12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Actually, it's gorgeous.,
This review is from: Zidane - A 21st Century Portait (Audio CD)
I am amazed and confounded by some of the poor reviews that this album is receiving from fans. I consider 'Zidane:...' to be a return to form for Mogwai after a few albums that fell slightly short of the high standard set on 'Young Team' and 'Come On Die Young', as well as probably my favourite album of last year. At last Mogwai have produced something of the epic proportions of their early albums.
The possibilities, limitations and conventions of soundtrack writing are very good for Mogwai. The fact that the music was written as a soundtrack means that the album posesses an intense unity and strength in structure which only 'CODY' comes close to matching. There are themes, effects and ideas that appear and reappear throughout the album, giving the sense of one huge work unfurling over the ten tracks.
The album has the feel of a Mogwai track magnified - the first two thirds or so is slow and contemplative, but quietly seething and subtly majestic. Feedback and delay combine with drones to provide backdrops for simple guitar or piano melodies with drums that rumble gently, but threateningly at the same time. These melodic themes are interspersed with improvised sounding passages of quiet noise that assist in the build of tension through the album.
The music becomes more and more aggrevated over the first 40 or so minutes of the album - the dynamic variation, the build and release familiar to Mogwai's music is present but in a more subtle guise than on past releases. There are moments of sublime beauty and of understated (but no less effective for it) tension, and it is all released in the last 20 minutes of 'Black Spider 2', following four or five minutes silence. These final 20 minutes have the feel of an enormous, slow explosion. A drone is built upon with feedback, organ, drums and synth in a painfully gradual manner to a long passage of controlled chaos that burns out just as gradually to be replaced by slow metal guitars that spiral into oblivion.
There are no 'rock-out' moments on this album, but if that's what you're after then you can quite easily listen to anything else that Mogwai have produced. Don't bother buying it if that's all you want. This album is for if you ever want to quietly disappear into your own world and think your thoughts for an hour and a bit. It is beautiful and it is excellent and I consider it one of Mogwai's two greatest albums, alongside 'Come On Die Young'.