Mogwai – Zidane Soundtrack

mi0000743290

I was in Cambridge for a few days in 2013 and popped into a record store just to have a little look around. It was encouraging to see that they had a fair few albums available and I was flicking through a bargain box beneath the main racks, finding nothing particularly interesting, until I came to the soundtrack to the film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, by Mogwai. I had seen quite a lot of the film, though not sat down and watched it all of the way through, and didn’t realise that it was Mogwai who had provided the soundtrack until this moment. Naturally, I bought it.

Tracklist
A1 Black Spider 5:04
A2 Terrific Speech 2 4:08
A3 Wake Up And Go Berserk 4:45
B4 Terrific Speech 4:47
B5 7:25 5:13
B6 Half Time 6:49
C7 I Do Have Weapons 4:16
C8 Time And A Half 5:56
C9 It Would Have Happened Anyway 2:34
C10 Black Spider 2 4:12
D11 Untitled
D12 Untitled

I read afterwards that there were a number of long term Mogwai fans that didn’t think much of this release, but it isn’t just a normal release, it has been specifically written to accompany the film but, to my mind, this does not detract from the music, quite the opposite in fact.

The music has an eerie tranquility and, when accompanied by the visuals, does a wonderful job, although I suspect that you have to have an appreciation for football to enjoy the film, regardless of who did the music.

The film is a documentary focused on Zinedine Zidane during the Spanish Liga Real Madrid vs. Villarreal CF game on April 23, 2005 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and was filmed in real time using 17 synchronized cameras. During the last minutes of the match, Zidane was sent off as a result of a brawl, well done Zidane.

Mogwai provided the soundtrack to the film, at the request of Douglas Gordon. After seeing some footage of the film with a remix of “Mogwai Fear Satan” playing in the background, they agreed to do it.

Here is a clip from the film accompanied by the Mogwai track 7:25 (I think)

Mogwai played the soundtrack live over the film at one point, as they did for ‘Atomic’, at Coventry Cathedral, which I desperately wanted to go to but I was away on that day, a major disappointment as what I was away doing was 96% less interesting than seeing Mogwai.

Anita-Russo_Mogwai_Zidane-0

The opening track, ‘Black Spider’, is probably my favourite, based on the number of times I’ve played it, and it’s below if you wopuld care to have a listen. This album is probably not ideal as an ‘Introduction to Mogwai’ as it is composed for a very specific purpose, but if you like and know Mogwai already then for me it’s a must have.

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 33)

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 30)

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 26)

  1. Boards of Canada – Reach for the Dead (from Tomorrow’s Harvest)
  2. RUN DUST “SO FAR”
  3. Gajek – Curved Engines pt. 04 (Plaid Remix)
  4. Gala Drop – You And I
  5. MONDKOPF – Cause & Cure (OFFICIAL)
  6. Massive Attack, Azekel – Ritual Spirit
  7. Solomon Grey – Choir To The Wild
  8. Mark Pritchard – Beautiful People (Official Video) ft. Thom Yorke
  9. björk: lionsong
  10. Max Richter – Richter: Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works / Mrs Dalloway, In The Garden
  11. Mogwai – Killing All The Flies
  12. MONO – Dream Odyssey
  13. Spiritualized-Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space
  14. Akira Kosemura – You
  15. Four Tet – My Angel Rocks Back and Forth
  16. Lamb – Gorecki

Albums Of The Year – 2016

I really never do this sort of thing, at least not that I remember, but I thought I would for once. The list is only based on what I’ve heard so there are quite probably some amazing albums out there but as I haven’t listened to them I can’t include them. I’d be quite happy to be pointed towards anything that is a ‘Must Listen’ from this year though. Oh, and there may be some debate around which year some of these were actually released, but they are near enough.

I really can’t rank them so they are alphabetical by artist.

1
Arca – Mutant
Writing for Exclaim!, Daryl Keating said Mutant“is an album that is eventually rewarding, but only to those who are determined to follow its scattered pathway to the satisfying, aggregate end.”

beone.jpg
Be – One
ONE is the soundtrack to artist Wolfgang Buttress’ multiple award winning UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo – an installation that highlighted the plight of the honeybee, focusing on the importance of pollination. The music on the record is a constantly changing and evolving symphony – the sound of a dialogue between bee and human.

2
Björk ‎– Vulnicura Live
A live version of Björk’s highly-acclaimed, Grammy nominated, eighth studio album, ‘Vulnicura‘. I was unsure of it at first, but grew to love it, the original, and the Strings version.

