The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Crime Plays: Writer Ian Rankin On His 13 Favourite Albums
Luke Turner , November 21st, 2012 07:37

Ian Rankin talks to Luke Turner about his life in music, and how he'd like to write novels based on Joy Division and David Bowie albums


Mogwai - Ten Rapid
Mogwai I think I read about in a newspaper article. Someone was talking about all these amazing new Scottish bands like Mogwai and Arab Strap, and I went oh ok, never heard of them, jotted them down as I do, and went to the record shop and started buying their stuff and listening to it. The first Mogwai album I got was a CD called Ten Rapid, a collection of their early EPs. It's just absolutely brilliant, a distillation of all their brilliant noises. I found I could write to it with them playing in the background, and this is what happens with a lot of these bands that I've discovered latterly, I find this is music that I can play as I work. Mogwai featured on my Desert Island Discs, and Sue Lawley said 'I don't believe you can work to this'. I think I chose 'Rage Man', and I went for the quieter, softer bit of the track so a Radio 4 audience wouldn't be freaked out. No 'Like Herod'. Sue Lawley was freaked out as it was, thinking 'you're supposed to be on a desert island, pal, what are you doing with that?' When I put this album on I start to see pictures in my head, I start to visualise. It's like a film soundtrack but I get to decide who the characters are and what's going on. Whenever I'm writing and thinking of dark mean streets, maybe a fight, maybe a confrontation, I want some tension in it, I stick Mogwai on and you get all the tension you want, the sense of impending doom and impending judgement. The music is saying that something terrible is happening just around the corner.