We normally wouldn’t cover what is essentially a ‘best of’ release from a band but there was no way we could let the passing of such a remarkable landmark, 20 years as a going concern, without some sort of comment. After all, there’s a good argument to say that this website wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for Mogwai.

Rather than review the record in a traditional sense, I mean, what hasn’t already been said above ut this superlative body of work, I asked our writers to each contribute a short piece on what Mogwai mean to them persoanally. This caused a considerable degree of consternation in the camp and much discussion as to how on Earth you distill two decades of music in to a couple of paragraphs.

This is what they had to say.

Rich Buley

I hate to admit it, but I was terribly late to the Mogwai party, having spent the late part of the nineties and early noughties delving rather too deeply into the world of psychedelic and progressive trance.

I was certainly aware of them as a force, as my elder brother had stayed true to the quest for properly alternative guitar music, and owned and loved their albums, while I had become frustrated and disillusioned with an indie scene that seemed to have fallen out of love with the beautiful, gigantic noise of the early nineties, and it was now having a prolonged and ill-advised affair with the also-rans of Britpop. Travelling home late one evening in 2006, and having grown tired of endless, repetitive beats, I turned on the radio, and immediately heard the opening keys to ‘Friend Of The Night’, and then its colossal, spine-tingling crescendo. It was the first time in ten years that my senses had been heightened by guitar music, and when I learned that the masters of my epiphany were Mogwai, I really started to worry about how I had missed out on their majesty for such a long time.

The following morning, I bought the new album, Mr Beast. A few weeks later, I saw them live for the first time at Southampton University (with the band resplendent in matching green tracksuit tops!). They encored with ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’. It was, of course, absolutely astonishing, stunning a chattering crowd into silence with its sudden, ferocious cacophony. Within a couple of weeks, and with my ears still ringing, I owned everything Mogwai had ever done, and spent a good few weeks listening to nothing but Mogwai, as I got to know and to love their wonderful back catalogue.

Since 2006, I have snapped up every new album, becalmed soundtrack and other format release with fanboy alacrity, seen them live as often as possible, and delighted in the progressive evolution and experimentation of their brilliant and unmistakable sound.

Top 5 tracks : 1) Friend Of The Night, 2) Mogwai Fear Satan, 3) I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead, 4) Travel Is Dangerous, 5) Killing All The Flies

Richard Owens

Mogwai don’t soundtrack lives, they soundtrack moments. The glance out of a train window, the rain as it wets your face, the first ray of sunshine that hits your skin, the first waves of confusion and loss after a break-up, the first breath of country air, the first breath of city air, the sight of crowds, the sight of solitude. Mogwai soundtracks all these moments and more, that’s what makes them beautiful.

1) R U Still In 2 It, 2) CODY, 3) The Sun Smells Too Loud, 4) Mogwai Fear Satan, 5) I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead

Stephen Lee Clarke

Whatever mood I find myself in, wherever I find myself going – there’s always a Mogwai track that will fit my vibe, or accompany me on my journey. And it’s a journey that Mogwai themselves have taken over the past two decades where you can pick any destination and join them. Such a wide range and mix of tranquil beauty and heaviness can often bleed into one another effortlessly – like a feather to the cheek, or a sledgehammer to the jaw.

Picking a favourite track, or album for that matter is like picking the best looking identical twin – a nigh on impossible task such is the standard of their works.

1) My Father My King, 2) Friend Of The Night, 3) 2 Rights make 1 Wrong, 4) The Lord Is Out Of Control, 5)BatCat

Alex Crellin

Mogwai changed my life. They were my band of firsts. They were my first foray into the world of post-rock, I had my first kiss to ‘CODY’, my first vinyl record was Mr Beast, the first song that reduced me to tears was ‘Killing All The Flies’. ‘Fear Satan’ is still my pick-me-up song, if I ever need to just get away from it all. Mogwai’s music broke me, then picked my up and said it was all going to be okay. They’re a fantastic band, capable of great power and emotion, and Central Belters represents the very best of what I love about Mogwai.

