Glasgow post-rockers Mogwai certainly know the recipe for a successful 2014. It goes something like this: begin by releasing an excellent eighth studio album titled Rave Tapes, throw in a sell out world tour (the pinnacle of which is two shows at London’s Royal Festival Hall), let that simmer by releasing a comprehensive deluxe edition of the classic 1999 record Come On Die Young, and finally, bring it all together by seasoning with a sprinkle of Music Industry 3 Fitness Industry 1 – an EP with some new songs and some remixes of old ones.
Music Industry 3 Fitness Industry 1 is a short-lived affair consisting of off-shoots from the Rave Tapes recording sessions, as well as few re-imaginings of tunes from the album, released in January this year. The result is an EP which sees Mogwai do what Mogwai do best. Unfortunately, that is only half of the picture; the other half sees some other people – who aren't Mogwai - fail to do what Mogwai do best.
The EP opens with one of those Mogwai rarities: a song with vocals. What's more, the pummel-punch guitars and loosely rolling drums in “Teenage Exorcists” further break the Mogwai mould by hitting peak volume and bpm within a swift 13 seconds. Which is a nice change if only for the fact that it gets all the excitement of a Mogwai crescendo out of the way, instead of allowing it to creep up on you when you least expect it, causing you to either go into impromptu rapturous ecstasy or, alternatively, mess your pants in shear sonic fear.
The same cannot be said for “History Day” and “HMP Shaun William Ryder”, both of which take the more tried and tested Mogwai path of well-orchestrated turbulence. The former is a soggy, atmospheric track which drips and meanders into an ethereal cascade of sampled drumbeats and layered strings soaked with effects pedals. The latter, like its namesake, is an untamed beast which disturbs your very soul in spurts of undecipherable noise. Actually, it's probably not as bad as the full-on Shaun Ryder experience but still, be prepared to strengthen your sphincter with some butt-clenching moments of explosive decibel detonation.
The EP's three remixes take songs previously released on this year's Rave Tapes and rework them into variably pumped-up or stripped-bare versions. “Re-Remurdered (Blanck Mass Remix)” is a hurtling re-jumble of its parent track which has its merit in keeping the apocalyptic-western vibe of the original while introducing some exotic electronic elements. However, it somehow seems a bit rudimentary and cheap in comparison to the Morricone-esque mastery of the original. “No Medicine For Regret (Pye Corner Audio Remix) eases the original song into a softly pulsating electro-house rework while “The Lord Is Out Of Control (Nils Frahm Remix)” strips everything back to a bare piano track which evolves sporadically into fits and bursts of mournful robotic serenade. In truth, all of the remixes wither in the shadow of the originals. Which isn't to say that they are bad, just that they're not as good.
As brief as it is, and as unadventurous as the remixes are, Music Industry 3 Fitness Industry 1 may just be the mouthful of Mogwai nourishment needed by those left wanting more after Rave Tapes.