3
Carl Matthews – Mirage – Tape – Years
Sent to me as part of my subscription to ‘That Special Record’, information was sparse, to the point that I had to create the Discogs entry for it myself. As I wrote after first listening to it : I played the album as soon as I arrived home with it, and my expectations were entirely wrong, it is absolutely brilliant and having listened twice now I cannot fathom why this isn’t massive, I like it that much. Imagine for a moment that Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream were asked to get together and produce a soundtrack to a movie of a Philip K. Dick novel whose main theme is how our increasing reliance on technology is eroding our humanity. That, to me, is this album. It has the sweeping vistas of Tangerine Dream but also the intricacies of Kraftwerk and the repetitiveness of both (Note to reader: I love repetitiveness).

4
David Bowie ‎– ★ (Blackstar)
My first press vinyl copy is mint, still in the wrapper, I can’t bring myself to open it, though I have listened to it on other formats a lot this year. Losing Bowie was a shock, but the songs on this album somehow help to deal with that loss. I have found myself liking his later work much more than the earlier albums perhaps because they are not as familiar, but since ‘Earthling’ I really loved what he was doing.

5
De LA Soul – And The Anonymous Nobody
I had the chance to see them, I did, at the Assembly in Leamington Spa, a small venue, but I couldn’t go on that day, then this came out and by god I regret not going. In my head it was going to be all ‘Me, Myself & I’ but this is another thing altogether. Why it isn’t appearing in everybodys 2016 list is a mystery to me.

6
Eluvium – False Readings On
A worj of stunning beauty. Do you ever not play albums too much because you don’t want to get so familiar with it that it stops making you feel the way you did when you first heard it? I do, with this album. I’ve heard it a dozen times since I bought it but could easily have listened to it much more than that, but I ration it, because it makes me e

7
Explosions In The Sky ‎– The Wilderness
‘The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place’ is one of my faviourite albums, and I’ve liked almost all the output of Explosions In The Sky, which makes me somewhat biased as I know this album did not get rave reviews from all quarters, though it duid get an 80 at Metacritic, which is pretty good. I have the Deluxe edition, red vinyl, transparent vinyl with one side etched, fold out cover and poster, it’s a lovely thing and the music is brilliant.

8
FP-Oner – 6
Another from ‘That Special Record’, one that I really wasn’t sure about at first but over time I have certainly grown to love it and not that much time either. I often wonder how profesional critics can make a judgement so quickly on some records, as there are many that a couple of plays is not enough to make an accurate judgement. In case you are wondering the genre is Deep House, though I don’t really know what that is.

910
Future Sound Of London – Environments Six & 6.5
Technically two albums, but released at the same time and I have the rest of the series that are availablae on vinyl (annoyingly, one of them isn’t). I have loved FSOL since Elizabeth Frasier sanf on the Lifeforms 12″, they create music that always interests me in some way. It’s full of textures and odditiues and it just somehow works, it so often fits right in with what I want to listen to.

11
Ian William Craig – Centres
Pitchfork said: Ian William Craig’s Centres is a swirling and alchemical blend of drone, keyboards, and manipulated vocals. The more time you spend with it, the further you will want to get lost in it. – I agree

13
Ital Tek — Hollowed
There’s a cohesiveness here hard to miss, an emotionally-charged aura and elegantly precise feel that runs from Hollowed’s surging opening notes to its final, poignant fade. –  Somebody else wrote that, but I agree. I’ve only recently been listening to this but even so, its good enough to go straight into my albums of the year.

55
Jherek Bischoff ‎– Cistern
This is Neo-Classical, again, no idea exactly what that means but I saw it in store and picked it up without having heard a single note. Well, limited edition of 500 on Gold Vinyl with a die cut inner sleeve is quite the bait for me. I looked it up – Neoclassicism in music was a twentieth-century trend, particularly current in the period between the two World Wars, in which composers sought to return to aesthetic precepts associated with the broadly defined concept of “classicism”, namely order, balance, clarity, economy, and emotional restraint.  I don’t think it matters to be honest, I like it, that’s what matters.

1415
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein ‎– Stranger Things – Volume One & Two
I don’t think I’ve made any secret of my love for ‘Stranger Things’ and it was an easy step to move from watching the TV series to picking up the soundtracks, which are so evocative of the time the show is set, recalling Tangerine Dream in particular but alos John Carpenter and others.