1) Mogwai Fear Satan, 2) Two Wrongs Make One Right, 3) Killing All The Flies, 4) Glasgow Mega-Snake, 5) Ratts Of The Capital

Geoff Topley

My love affair with Mogwai began 18 years ago with Young Team. Instantly beguiling me with the sonic excellence of that debut, they’ve continually given me magnificent musical moments ever since. Constantly evolving and pushing instrumental rock into new territories, each album provides a soundtrack for life’s struggles, bringing hope to the lost. Five times they have enchanted and terrorised my ears with incredible sounds (A chat filled Belfast gig is apparently responsible for the raging noises within Mr. Beast). Their music is forever rich in quality, mesmerising and life affirming, calming and deafening, often within the same song. One of music’s truly essential acts.

1) New Paths to Helicon Pt. 1, 2) Hunted by a Freak, 3) Glasgow Mega-Snake, 4) Friend of the Night, 5) Mogwai Fear Satan

Bruce Cowie

I first met Mogwai in a charity shop, during my lunch break. Young Team was nestled in a box beside a Dead Can Dance bootleg and Mercury Rev’s Deserter Songs. I bought them all, for buttons. The Dead Can Dance was awful, Mercury Rev was OK, but Mogwai, my actual introduction to post-rock, blew me right out of the water. I had no idea that rock could be like this, without words. Imagine the thrill of hearing ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ for the first time. Imagine hearing it LIVE for the first time! Fucking savage. Sadly, Moggers and I have drifted apart in recent years. Their new stuff is OK, but no longer thrills me like it used to. I miss the ferocity and noise of the early days. Still, there will always be ‘..Satan’.

1) Mogwai Fear Satan, 2) Glasgow Mega-Snake, 3) My Father My KIng

Inna Nemchenko

They said HARDCORE WILL NEVER DIE BUT YOU WILL and it turns out to be truth.

1) Auto Rock, 2) Heard About You Last Night, 3) Hungry Face

Mike Hayden

In 1999 I was working at a record store in the suburbs of Chicago when we received a promo copy of Come On Die Young with our usual stack of soon to be coasters. I thought their name was pretty funny so I decided to take it home and give it a listen after work. Four hours later I had listened to three times through and knew that I was hearing something that would shape the way I listened to and played music for the rest of my life.

I listen to Mogwai when I drive, when I walk, when I cook, when I’m feeling out of sorts, when I’m feeling happy, when nothing else will do I listen to Mogwai and have for 16 years. They have never let me down. A few weeks ago I was driving from Chicago to the same suburb I lived in all those years ago and as ‘How To Be A Werewolf’ was playing my wife turned to me out of the blue and said “You know, I’m pretty sure Mogwai is the best band” and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

1) May Nothing But Happiness Come Through Your Door, 2) 2 Wrongs Make 1 Right, 3) Kids Will Be Skeletons, 4) How To Be A Werewolf, 5) Thank You Space Expert

Dan Salter

I honestly have no idea when Mogwai came in to my life, in some ways it feels like they’ve always been there. The music they make is the sound of my brain. That’s the only way I can put it, I hope it makes sense? They resonate with me in a way that few other bands do. When I go through phases of depression and all other music sounds horrible, it’s Mogwai I reach for. They never let me down. They never fail to inspire.

Over the course of twenty years they have evolved and changed but never lost their essential ‘Mogwainess’. If you listen to Young Team (their first album from 1988) and Rave Tapes (from 2013) they could not be more different but you always get the sense that it is the same band, the same guys striving to realise something that is uniquely their own.

I can honestly say I don’t know what I would do without them and for me music can have no higher accolade.

1) My Father My King, 2) Mogwai Fear Satan, 3) Friend Of The Night, 4) We’re No Here, 5) Hunted by a Freak

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