The black-and-white adds a lot of texture to the concert. It lends an out of time feel, as if we are watching a performance from the 1960's or 1970's. I know we aren't, but there is that effect. There is a noticeable amount of grain evident throughout, which further adds to the texture. The black-and-white film, combined with the concert lights, heightens intensity as it sometimes becomes oversaturated, while other times it is rather subdued, allowing more detail to be revealed. It is a fantastic look that blends perfectly with the music.
Yes, the music. This is why we are really here, right? As I mentioned earlier, I am unfamiliar with their material and could not tell you what any of the song titles are. Even looking at the track listing does not help me any, as I could not always tell where one song ended and the next began. What I can say is that like the gorgeous photography, the music is captivating. The mostly instrumental compositions take on a life of their own, bringing the video to life. Guitar-driven and effects-laden, sonic tapestries swirl through the air.
These guys are pretty amazing, definitely a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each instrument brings a new piece, as one weaves together with others, allowing the music to build and build so as to take on a life of its own.
Mogwai and the two directors take Burning out of the realm of the mere concert film and into the world of art. The best thing about it is that it never feels pretentious. It feels like they set out to accurately represent their music in a visual fashion more than just a document of the performance. This is a visual display of their sonic creation and it is fantastic.
Bottom line: Whether you are familiar with the Scottish purveyors of post-rock excellence or not, it really doesn't matter. This film is really involving show. It features a band playing some great music, a creative collective who have a vision and know how to execute it.
1. The Precipice
2. I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead
3. Hunted By a Freak
4. Like Herod
5. New Paths to Helicon Part 1
6. Mogwai Fear Satan
7. Scotland's Shame