The soundtrack to an ethereal vignete of French soccer superstar, Zinedine Zidane, this full-length takes Mogwai away from its recent metallic influences on Mr. Beast and back to the smooth, melancholic flow from previous albums. Zidane illicits a calm awe of the legend through slow-motion thunder and airy facets of post-rock.
As the movie lifts Zidane from sports figure to sports god, Mogwai’s efforts increase the modern cowboy appeal with a pensive, dream-like tone, making it seem like Zidane carries the weight of the world with every step. Even though we all probably think of the head-butt first, this movie and soundtrack, combined, paint a harmonious portrait of Zidane – far from some sensationalist sports biography – setting a relative new standard in what can be done in a profile of a sports figure.
Each track of Zidane has a slow pace, emphasizing each step and brow furrow with an inhuman magnitude. Like a swaying giant, “Terrific Speech” features a sluggish guitar riff and somber drums while high-pitched mechanical noises wash the background. “Terrific Speech 2” is lighter with similar drumming, but a clearer atmosphere and soft piano. There’s a slightly antagonistic feel to these two tracks, as if something disturbs Zidane, though the array of expressions is above all else: calm.
The opening track, “Black Spider” sets a reserved tone, perhaps shying away from overzealous energy that’s already all-too-commonly associated with sports and that Mogwai is capable of unleashing. A sparse drumbeat underlines glassy guitar – never rising above a cooled intensity. The final track, “Black Spider 2” is 30-minute montage, featuring an icy sound similar to “Black Spider” for a few moments. It then goes into silence, and awakes back into a fuzzy, echoed shell-noise that eventually gets pushed by ominous organs for about ten minutes. The album then ends passive/aggressively on a distorted industrial current.
For a soundtrack, this is successfully experimental, with a mood that goes hand-in-hand with the unusually mellow film technique that’s highlighting such an austere figure. There’s no doubt that it’s a smooth move by the Glaswegians, and this is far more intimate than a vast majority of movie soundtracks.