“Cinematic” is a word frequently used to describe the most epic strains of post-rock. The music certainly lends itself well to film soundtracks, as evidenced by Explosions in the Sky’s work on Friday Nights Light and Cameron Crowe’s choice to include a few Sigur Ros songs in Vanilla Sky, to name a few. But perhaps no post-rock band makes music that better embodies the very word “cinematic” than Scotland’s Mogwai, who’s been at it for over 20 years.
IMDB currently lists 32 film and TV soundtracks that have featured Mogwai, including examples as varied as Sex in the City, Michael Mann’s Miami Vice, and Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, a documentary on French soccer god Zinedine Zidane that they entirely scored. But even away from the big screen, the band has conceptual and visual aspirations that rival the ambition of the big-time directors with whom it’s collaborated. Case in point: the newly-released “Coolverine” video.
Directed by Hand Held Cine Club, a duo of brothers who have put in considerable work with Mogwai’s fellow UK acts Frightened Rabbit and Editors, this black-and-white stunner unfolds entirely in slow-motion. The band sets up an ambient palette of sounds as we join a man looking out over the rooftops of an urban landscape, and as the beat kicks in, we begin to realize that something is very wrong. In a Leftovers-style apocalyptic event, various objects and people, seemingly chosen at random, begin floating skyward.
More and more gravity reversal coincides with a cathartic climax from the band, a perfect, unsettling syncing of music and film. It’s something Mogwai has done well in music videos for years, and it’s reassuring to see that they show no signs of letting up.
“Coolverine” will be included on Every Country’s Sun, the band’s ninth album, which releases September 1 via Temporary Residence.