#17 Mogwai – Helicon Part 1

There is something annoyingly inconsistent about Mogwai, rather like the post-rock scene they inhibit. On the one hand they can furnish unparalleled montages of sound that sees grown men snivel, yet on the other hand they can bleat about for endless minutes in the search for a winning avenue of sound and fall helplessly on their faces. From this point of view ‘Ten Rapid’ remains their high watermark, a series of early recordings without the flab, each piece offering fluid ideas designed to shatter cheap speakers. The Mogwai standard is to play the quiet/loud bits in quick succession often when you least expect your eardrum to be perforated. ‘Helicon Part 1’s trick is that it builds to the crescendo sequentially; the rotund bass forages melodically, while a twinkling guitar saddles up in the foreground. When the avalanche of noise descends there is a clear indication as to what instrument is doing what and you can’t help forgive the band their beards, bare feet and flap caps. The live version of this song on the BBC Government Commissions is equally impressive, appearing a little less controlled and shining a light on the subtleties that were lost in the studio recording. KD

Mogwai – Helicon Part 1

Album: Ten Rapid
Year: 1997

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One Comment

  1. October 17, 2005

    i LOVE mogwai, but, i’d have to say i think young team is their best album. mogwai fear satan may just be one of the greatest songs ever. you can touch those melodies. although, i really like the new less straightforward guitar stuff too… cant do the same thing forever.

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