16
Mark Pritchard – Under the Sun
I don’t have this album on vinyl, I do have the 12″ that Thom Yorke sings on though and I’ve streamed this album a lot. The music is  deeply atmospheric and richly impressionistic. It includes vocal performances from the aforementioned Thom Yorke as well as Linda Perhacs, Bibio,

17
Mogwai ‎– Atomic
This is technically a soundtrack, made up of reworked music from contributions to the BBC 4 documentary Storyville – Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise, which was a chronological history of nuclear disaster from Hiroshima onward. it is music of life and death, hope and fear, war and peace, atomic and organic. Stand out track for me is the opener, Ether, but I do love Mogwai and there’s little of theirs, if anything, that I dislike.

20
Nicolas Jaar – Sirens
Housed in a ridiculous scratch card cover, complete with 5 cent piece, this is the seond of Jaars albums I’ve really liked (The other being ‘Space Is Only Noise’). I say ridiculous only becasue it is almost guaranteed to be ruined, which is how I look t it, just by the coin moving about inside the plastic sleeve, perhaps that’s the point.The music is electronic, both odd and familiar at the same time, and has a political message running through it.

21
Poliça ‎– United Crushers
This is not considered to be their best effort by many reviewers, and it is overtly political, but I liked it a lot. It has tunes, catchy ones despite the sometimes awkward/difficult subject matter, and plenty of hooks. Sometimes I just want to listen to songs and this gives me that.

23
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
It’s Radiohead, it’s brilliant, I love it.

25
Roger Goula – Overview Effect
The ‘overview effect\ of the album title is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface, referring to the experience of seeing the reality of the Earth in space. There before them is this tiny planet, filled with life that is only protected by a fragile and thin atmosphere. When viewed from space there are no national boundaries, no politics, no conflicts, there is just this “pale blue dot” that gives us life and we must do everything we can to protect it. This album is a beautiful creation.

29
Saåad ‎– Verdaillon
Another from ‘That Special Record’, upon listening to this I wrote the following: through my own imagination or by design, I am transported to catacombs, to a room in the back of a church where there is water being scooped from a font, to the end of a service where a full house lays their bibles down on the pews in unison. Workmen repair something broken in an out of the way apse, monks, hoods up with faces hidden in shadow chant as an old but magnificent church organ sustains long chord changes. And then there is the ambience. It sounds almost ridiculous to me as I write it but much of this music is constructed around a church organ, an instrument I never thought would dominate any album I would ever own, but the sound of it, in it’s original setting with giant reverberations make it a powerful, dark, brooding thing at times, but at others it invokes all those memories of church services attended as a boy where everything was so very serious, and mysterious, to the child dressed up in his Sunday best and not knowing what was going on, only that it must be very important. At other times the organ is uplifting, spiritual even, bringing light to the dull lives of the listening congregation.

30
SKEPTA – Konnichiwa
An album that takes no prisoners. In his own words: “They tried to steal my vision/This ain’t a culture/This is my religion”. ‘Shutdown’ is brilliant, in fact the whole thing is. I don’t know much abut grime, but I know when I hear something exceptional.

31
Swans ‎– The Glowing Man
This is supposed to be the final album for this iteration of Swans and it is both delicate and diamond hard in equal measure. Swans have in their time drawn from no wave, art-rock, industrial, sludge, drone, folk, and many more while disregarding genre boundaries. It’s a glorious piece of work spread over six sides of vinyl.

33
Tricky Featuring Dj Milo* & Luke Harris ‎– Skilled Mechanics
Here we are with Tricky, who I find it difficult to be objective about having pretty much been into everything he’s ever released, even those albums that were somewhat panned by critics, like Vulnerable which includes covers of The Cure’s “Love Cats” and XTC’s “Dear God.” Both of which I liked. Everything he does is always compared to Maxinquaye, which really was a masterpiece, but we have to look beyond that and this is an album of great tracks.
40
Xiu Xiu ‎– Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks
The 
Angelo Badalamenti score for Twin Peaks is pretty much perfect and this years re-release in damned fine coffee coloured vinyl was a wonderful thing, so this album that covers the whole score by Californian band Xiu Xiu had a lot to live up to, and it does a great job, It’s a different perspective and already well known pieces that, while not exactly breathing new life into the music, offers a different perspective on it. It was released for Record Store Day, and then re-released afterwards, presumably because it sold well. 


