Mogwai Movie set for August Release
Post rock pioneers Mogwai are set to release 2 disc live album & DVD Special Moves/Burning via Rock Action Records on 23rd August. This film, Burning, is just one of a thousand Mogwai concert films to have ever been made. No, in fact, tens of thousands. How many people have seen the Scots rock band play live since they formed in Glasgow in 1995? That many, anyway. From sci-fi dystopia to kitchen-sink drama, everyone who experiences this band in concert will make a brand new movie in their head every time.
Mogwai create their own instrumental soundtrack to the imagination, and it’s up to us what we do with it. This isn’t a band who tell us what to think, this is a band who show us how much we can feel.
For directors Vincent Moon and Nathanaël Le Scouarnec (REM: Supernatural Superserious; Take-Away Shows), the three night residency they recorded at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg in early 2009 presented itself as a modern urban noir thriller, a black-and-white journey which starts on the same electrifying New York streets Bernard Hermann scored for Martin Scorsese. Manholes hiss steam, taxi headlights flare in the camera lens and strangers wait in street corner shadows.
Behind it all, ‘A Precipice’ rises into life, which is as good a place as any to start. A Mogwai gig can often feel like climbing a mountain, or falling off one: whichever feels more likely to remind you that you’re alive.
In grainy black and white, the show unfolds. The band make their way through a rain-washed Manhattan as ‘I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead’ hovers like a commuter’s MP3 soundtrack in the background; louche New York hipsters congregate before the show as the familiar echoes of ‘Hunted By a Freak’ kick in; the beatific, nodding faces of the crowd inside are contrasted with the going-to-sleep streets outside.
Meanwhile, the finest moments of one of the most individual live bands of our time are perfectly captured in grainy close-up: ‘Like Herod’s wall of noise; the dreamy ‘New Paths to Helicon pt 1’; ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ (speaking of Bernard Hermann, there’s a shock worthy of Psycho in this song); the funereal ‘Scotland’s Shame’; strident finale ‘Batcat’.
Yet this is only half of the package. It also includes Special Moves, an eleven-track (seventeen if you get the vinyl or download versions) live album. For a band who come to such epic, monumental life in the live arena, it might be surprising to some that this is the first official live compilation they’ve ever released.
In the words of Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, “I don’t think we’re a very ‘Greatest Hits’ kind of band, but if we ever did release one, we’ve already decided to call it ‘The Sh*test P*sh’. I think that fact alone means we can never go through with it.” Which means, in other words, that Special Moves is probably the closest we’ll get to a ‘best of’ from them.
Moon and Le Scouarnec call their film an “experience of the senses… a lifetime of feelings in just one night.” You may prefer the quote which opens the band’s debut album Mogwai Young Team and which appears during the film as an intro to Batcat, a recording of a Norwegian fan reading a review of the band: “this music is bigger than words, wider than pictures; if the stars had a sound, they would sound like this.”
Or the words of an excitable young English woman speaking over the closing credits: “it’s like acid, but there’s no comedown.” Yes. It’s exactly like that.
‘Burning’ was filmed by Vincent Moon and Nathanaël Le Scouarnec over 27th-29th April 2009 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. ‘Special Moves’ was recorded by Tomas Marsh and mixed by John Cummings from the same shows.
1. I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead 2. Friend of the Night 3. Hunted By a Freak 4. Mogwai Fear Satan 5. Cody 6. You Don't Know Jesus 7. I Know You Are But What Am I 8. I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School 9. 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong 10. Like Herod 11. Glasgow Megasnake
Extra tracks on ltd extended triple vinyl and CD download
12. Yes! I Am a Long Way From Home 13. Scotland’s Shame 14. New Paths to Helicon Part 1 15. Batcat 16. Thank You Space Expert 17. The Precipice
1. The Precipice 2. I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead 3. Hunted By a Freak 4. Like Herod 5. New Paths to Helicon Part1 6. Mogwai Fear Satan 7. Scotland's Shame 8. Batcat