Subject: A single review?
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 00:28:10 CST
From: Josh Kortbein 

Mogwai - "Small Children in the Background" - _EP + 2_

The 6-song, 30-minute EP from which the song comes is familiar
Mogwai - not terribly different from _Come on Die Young_, which
is not to say it's not eminently satisfying. (And yes, the law
of the excluded middle holds - it's quite satisfying.) Aside
from some quirky buzzing noises (reminiscent of flies?) that close
the opening track, "Stanley Kubrick", the EP is distinguished, for
me, from the previous album by the closer "Small Children in Background".

The majority of the almost seven minute song is given over to
atmospheric feedback and guitar buzzes, complementing a repeated
eight-note guitar figure. But, perhaps harkening back to earlier
Mogwai, there's a slab of feedback - less than a minute long - about
halfway through the song.

Though they're obviously worlds apart in some respects, in my personal
mythology Mogwai's bassist and Low's bassist could play understudy
for one another. Subdued and forceful, simultaneously. In "Small
Children", though, the bass takes on an aspect, for that brief passage,
alien to other Mogwai recordings. The noise on, say, _Young Team_
is certainly noisy, harsh, whatever you like, but here the bassline
takes on an ominous growl, that transforms the aspect of the song,
instantly, from somber (not an unfamiliar mode for Mogwai to be in)
to terrifying. Afterward, earlier noises and repeated figure repeat -
but now the mood has changed. Where before it was simply fairly
typical brooding Mogwai, it's become uneasy, vaguely jittery -
anticipatory. I can only liken my personal sensation to that of
wincing at a blow I expect to receive. But it never comes, and the
respite that you'd expect by the song's end doesn't come, either,
all energy having been spent in tension, ready to fend against
supposed terror.

Maybe if the music director at my radio station hears this, he won't
label the EP as he did (erroneously, in some respects) for _Come on
Die Young_: "um, REALLY slow, kinda sleepy." Indeed.


Most of my hunches concerning mathematics are pretty bad.
    - Jon