Thee majority of albums that appear in all the Best Of 2016 lists that are popping up all over the place about now aren’t here. Metacritic collects most of these lists and combines them into one big list, this is what they have:

Rank Points/Album / Artist
1 87 Blackstar by David Bowie
2 92 Lemonade by Beyoncé
3 87 Blonde by Frank Ocean
4 89 A Seat at the Table by Solange
5 88 A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead
6 90 Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper
7 95 Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
8 75 The Life of Pablo by Kanye West
9 89 We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest
10 87 My Woman by Angel Olsen
11 87 22, A Million by Bon Iver
85 Malibu by Anderson .Paak
13 83 Hopelessness by Anohni
86 Teens of Denial by Car Seat Headrest
15 92 You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen
16 87 Puberty 2 by Mitski
17 73 Anti by Rihanna
79 Post Pop Depression by Iggy Pop
19 75 I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It by The 1975
20 73 Hardwired… To Self-Destruct by Metallica
Hero by Maren Morris

I only have two from the above list, wich i see as a good thing actually. Of those there I’ve listened to ‘Puberty 2’ by Mitsky, didn’t like it much, “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service” by A Tribe Called Quest which I did like but I haven’t listened to it enough, and that’s it. Over the chrismas period I’ll try and listen to the others to see what, if anything, all the fuss is about.

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 22)

Boards of Canada – Reach for the Dead
Oval – Textuell
Future Sound Of London – Lifeforms (Single Version)
Jherek Bischoff – Automatism
Max Richter – Dream 13 (minus even)
Sigur Rós – Svefn-g-englar
Jonsi – Animal Arithmetic
Nosaj Thing – Eclipse/Blue
Explosions In The Sky – Be Comfortable, Creature
MONO – Dream Odyssey
Mew – Making Friends
Thom Yorke – Black Swan
Mogwai – Ether

Les Revenants

There was briefly an American made TV series called ‘The Returned’ the synopsis for which is as follows:

The American adapted series follows residents in a small town whose lives are disrupted when people who have been dead for many years begin reappearing. The series premiered on March 9, 2015, but was cancelled by A&E after one season, on June 15, 2015.

This suggests it wasn’t really very good. I saw a few episodes and it was actually quite watchable, but here’s the problem, it was a remake of a French TV series called ‘Les Revenants’ which is ‘The Returned’ but in French, which in turn was based on a 2004 French film They Came Back (in French titled Les Revenants) directed by Robin Campillo, and the French series was really very good indeed and part of the reason for that was because it didn’t happen in America. It was French, in France, with French people, which is part of what made it interesting for some of us non-French folk. The same thing happened with Forbrydelsen,_DVD‘Forbrydelsen’ (The Killing), it was Danish, set in Denmark with Danish people speaking Danish and the way the characters behaved, each look, each sigh, every little nuance, could not be separated from that. The American version was terrible I thought. It premiered on April 3, 2011 and it’s cancellation was announced in July 2013 but AMC picked it up for a third season after a renegotiation with Fox Television Studios and Netflix. It was again cancelled by AMC in September 2013, but Netflix announced in November 2013 that it had ordered a fourth season consisting of six episodes to conclude the series. The complete fourth season was released on Netflix in all territories on August 1, 2014. While this one did get to the end, the original Danish series was brilliant television and, to be honest, didn’t need a remake. Yes it was subtitled, but that didn’t detract from it at all, it was part of what made it so interesting. Moving it from Copenhagen to Seattle  wasn’t the answer and the U.S. version missed many of the subtleties that made the original so good, not least Sarah Lunds jumpers.

I’ve digressed, but remakes in English are a pet hate of mine, remakes in American English even more so (I have nothing against America by the way, just most of it’s TV executives). Back to Les Revenants, what the U.S series lacked just as much as the very Frenchness of the original was the truly brilliant Soundtrack by Mogwai. Why didn’t the U.S verison use an already existing soundtrack which the composers/performers were quite happy for them to use? I’ve no idea. I do know they gave the job to Nicholas Jaar instead, who I really like, so that was an excellent move, had he done it, for some reason it never happened and now I can’t even find a music credit for it on IMDB or a few other places I’ve looked. As far as I can ascertain from ‘Tune Find‘ it wasn’t scored, they just used songs such as the following:

Welcome Home – RADICAL FACE
Lost In My Mind – THE HEAD AND THE HEART
Elephant’s Bed – DESERT NOISES
Time’s a Headache – MOZES AND THE FIRSTBORN
Better for You – SAID THE WHALE
Canon In D Major – MAINZ CHAMBER ORCHESTRA & GUNTER KEHR

I’m at a loss with these choices. They may very well be wonderful songs, but why use them when the original score was so very good. I have an example, below is a video that somebody has put together using clips from the original French series using the track ‘Special N’ from the soundtrack by Mogwai.

