Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Listening to: Mogwai - Rave Tapes

Yes, Mogwai's new album is dark.

But it also wants you to question: "what do you choose...(?)"

There's an entire song that pays tribute to the "subliminal messages" of certain rock recordings - given ode with a spooky spoken word performance over droning organs swelling into a banshee prayer shimmer and a metallic shuffle of guitars.

Set aside that the question above is suggestive of the very real influence of Satan upon the musical arts.

That's part of Rave Tapes MO - it's the soundtrack of a sinister entity encouraging (challenging?) you into a staring contest. The music isn't abrasive, it isn't impenetrable, it's not spazzy speed-punk mosh tempos and it's not ear-murdering, throat-saw death metal... But it's eerie.

It's groovy and eerie. And some of it is actually quite enticing. But it's dark. It's a question of whether you choose to reach for a light switch, or stay locked into their grooves.

It's all about shading. Digging into the serrated, murky forests of Rave Tapes means that with each successive track, another subtle canopy, a fog of synths or a particulate-swirling gale of buzzy bass, a reverberating-flock of guitars fluttering together like a murder of crows, riffing as the black wings beat, blocking out the light as you churn, churn, churn, sawing synthesizers and plodding bass, riffing guitar....deeper into the forest, as each song builds it becomes more and more layered, you're not descending and you, yourself, are not becoming possessed in anyway, it's just that you're being enveloped by the musical elements. The comforting sunshine (those ostensibly glimmering/comforting sunrays of pop, or indie-rock, or vocal-based, melodic rock reverent of the major-keys...) is being blocked out by a gnarlier sound, a darker sound....

But it never drones on... No, it never drones and it never drowns you... It just allows you to sort wander ever-forwards with it... Until you find a new kind of light inside their darkness.

Then you know you've been listening to long... But, then, that was your choice.

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