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Thursday, July 17, 2008 

Bigger than words and wider than pictures

My review of the recent remaster/repackaging of Mogwai's Young Team is up today at PopMatters.

Nice review Ian. You did a good job explaining the differences, something that seems overlooked in most reissue reviews.

I'm still not a Mogwai fan, but that the review made me curious should be testament enough to the writing.

Thank you!

So the question is, sir, how much Mogwai have you heard? If it's only semi-recent stuff, you may or may not want to investigate a little further.

A year or so ago you tried to sell me on "EP+6", which I liked more than other Mogwai but my interest hasn't grown beyond that. The early stuff seems fine, but didn't grab me in any particular way. That later stuff I actively dislike. The email exchange is where I coined "Slint-Hop":

"Once I decided I didn't need to hear all of that first track on the Mogwai EP+6 ("Superheroes of BMX"), I liked the rest. It is definitely better than the other Mogwai stuff I've heard here and there. Though that opener is just ... I don't even know what to say. I'm glad I've never heard anyone else try to do Slint-Hop. Mogwai didn't do anything else like that, did they? They could have called an album of that sound Maxinquaaludes. Brrr."

Ah yes, I DO remember that one... I'm quite glad you reprinted that paragraph here, actually, Maxinquaaludes is an idea that deserves a wider audience than just me.

And I still insist that "Superheroes of BMX" is awesome, but this time I was thinking more along the lines of Come On Die Young, which I sense you might like more than EP+6, but really, you don't exactly owe the band any more chances.

Yes! to that review Ian. I have been listening to the two versions of the album this last week - I am feeling quite sharply focussed as a result I think. Also, I love that you blasted With Portfolio out of your speakers. I did a similar thing once, along a leafy suburb at 3 am, with F#A#. No police for the whole of East Hastings.

Thanks! Man, that's even more impressive with Godspeed, as that song/album is a hell of a lot longer than "With Portfolio," although admittedly we did play it multiple times...

I always hoped it was because nobody found cause to complain and were all sat there in their beds hugging themselves in awe. i was 20 though. so I was allowed to think that.

Also, strangely, and entirely coincidentally I put 'Yes, I am A Long Way From Home' on a mix about travelling for my friend who has been on the move all summer and is hating it. It'll probably be an IMP becasue I'm lazy like that (so full track list there if you're bovvered), but maybe I did it at exactly the same time you must have been writing up your Google blog about it and your review of the new Young Team.

I had to mention it. I'm a sucker for collective consciousness. Sorry.


No, that's cool! I enjoy that thought.

Great review, Ian.

I'm absolutely with you on it not being their finest hour - this may be going against the grain, but I think their albums (as collections of songs) have actually got stronger, culminating in Happy Music For Happy People, even as (broadly speaking) their live performances have got less compelling. But listening to the remastered version might be the shove I need to realise its greatness.

Thumbs up for pointing out that underlying fluidity and groove in 'Mogwai Fear Satan' - at first I really wasn't sure the drums work in the context, but they definitely do.

I was fascinated by 'With Portfolio' when I first heard it, probably largely because it's essentially 'Providence' from Daydream Nation fucked up with lots of really cool effects...

"this is a band that, as Stuart Braithwaite would tell me about Mr. Beast years later, tends to pick song titles because they find it funny when people try to assign meaning to random crap" - you're well aware of the songtitles on the new LP and EP, then? ;)

The "Slint-hop" debate. Like you, I'm a big fan of 'Superheroes Of BMX' and actually think they should have pushed (or should in the future push) the electronic envelope further. 'I Know You Are But What Am I?' is one of my favourites on Happy Music.

Thanks! I have not heard those titles (nor the album or EP), but if they're anything like Mr. Beast...

My thing about Happy Music For Happy People is that my CD copy is essentially unplayable - it's got that awesome copy protection that means I can't play it in my computer, and trying to do so (playing, not ripping or anything) caused it to suffer some sort of meltdown. I think I like the album, but it's been a while since I've heard it, and I'm unwilling to buy it twice!

I actually think they have yet to make a bad album, it's just that they're all good in different enough ways that most fans are going to find some of it unappealing (it took me a long time to come around to Mr. Beast, for example). They're one of my favourite currently active groups though, and partially for that reason.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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