more rockier approach than their previous two (Rock Action & Happy Songs for Happy People, their hilariously ironically titled album) though around the same time they released the soundtrack to the Zidane movie (Zidane: 21st century portrait), which almost acted as a companion piece to Mr Beast, like the post half of post rock.

It would be fair to say that Mogwai were one of the elder statesmen of the “post-rock” scene nowadays.   I was first aware of them in the mid 90’s when I read an article about them in select magazine…. though pretty much all I can remember is that they were wearing Kappa branded clothing, because they were sponsered by them.  Now, I was fairly unadventurous back in the day, and rather than checking them out, probably just bought another Oasis album instead (oh, what was I thinking!  Its not like they were the biggest band ever at the time or anything.  And im certainly not cool enough to listen to Mogwai now, let alone when i was 15).

However, their Slint (and Steve Reich) influenced tunes soon came to me (via the edmund fitzgerald) and so learnt to love them.  They do have quite a daunting back catalogue, 5 studio albums, 4 compilations, 2 soundtracks, eps… where on earth are you supposed to start?  Well, 10 rapid is a compilation of early singles, and while it is very good, I wouldnt say that it was very representative of Mogwais sound in general.  Young Team is certainly a tour de force of a debut, punching way above its weight (it was highly critically praised when it came out) and features Like Herod and Mogwai Fear Satan.   I also really like Summer…..

Come on Die Young (or CODY as people confusingly call it on the internet) was next, and no one liked it (this could be a lie) However, it was the first album that i heard by them and i was not blown away.   It does contain Christmas Steps, which is fantastic, and also a track called Kappa.  Ah….marketing 🙂  I do like it, but maybe not a great place to start.

Then, Rock Action & Happy Songs for Happy People, my two favourite Mogwai albums, which bought a certain amount of restraint to the mogwai sound.  Im not saying that their rock out bits arent great, but the lushness of these two albums is just too overpowering.  Its like a 90’s my bloody valentine.  I enjoy the quiet drone, the restrained noise that is fighting to get out.

Which is what Mr Beast does.  Starting with Auto rock, which does resemble the last two albums, you know you are in for a ride when Glasgow Mega Snake comes in.  ROCK!  You could say that Mr Beast succesfully combines their previous sounds, and i do like it a lot, but return more often to their previous two.

(and if you want some really riff tastic action, get the My Father My King EP.  20 minutes of riff basically.  and accidently???? just too long to be chart eligable. hmmmmm)

I also really like EP+6, which is a collection of eps from around the time of the first two albums, that is more of the more relaxed sound, but at the same time brings in loudness to the equation.  Its also great because it is really long, which minimises getting up to change cd effort.  sweet. (unofficial)


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Growing (non) Pains

April 9, 2008 at 5:44 pm (Reviews) (, , )

Ah, so, Growing have a new EP out, this time on The Social Registry ( )  having previously released a couple of albums on the mighty Kranky.  I have no idea why they didnt stay with them, but hopefully it was their decision, and not just a dumb move by the boys at Kranky, because as this EP shows, they still have plenty of creative juices that need expurging all over the drone scene.  After the His Return EP that came out a while ago, Growing come back, however, this time it isnt all loud aural soundscapes and what have you (their first album ky runs into the sea, lulls you into a sense of security before you realise that, actually, its REALLY FUCKING LOUD).  This time, stuff actually happens in their songs!  OMG!  While i realise this might actually be seen as slightly not really being drone (i mean, look at Sunn o))) for a band that stick with what they are good at) it does mean that you have to listen to it, rather than sitting back and letting it wash over you (though, feel free to do that if you wish).  And yes!  They have vocals!  And everything!  Well, apart from drums.  Or bass.  Or anything like that,   but there are vocals for sure!

So they come in more obvious waves of sound this time.  You have peaks and troughs, taking you on some kind of boat journey of blissfull guitar sound (there are sounds on the last track that almost sound like seagulls) (go figure).   Its almost a suprise everytime you hear a riff, because you are so used to prolonged guitar feedback from their previous releases.  But this is only a good thing, as how many times can you realese albums like that before you run out of FX pedals for your guitar to make it sound new and exciting?  We all know what happened to kevin shields now, dont we!

A lot of the other reviews i found while googling for the image all talked about ambience, but i feel that they have moved slightly away from this tag, and making something a bit more adventurous, and maybe making something a bit more epic in the process?

Whatever, I know for a fact that I am going to see them support Boris on tour, and that they are going to be very very good.  See you there?

This album rates higher than another album that i like slighty less

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April 7, 2008 at 5:49 pm (Reviews) (, , , )

Masami Akita A.K.A. Merzbow at Moers Festival 2007

Well, he might not, because he is probably quite a nice man. I dont know, I havent met him. Let me look him up on wikipedia a second (i am actuall doing this, though you wont be able to tell, because the way this works, it will look like i wrote it all in one go. i cant do much about this, except ask that you believe me. PLEASE)

So,  tells me he is 52. to old you say? Well I say NO way daddy o. The king of noise, as i like to call him, could easily take on that other dude, michael jackson, in the fact that he is still producing kick arse music, is relevant, and hasnt had any court proceedings bought against him (guilty or not guilty. as far as i know – which isnt very far i spose)

So, anyway, im listening to this: and it is really rather good. As we all know, noise music is rather niche market. My housemate would say, it isnt really music. but we all know better. Recorded live at the NO FUN FEST (oh, i will go to it one day) in Brooklyn new york, produced as wikipedia tells me by some laptops, this takes your music and breaks it over your mothers face. More dense than some of his previous albums (such as merzbear) and a lot louder (though i might just have my stereo turned up…) the 40 odd minutes mutates and evolves, taking and idea, fucking around with it for a bit, then spitting it out when the flavour has gone. there was a nice bit at about 18 odd mintues, but it soon got dicarded in favour of some more filthy filthy noise. fantastic.

So, it might not have like, rhtyhm, or indeed vocals, but you are not here for that. You are here for a man on a mission, ooooh yeah.

Dig it.

I reward this album square out of circle

Merzbuddha cover

MERZBOW UPDATED – I just got Merzbuddah on Important records, and it is hella good.  The first thing that you notice is it that it has a beat!  A kind of throbbing, loud bass line that could be merzbows heart beat, pushing the energy round the track.  Then you notice that there is a kind of wall of white noise over the top, but you only notice it once it has stopped, when everything suddenly goes very, very quiet.  Its not Merzbows normal, all out sonic assault, but it really is vert good.  It makes up for me being unable to by merzdub (well, for less than 20 english pounds)

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