MOGWAI- Atomic

Mogwai and the apocalypse make perfect sense. Since 1995 the Scottish instrumental outfit have traded in both compression-wave power and post-destruction almost-silence with consistently praiseworthy results. Only now can we be sure that the end of world is really the mood they were going for though. ‘Atomic’, you see, started life as the soundtrack to Mark Cousins’ BBC documentary Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise. Reworked and released from the constraints of TV editing it’s become a terrific and terrifying living, breathing creature of its own. The music-box beginning of ‘Ether’ is deceptively sweet before ‘SCRAM’ sounds like a funfair gone horribly wrong and ‘Bitterness Centrifuge’ burns bright enough to fray at the edges. Whether the focus on synthesizers is a nod to the advent of modular synth at the height of the Cold War or as a result of the departure of guitarist John Cummings, it works. It gives an unearthly character to ‘Atomic’, like Mogwai dragged this music from some other place or time than here or now. Kubrick would love it.


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