Ten Rapid (Reissue; Orig. release 1997)


    I once overheard a friend say “crescendo rock” in trying to describe
    Mogwai to another friend. I at first thought that limited the
    Glaswegian quartet, but now I realize the statement’s accuracy.
    Mogwai’s use of the crescendo is signature to its sound, a musical
    technique that the band has mastered. It’s their grasp of timing and
    ability to construct alluring melodies that enables them to rely on
    crescendos often, and it almost never fails. Nowhere is that more
    apparent than on Ten Rapid, the band’s 1997 debut, re-issued in 2004 by Jetset.

    Ten Rapid is a collection of Mogwai’s earliest singles,
    recorded between 1995 and 1997. The songs start out quiet, slow and
    melodic, catching the listener’s attention and stirring curiosity. That
    gives way to anticipation as the songs slowly build, adding structure
    and volume. Just when the tension can’t be piled any higher, the whole
    thing comes crashing down in to complete disorder and confusion. The
    release is tangible.

    The album broke ground when it was released in 1997, but eight years
    later it can be seen as an extension of the road paved by artists
    including Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine. This reissue validates
    the album’s contribution to post-rock and music generally. That these
    songs were recorded as singles doesn’t affect the album’s cohesiveness.
    Ten Rapid flows as if the songs were meant to be released together.

    Like the songs, the album follows a similar pattern, mimicking a
    crescendo. Opener “Summer” begins by taunting with a hint of it’s own
    crescendo. Next is the slow melody of “Helicon 2,” which bookends the
    record, along with “End.” The peak of the crescendo is “Helicon 1,” the
    eighth of nine tracks. The songs are multi-layered and complex, and
    multiple listens are required to discover all of the subtleties. The
    reissue is a reminder to those who have been listening to Mogwai for
    years that even more delicate intricacies can be found in the depths of
    Ten Rapid.


    Next articleThe Last Romance