Ten Rapid (1997)
Ten Rapid is one of the more influential record of my lifetime. I remember leaving my school in Burlington, VT in the spring of '97 - I had decided to change my course and switch to graphic design at FIT in NYC. I left a number of friends behind and a radio show that my roomate and I used to do, and a good friend, named Dan, who shared my intense love of experimental music. I was deep in Slint territory at this time, generously lapping up anything that reminded me of that amazing band (namely June of 44) when I returned for a visit to see some friends. Of course I met up with Dan and he was super excited about this new band. He kept raving about this one song with xylophone in it. Needless to say, it was Summer from this album, and while at the time I thought the name Mogwai was funny, I knew he was on to something. I quickly picked up the album upon my return home and it quickly became one of my most favorite albums. The comparisons to Slint are apparent, but they were rocking on some slow-burn shoegazer style mixed with the intensity of Slint. Summer was definitely a rocking track, but I really came to love Helicon 1 and Helicon 2 and also loved A Place for Parks. Ithica 27ø9 also became a quick favorite. I went to go see them at Brownies in the east village shortly thereafter, but was denied entry as I was only 20 and Brownies was 21+. I ended up staying out side watching through the window as they destroyed this little place. I mustve looked desperate to the doorman, but I hoped he would let me in eventually. Well, it was to no avail, but whatever. Thems the brakes. It wasnt a long time after that they released their first proper album, Young Team, and the world was taken aback by the sheer genius of Mogwai. I personally feel they never reached the heights of these first two albums (save one - see below). Of course they have always been good, and they have moments of genius on each of their albums, but it just aint the same.
My Father, My King (2001)
My Father, My King is the final time that Mogwai completely sent me head over heels. Released as a companion to Rock Action, My Father, My King uses the melody from Avinu Malkeinu, a prayer from the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The track time totals over 20 minutes of face melting perfection. The song starts off real slow and quiet, gradually building steam and volume until dropping off again, even quieter than it began. It is around this time that Mogwai completely shakes the heavens right from their measly little stars, ripping a hole in the space time continuum with a visciously Sabbathian riff that just pounds and pummels at the blackness left behind. Around this time I was lucky to be older and to see them play at Southpaws in Brooklyn, and they closed with this piece. They completely destroyed their instruments and practically brought the roof down on us all. Stuart was playing on two guitar strings as they neared the close. He had broken all the strings on his guitar but he was not gonna let that minor detail get in the way. All in all that show was okay, but ending it like that has made it one of the more memorable experiences in my show-going career. I would even recommend this track for fans of Stoner or Doom metal, such is the scope and destructive force of this single.