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  • Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003 [VINYL]
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Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003 [VINYL]

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Not everyone gets Mogwai, but that’s what makes them great. Theirs is a majestic, powerful sound where barely a word is spoken yet it is the antithesis of background music. Album and song titles bemuse, confuse and delight in equal measure and live, they are utterly unstoppable.

Rave Tapes is the eighth studio album by Mogwai and their second on Rock Action, the label they set up ... Read more in Amazon's Mogwai Store

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Product details

1. Hunted By A Freak
2. R U Still In 2 It
3. New Paths To Helicon Pt II
4. Kappa
5. Cody
6. Like Herod
7. Secret Pint
8. Superheroes Of Bmx
9. New Paths To Helicon Pt I
10. Stop Coming To My House

Product Description

A collection of tracks culled from BBC radio sessions recorded throughout Mogwai's career, Government Commissions is as close as these foundation-shaking Scottish instrumental rockers have got so far to a Greatest Hits collection. Rather than running riot through their back catalogue, however, it's clear that this retrospective has been sequenced to write a specific history. Opening with the avuncular voice of John Peel, who introduces the lilting tones of "Hunted By A Freak" performed live at London's Maida Vale, it's quickly clear we're in mellow Mogwai territory: just as Barry Burns' effects-laden vocals drift, phantom-like, within a shimmering curtain of effects, these tracks – some recorded seven years apart--segue so neatly into one another you can barely spot the join, a testament to the neat homogeneity of the BBC engineers' production job. There is, of course, room for one exception, and that's set aside for an 18-minute take on "Like Herod" that towers in the middle of the album like a dormant volcano, quietly belching smoke between periodic eruptions of towering, mangled feedback. --Louis Pattison

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A collection of great sessions. 24 Feb. 2005
By Pete - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The volume and energy of these recordings cannot compete with witnessing a live Mogwai show, but these recordings are still filled with the same passionate playing that one can expect from them. There are subtle differences within each song that set them apart from their album versions.

The tracklisting was very well chosen; the recording quality and production values are outstanding. Standout tracks include "Hunted by A Freak", "Like Herod", and "New Paths to Helicon Pt. 1".

All in all, a very good listen.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Perfect 5 May 2005
By patrick - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Mogwai simply never sounded this good on a regular LP.

"Hunted by a Freak" and "Stop Coming to my House" sound about 10 times better on this. "Superheroes of BMX" also sounds a lot better. Everything sounds better. All of it slow, brooding, perfect.

This release puts Mogwai on par with GSPYE! in my opinion.
This album just turned me on to Mogwai yesterday 14 Oct. 2005
By M. Maxwell - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This review comes from a Mogwai neophyte. I have friends who have been urging me to buy a Mogwai album for years now, but for some reason I kept putting it off! Anyway, I must admit that it's hard to choose one Mogwai album to begin from, because for starters most people in the record shops have heard of the band, but not many actually listen to them.

Also, every single album seems to get mixed reviews; no one album seems to be universally hailed as a Mogwai "classic". I suppose that's common for almost any album or band, but with Mogwai it was a bit of a stumbling block for me. So I dove in and bought this one...

...and I did the right thing! This album is AWESOME. I expect I'll be listening to it for some time. I noticed that some of the reviews on this site indicate that the live takes of these songs are weaker than the studio counterparts, and if that's the case then WOW... I can't wait to get their studio albums!

I must say that of the "post-rock" bands Mogwai was the most satisfying to me upon first listen. Perhaps because they're the most guitar-oriented of that group of bands, but this isn't so much a review of the band as it is of this album. "Government Commissions" is alernately relaxing and grating, immediately accessible (to me) and yet densely layered, frightening yet pastoral.

I understand that the sequence of tracks is non-chronological, and considering that the album spans 6 or 7 years' worth of sessions, this band has been remarkably consistent. I don't really have a favourite track, because they all sound great; I was engaged through the entire hour-plus duration of the album!

So... bottom line: If you're new to Mogwai this is a fantastic one to start with. Anyone have any suggestions as to the best studio album to get?
Unhappy Songs For Happy People 8 Feb. 2006
By The Wasp - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Another amusingly titled album from the wry Scots responsible for definitive records Come On Die Young and 2003's Happy Songs For Happy People, Mogwai's latest release is a 10-track collection of live radio recordings dedicated to the memory of late BBC stalwart John Peel. Far more accessible than fellow post rock acts such as Tortoise and Slint but still by no means a commercial enterprise, Mogwai's sonic drifts of wonder on Government Sessions offer a sampler of the Glasgow band's output to date. Neatly mixing old tracks from debut Mogwai Young Team with the newer sounds of Happy Songs For Happy People and rarities such as New Paths To Helicon Pt II, Government Commissions is a great collection of Mogwai songs captured in live environs, although sadly the liner notes fail to reveal details of the exact circumstances of these BBC sessions. The highlight of Mogwai's 2002 show at Adelaide's Music House, CODY, remains the shining standout here, featuring an uncharacteristically emotional vocal from a band that normally resides in protracted instrumental territory. While some of the tunes appear to be a little less atmospheric and somewhat bare in their live context, other tracks - such as the nigh-on-20-minute epic Like Herod - move from frail solemnity to walls of monstrous sound that even Nirvana would have baulked at. While Secret Pint's percussive and low key vocals and album finale Stop Coming To My House deliver the musical goods, Government Commissions sometimes dips due to the absence of their parent album's context. Nonetheless, for fans of Mogwai soundscapes and sonic completists this latest collection is more than just a fitting epic tribute to John Peel.
excellent 18 Jan. 2013
By swamp - Published on
Verified Purchase
i love this album.
i have a few mogwai cds and this is my favorite.
its pretty mellow. i can let it play in the background while camping and almost forget that its playing.
the album is well mixed and the tracks flow together nicely.
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