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Baker's Dozen

Beloved Transmissions: Mary Anne Hobbs' Favourite Albums
Daniel Dylan Wray , May 22nd, 2017 08:14

Ahead of her curation at the Manchester International Festival, Mary Anne Hobbs guides Daniel Dylan Wray on an inspiring trip through 13 records that shaped her life


Mogwai - Young Team
My first ever conversation with John Peel was about Mogwai. When I was at newcomer at Radio 1 the most intimidating thing was my first ever conversation with him. I had seen him in the building, milling around or sleeping under his desk in the mid-afternoon as he liked to. For a while I couldn't find the courage to go and say hello to him because having listened to his programmes, they inspired me to build a life that I wanted a step at a time - to literally believe that I could do that. I had nothing else really to inspire me or to guide me, it was only John. So I thought I wasn't going to approach him until I had something interesting to talk about. I knew that he loved the first Mogwai record as much as I did so our very first conversation was about our shared love of Mogwai. From that moment forwards we bonded immediately. He also asked to borrow my toothpaste because he'd seen I had some and we both like to clean our teeth before going on air, so it was Mogwai and toothpaste that we bonded over.

They are celebrating twenty-odd years together now and they are as radical, progressive, emotive and immersive for me as they've ever been. Their music never fails to thrill me. 'Like Herod' I would single out from as a track from Young Team that is just extraordinary, I love the way it begins with the tiniest of sounds, you have to lean in to hear the notation because it's the most beautiful minimal sound, all the way to this most dramatic explosion of this wall of noise. I love the way they use light and shade as textures in such extreme form. I think there are also some very beautiful vocal elements to Mogwai's music as well. Stuart's vocals are beautiful but Aidan Moffat's vocals on 'R U Still Into It' too. That song is about that moment when a relationship is falling apart but that one person is entirely committed to making it work and the other person desperately wants to be let go. It's characterised so beautifully by Aidan in those lyrics, it's his great forte I suppose - the decimation of human relationships. I can return to Mogwai's music over and over again, I'm so excited about the next record to follow on from Atomic because I thought that was a masterpiece. I'll love them to the end of time.