It’s safe to say that 2014 has been a somewhat busy year for Mogwai, and after opening the year with the release of the full-length studio album ‘Rave Tapes’ back in January, they now close off the year with the release of a new E.P.
‘Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1.’ opens with three new tracks. The first of which, ‘Teenage Exorcists’, a short and catchy vocal track, blasts into the foray rather quickly and offers up probably the clearest vocal offering that Mogwai have ever given us, and definitely a different feel to anything that they have released in the past. This being said however, at the base of it there is still a feel of Mogwai retained in ‘Teenage Exorcists’, as the airy vocals skim over the top of an instrumental line that could easily stand alone in a longer more traditional Mogwai tune. ‘History Day’ follows and is a much calmer offering that returns us to a more familiar Mogwai feel, the piece plays with a foundation line of piano and synth that solemnly carries us through beautifully and poignantly as guitars meander around above. At the halfway mark an intermission of piano sits alone before everything comes back with a noisier but still held back and refrained tone that plays out the rest of the song. ‘HMP Shaun William Ryder’ is the last of the new songs on the E.P., it retains the calmer mood of ‘History Day’ to begin with, but there is a nervous intensity and a feeling of something needing to break out throughout, as the song reaches the 2 minute mark, some of this pressure starts to be released as the slow and intense climb continues, with more instruments coming into the mix the sound starts to whip up into a frenzy. For a brief time it feels like the song is over and twiddling itself out beautifully, but then, like Mogwai of old, everything comes back in an instant in a magnificently noisy cacophony that I only wish would stay around for longer, rather than fading out.
RELEASE DATE: 01 December 2014 LABEL: Rock Action Records
The second part of the E.P. has three remixes of songs from ‘Rave Tapes’. Mogwai aren’t strangers to having their songs remixed, and the addition of the remixes don’t feel like they are simply filler, as each of the remixes feel fresh and interesting and rather than being simple remixes with a synth line placed on top or a breakbeat drum beat being put underneath, they are complete re-works that change the feel and mood of the originals completely.
The first of the three remixes comes from Blanck Mass, the solo alias of Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power, and is a complete re-think of ‘Remurdered’ titled ‘Re-Remurdered’. Funky and choppy drums work around with bass heavy synth lines to back what had been the thin, melodic lead line and main motif of ‘Remurdered’, but in the hands of Blanck Mass they have been translated to become a beefier, sturdy line that blends and pulsates in and out of the rest the components of the song. ‘No Medicine For Regret’ is the next song to have had a makeover by Pye Corner Audio who supported Mogwai on the back end of their European tour. The remix opens with a off-kilter, wobbly and misty rendition of the original, keeping to the calm roots of the song in many respects, before an ambient acid house feel washes over everything. The final remix comes courtesy of German producer, Nils Frahn who has put his mark on ‘The Lord is out of Control’, with a beautiful and emotive sparse piano piece that at several points launches into a formidably harsh composition that provides a very shaking back and forth of quiet and loud, delicate and brutal.
All in all the E.P. presents an interesting vibe of reminiscence, obviously this could be said about the three remixes, but the new tracks at the start of the E.P. present a sort of retrospective examination of the last 3 years of Mogwai’s discography. Each of the tracks have a feel that they could have been on the track list of one of the past studio albums, with ‘Teenage Exorcists’ having the synthy, more electronica feel of ‘Rave Tapes’, ‘History Day’ sharing the eerie mood of many of the songs on 2013’s ‘Les Revenants’ and the final new track, ‘HMP Shaun William Ryder’, presenting the heavier and tense feel of 2011’s ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’. This may not have been an intentional journey from Mogwai, but it does feel this way for me, and the E.P. is lifted because of it.