Oh my, to me that is just wonderful, the underwater scene with the animal corpses coupled with that music is mesmerising, or you could have this fine song from the U.S version:

That’s enough moaning from me, put simply, the Mogwai soundtrack works as an album just as well as it does a soundtrack, it’s beautiful, haunting music that I go back to time and time again, it just has an intimate, low-key brilliance that really resonates with me.

Track List:

  1. “Hungry Face”
  2. “Jaguar”
  3. “The Huts”
  4. “Kill Jester”
  5. “This Messiah Needs Watching”
  6. “Whisky Time”
  7. “Special N”
  8. “Relative Hysteria”
  9. “Fridge Magic”
  10. “Portugal”
  11. “Eagle Tax”
  12. “Modern”
  13. “What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?” (cover of a song by Washington Phillips, written by Charles Albert Tindley)
  14. “Wizard Motor”

Here, should you wish to enrich your life, is the whole album:

Mix Tape: Volume 3: Side 1 (There is beauty in everything)

Everybody’s view of what is and isn’t beautiful is different, my own is that there is beauty in everything, it may not always be pleasant, or uplifting, but it can still be beautiful in some way. Most of us just choose not to look for it, and sometimes, that is the right thing to do, but it does not stop it from existing.

Here, in this 3rd mixtape are songs that to me, in some way, are beautiful.

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home
Ludovico Einaudi – Night
Neil Cowley Trio – Lament
Mammal Hands – Mansions Of Millions Of Years
Mew – Comforting Sounds
Sigur Rós – Ára Bátur (at Abbey Road Studios)
Radiohead – No Surprises
Múm – Green Grass Of Tunnel
ANTHONY AND THE JOHNSONS – HOPE THERE’S SOMEONE
Mogwai – Hunted By A Freak
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
Iron and Wine – Naked as We Came
Trespassers William – Vapour Trail
Cocteau Twins – Tishbite

Listen to There is beauty in everything by  Verian on Apple Music.
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/there-is-beauty-in-everything/idpl.ec46776fe3fc46648b7d80c5eaa510e0

Click the link below to listen to there is beauty in everything by Verian Thomas on Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/user/1136278651/playlist/1eb46gRw1WNd799EXhNxJS

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 6)

Mostly instrumental – but AWESOME!

Explosions in the Sky – Last Known Surroundings Official Music Video in HD
MONO – “Follow the Map” Official Video
Hammock – Breathturn (Official Video) {HD 720p}
a silver mt. zion: Stumble then rise on some awkward morning
65DAYSOFSTATIC – Prisms (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
The Album Leaf – There Is a Wind [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
Sigur Rós – Valtari [Official Music Video]
El Ten Eleven – “Yellow Bridges” (Official Video)
This Will Destroy You – Black Dunes (HD – Official Video)
God Is An Astronaut – Reverse World
Collapse Under The Empire – The Great Silence (Post Rock)
Mogwai – Mexican Grand Prix [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
65daysofstatic – Retreat! Retreat!
Explosions in the Sky – Be Comfortable, Creature Official Music Video in HD

What’s in the bag (8)

I love a bit of Mogwai. To some people it’s just noise, but I hear melodies that build and overlap, repeating themes and underlying rhythms that are often rather delicate. It feels to me that this is modern classical music, and that is a good thing. Classed as Post-Rock, wiki has this to say:

“Post-rock is a subgenre of rock music characterized by the influence and use of instruments commonly associated with rock, but using rhythms and “guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures” not traditionally found in rock. Post-rock bands are often without vocals.”

I like that bit in bold. I also like that the titles seem like an afterthought, or perhaps a joke, maybe the joke is that they have a list of awkward or dumb titles and pick them at random, for instance, ‘I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead’, ‘Danphe and the Brain’, or maybe they do mean something. As I write this I’m listening to ‘The Sun Smells Too loud’, great title and an unexpectedly upbeat track.

So I bought two Mogwai, the other one is for another day, feel free to guess which one though (yes, that means both of you that sometimes read this).

IMAG0489

8.8/10