Mellifluent Mondays: Mogwai

September 8, 2008 at 6:55 pm (music, music video)

Finally, huh?

I first heard the not quite gentle progressions of Mogwai when I took a shot at buying their album Come On Die Young merely on the say so of maybe one or two music magazines. I can’t remember if they had compared these boys from Scotland to gy!be or not. They’re quite different bands in any case, and I haven’t regretted my decision at all. CODY opened with Punk Rock::

Ha! This clip revealed to me that this confrontation was on the CBC. Hilarious.

That was a rather gentle introduction. The following track was the intro to their album Mr. Beast and it’s called Auto-Rock. Turn it up if you can and you’re not at work or anything.

Now for the next clip you might want to turn it back down for a live version of the same track. It’s a little, well, you’ll see.

From what I’ve seen, read, and heard, Mogwai is much heavier live and is a force to be felt. Some may find this particular sensory experience appealing. I’m not quite sure if I do.

Here’s my favorite track from CODY called Christmas Steps. Album Version:

Live Version:

And one more incomplete, slightly edgier version of the same song:

I picked up their first album a month or two after I fell in love with them and I ended up making a “mix-tape” of this one song. Here’s the live track Mogwai Fear Satan from the Young Team album.

And one last loud loud one called Helicon 1:

…before I leave you with this relatively soothing outro called 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong:



  1. Amanda said,

    At first “Auto Rock” reminded me of the intro to Death Cab for Cutie’s “I will possess your heart.” Then I realized they don’t sing, at all. I guess I’ve been programmed to see instrumental as either a build up to lyrics or something background. I can see how you’d say they’re heavier live. As to whether I personally would listen to them beyond the sampling you’ve provided, I’m undecided. I think generally speaking if I can’t sing along (even poorly), I tend to rack it up to background noise and usually end up shutting it off.
    There was even a point where I had “Fear Satan” playing when “Helicon 1” started and I didn’t even realize it until I looked down and saw both players going. lol
    To each their own I suppose.

  2. eve said,

    I’ve always loved mogwai it in the background (reading, writing) But then I love Godspeed You Back Emperor in the background too, and that’s pretty intense. lol

  3. Amanda said,

    lol Which is why you’re the perfect match for Mark! πŸ˜‰

  4. eve said,

    LOL πŸ™‚

  5. truth9 said,

    Yeah, I have the same issue with purely instrumental music that Amanda does.

    I keep waiting for them to get on with the song, but they never do.

    I would say that the desire for lyrics stems from one or both of the following.

    First, I may need a narrative (as presented in the lyrics) to fully appreciate a song as something other than well defined noise.

    Alternatively (or possibly “In addition”), I feel that I need lyrics to feel connected to the music. As a non-musician, I can only appreciate instrumental tracks for the artist’s talent, but I find that I make little connection with the music, emotionally or otherwise, without something that I can make a part of me. The music alone does not stay with me, so I don’t find myself humming tunes. Rather, I am a person who gets small phrases or whole choruses that bounce around my head-space.

    Thus, like GyBE, I feel a disconnect with Mogwai and it just reduces itself to an extended buzzing after a few moments. My head goes elsewhere and the music might as well not exist.

  6. eve said,

    Perhaps this is a matter of taste, and I can appreciate that. However, identifying non-lyrical music as being “well defined notes” is for me a little hard to understand. I am by no means a musician, but i can get connect to a great variety of genres of music (classical to hip hope -although I’ve connected most with Classical) . My appreciation of Hip Hop depends mostly on the lyrics and classical does not whatsoever. I guess I’m having a hard time to fully understand what makes lyrics the unifying element between the sound of music and the listener. I would agree that a one of the key elements of a good lyrical song is the marriage between words and sounds/music. But, If the lyrics are spoken without the music, it becomes a text or a poem. If the music stands alone, it is still music. I just think there’s a lot of different instrumental music out there to be discovered. I can agree that words are powerful, but i will always have a taste for music that can create a mood or feeling without any words. Why do we listen to music? What do we get out of music? I guess it’s a matter of taste… or is it? Perhaps it’s what we expect to get out of music? All i know is that i love it πŸ™‚

  7. eve said,

    lyrical and non lyrical music (music that i love)

  8. truth9 said,

    Well, in my case, I feel that music without lyrics provides me with nothing that I can take with me. Regardless of how brilliant the instrumental piece, classical, modern, or what have you, I have to be actively listening to it to enjoy it, and even then, I can rarely listen for more than a few minutes before I become bored.

    Of the 1600 songs that I have on my computer, there may be as many as 10 instrumental tracks, and I know that I skip most of those, most of the time.

    As you say, the lyrics spoken become a text or poem, the music is exclusively music. As I have no head for music, I cannot take music with me. Lyrics, once learned, can go anywhere with me. Usually, it is the marriage of the text and music that creates that special something that actually connects with me, but music alone can only rarely have any influence on me past the song’s end.

    And if that piece of instrumental music is lengthy, I rarely have patience to stay with it for more than a few minutes.

    This lyrical/instrumental divide explains why I can easily listen to The Velvet Underground’s 17 minute “Sister Ray,” but almost always skip Massive Attack’s 5 minute “Weather Storm” after the first few moments.

    I have never honestly analyzed why I listen to music, though I suspect that entertainment is a key factor. There are times when certain music serves as an emotional release, and I choose it for that reason, but ultimately, music is whatever I am in the mood for.

    That said, if I am listening to music, it exists in one of two situations, a) listening to music with intention, or b) listening to music as background sound. In the former of these cases, I will almost always listen to music that I am familiar with, that I already have a connection with. In the latter case, I do not need the music to be something with which I connect, but if it is not, there must be something particularly interesting to move a song beyond a mere background sound. In addition, the latter case only exists for brief periods, while I travel or what have you.

    I often suggest that I do not, in fact, love music. It is often very difficult for me to find new music that I like, and even in the cases where I find new music that I can enjoy, rarely do I enjoy that artist’s overall output.

    I know that the music that I ostensibly enjoy is usually uptempo, but beyond that I have yet to find a common link between the songs I enjoy.

    Further, while I state that I have 1600 songs on my computer, I could probably delete three quarters of those and barely miss them. Of the 400 that would remain, I would likely still only listen to 50 of them with any regularity.

    None of those would be instrumentals.

  9. eve said,

    Ok. I completely understand the matter of taste. Music is not the same for everyone I understand/ for me, i could listen to music to almost everything. i love to dance, listen to music when I cook, read, talk, a have dinner, in a car, getting ready, walking working…even jamming (if i feel adventurous enough πŸ™‚ ). Music has a big place in my life, always has and always will.
    Fair enough.

    However, because I love music and its wondrous world so much, I would always encourage a friend to go and explore. I mean, what I was saying in the last post, is that there’s so much out there in terms of music that to term all of instrumental music boring is limiting to anyone. However, if this is not a dying interest of yours, I can understand why the prospect of exploring music might not be very motivating. As you explained, you like the songs you listen to often, and you seldom like new music.

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