bright light ! discog

"les revenants" 25th february 2013

track listing

  • hungry face
  • jaguar
  • the huts
  • kill jester
  • this messiah needs watching
  • whisky time
  • special n
  • relative hysteria
  • fridge magic
  • portugal
  • eagle tax
  • modern
  • what are they doing in heaven today?
  • wizard motor

    release date

    uk: 25th february 2013 - rock action
    uk/europe cd: rock action [ROCKACT74CD]
    uk/europe lp: rock action [ROCKACT74LP]

    north america: 26th february 2013
    sub pop [4089543]

    production/recording notes

    all music written for "les revenants", a tv drama series created by fabrice gobert.

    produced by mogwai and niall mcmenamin. recorded by niall mcmenamin.
    mixed by tony doogan at castle of doom, glasgow.
    mastered by frank arkwright at abbey road, london, on 16th november 2012.

    cello played by sonia cromarty.

    initial recording commenced on monday 16th april 2012, wrapping up on sunday 22nd april.
    "last day in the studio today until after the (south and north american) tour. massive amount of music recorded. i hope it's not all pish. a few wee belters in there." (stuart)

    further recording sessions took place commencing monday 30th july 2012.
    "i played a wee bit of guitar and did some singing yesterday. fuck all today" (stuart, 10th august 2012)

    recording was completed at the castle of doom in glasgow, with sessions lasting from early october 2012 to mid-november 2012.
    "album finished. there will now be a short party at seat 23/24 of coach u on the 18:30 to glasgow central. very short." [john cummings, 15th nov 2012]

    'what are they doing in heaven today?' [trad arr. mogwai] inspired by the version performed by washington phillips.
    vocals by stuart braithwaite.

    twitter exchanges regarding song titles:

    dasgift barry burns @dasgiftberlin
    "the names of some of these brand new mogwai songs are fucking stupid. #toooldtobebothered"

    stuart braithwaite @plasmatron
    "@dasgiftberlin aye cos all the old ones had magic names. is eagle tax worse than moomin cum?"

    stuart braithwaite @plasmatron (2nd october 2012):
    "some great song title suggestions from @thejohncummings 'the badger is furious' 'hungry face' 'don’t anger the dragon' classics all"

    unmastered tracks

    commencing monday 15th october 2012, canal+ streamed unmastered versions of six tracks from the 'les revenants' ost here:!/bande-originale

  • hungry face
  • kill jester
  • wizard motor
  • relative hysteria
  • whisky time
  • special n

    'what are they doing in heaven today?' promo

    such was the interest in 'what are they doing in heaven today?' from various radio stations that rock action pressed up a small run of promo cdrs [rockact75p].

  • what are they doing in heaven today?
  • wizard motor

    "les revenants" tv series

    all music written for "les revenants" - a series created by fabrice gobert.
    based on "they came back" a film by robin campillo.
    directed by fabrice gobert and frédéric mermoud. a haut et court tv production, a canal+ original programming, with the participation of jimmy, ciné+, in association with backup films and b media export, with the support of rhône-alpes regional fund, cnc, media a european union's program, procirep-angoa, zodiak rights, studiocanal.

    eight episodes were shown from 26 november to 17 december 2012 by canal+ in france, betv in belgium and svt in sweden.
    the series, re-titled 'the returned', was broadcast in the uk by channel 4, commencing sunday 9th june 2013.

    initial press release (8th october 2012)

    as you may know if you follow any of us on twitter, we've been in the studio recently. these sessions have been due to our involvement in preparing the soundtrack for a french tv show due to be broadcast on canal+ called "les revenants". the first episode of which will air in france on november 26th. rock action will be releasing a soundtrack album featuring music from the series in early 2013, while we're looking at doing a very limited france-only picture disc ep release in december to co-incide with the series. expect to hear a lot more about this in the coming months.

    the picture disc was eventually scrapped.

    press release

    there’s something to be said for a band that, seven studio albums, two soundtracks, a live album and two remix albums into their career, can still twist their artistic journey towards fresh directions that continually surprise and reveal new aspects of their sound. if mogwai’s decision to create the score to canal+ supernatural thriller series les revenants (meaning ‘ghosts’) came a little out of leftfield, then what they’ve come up with for the french television network probably wrong-footed even those that gave them the brief.

    a quick background to les revenants: adapted from the eponymous robin campillo-directed 2004 film, the series unfolds in an isolated french mountain town, where the locals are troubled after children who were tragically killed in a bus crash appear to come back to life, unaware that they’d died. a wonderfully captured perennial sense of unease and limbo sustains throughout each episode, with dully lit scenes and a sparsely-set location adding to the atmosphere. “we were actually big fans of the director fabrice gobert’s film simon werner a disparu, which had a soundtrack by sonic youth,” comments mogwai’s stuart braithwaite of their decision to take the project, “and we found the story for les revenants incredibly interesting.”

    the band was approached on the basis of their phenomenal work for the douglas gordon documentary zidane: a 21st century portrait. much like on that zidane soundtrack, the group have turned away again from their recognised path towards the fascinating new; their familiar layers on layers of textural guitar have been stripped away, allowing isolated piano and keys to wander with grip-like tension through the fourteen tracks. there’s something intangibly mogwai here still, but it’s been refracted through a fresh prism.

    “the whole process was completely new for us,” says braithwaite in explaining this departure. “the remit given to us was very vague – which was ideal – but we were still working to instruction for the first time, which offered a new kind of limitation. as it was a tv series soundtrack too, there was more than four times the amount of screen time for us to put music to, had to be created in a short period of time.” that condensed nature of writing and recording is what gives the les revenants soundtrack its sense of immediacy. much more has been made of repetition and looped motifs, used to enhance the both the anxiety of what’s unfolding on the screen, and also as a device for the group to experiment with refined dynamics in a new way.

    “the tension is in the story already so, with that in mind, all we felt necessary was to add to the atmosphere” comments braithwaite on the feeling of restraint that runs through the record. “this definitely made the music more subdued than a normal mogwai record, where the atmosphere is needed to be created completely by the music.”

    amidst this drawn out cord of nervous energy, though, was one complete curio: “initially we had to send the producers a load of demos and i found this cover version washington phillips’ ‘what are they doing in heaven today?’ i’d done solo that i’d intended to submit to a tribute album to late musician jack rose [from noise/drone band pelt who died of a heart attack in 2009]. it was a surprise that they used it but it fitted well in the end.” braithwaite’s paean to his former friend is an arrestingly beautiful rearrangement of the 1920’s texan gospel singer’s original, completely unlike anything released under the mogwai name and a perfect contrast to the rest of the soundtrack’s subtle agitation. but then that’s mogwai for you: always evolving, always surprising – this is another sublime addition to their canon.