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Taking It Down A Notch

4 Satin EP
(Jetset/Chemikal Underground)

Like the title might or might not imply, this is a 4-track EP released by Mogwai sometime in-between their Young Team release and sometime before the Kicking A Dead Pig remixes. While there are only 3 tracks listed on the disc, you actually get four. Whether or not this is a good thing probably will have a lot to do with your tolerance level of feedback, as I'll get to in a moment.

This EP is actually a re-release of sorts of older songs that came out awhile back on import only. It's been re-packaged and (apparently) not re-mastered or even cleaned up a bit, though. The one good thing about it is that you can find it for only about 6 dollars or so. If you're a completist of their work and can't find the nearly-unattainable first press, this is your best bet. Not only that, but you get almost 30 minutes of music on the disc (that counting the feedback-fest on the last track.

Leading off the disc is the first track entitled "Superheroes of BMX." It has a sort of muffled and garbled vocal track and the recording quality of the track is actually quite questionable. There's no low end and everything seems to be a bit tinny-sounding. It's not a particularly good track for the group, either, so it doesn't hold much hope. Things get considerably better (and mellower) on the following track "Now You're Taken" that weaves through some delicate guitar playing and brushes of drums. Aiden Moffat of Arab Strap mumbles through a few vocals, and it could actually probably be mistaken for one of their tracks. The eight-minute third track "Stereodee" starts out with a drum machine line and some sampled conversation in the background, and turns into quite the extended weeper. A very solid track that shows off the subtle side of the group. This very subtlety gets thrown out the door immediately on the next (and untitled) track as guitars swirl and build until they explode for a minute or so. The subsequent comedown is almost 8 minutes of feedback that grinds and slathers out the rest of the disc.

Overall, the disc is decent for the group, but it's the two mellow songs in the middle that make it all worthwhile. If you're a big fan of their more noisy tracks ("With Portfolio"), you may like the fuzzy noise, but it's their weepy side that shines through. Just be glad you didn't pay import prices for it.

Rating: 5.5