Minor Victories is the supergroup formed by Rachel Goswell (vocals) out of Slowdive and Mojave 3, Stuart Braithwaite (guitar) out of Mogwai, Justin Lockey (bass, electronics) out of Editors, and filmmaker James Lockey. As you probably already know, the massively influential shoegaze/dream pop band Slowdive released one of my top five albums of all time in Souvlaki (1993), and the massively influential post-rock band Mogwai have consistently released albums that have landed in my year-end top 10. Their most recent proper album Rave Tapes was #3 on my list in 2014. Mogwai released a soundtrack album called Atomic this year, and it should end up very high on my year-end list. I don’t know any of the music by Editors.
In June of this year, Minor Victories released their eponymous debut album to much fanfare, and I locked it into a top five position on this year’s list. Even back in February, long before the album came out, and before I had heard anything other than a teaser, I already had it locked into a top spot.
The Pitchfork article tells us that the “new” album consists of orchestral “interpretations” of the songs from Minor Victories. “Interpretations”. Not “strings versions”. In other words, this isn’t one of those things where the songs are played just like they are on the album, but with a string section. The songs, as I understand the project, have been totally re-imagined and then played with orchestral instruments.
Justin Lockey said that the original songs were created based on strings-based melodies. They were then developed into post-rock songs, complete with vocals, drums, and lots of guitar stuff. This new project is sort of like deconstructing the songs to their roots, then re-building them exclusively with strings. They’ve also, as a bit of fun, rearranged the track listing.
Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the release of the album, which is slated for physical release on November 25 in North America. It’ll be released to the rest of the world and also on digital format on January 27, 2017.
They also, quite awesomely released a video for the first song from Orchestral Variations. This is that video:
“Cogs” (Orchestral Variation) by Minor Victories
This is quite different to the Minor Victories version of the same song. The original version is an eardrum crusher with some heavy drums, lots of guitar effects, lots of fuzz, and of course Rachel’s angelic vocals. Here, with the piano and the lush strings arrangement, the melody is almost unrecognizable as the same. I absolutely love this. It’s stunningly gorgeous, and it’s in stark contrast with the heavy nature and dark tone of the video. It’s also two and a half minutes longer than the original album version. I reckon every song will have the same “extended” treatment because it’s going to be a double LP.
I can’t wait to hear the rest of it.
The 180 gram double LP version of Orchestral Variations will be released in North America via Fat Possum on Black Friday. You’ll have to wait until January of 2017 to get it elsewhere or in different format. Surprisingly, they don’t have a pre-order going just yet. I imagine that’s coming very soon.
For now, enjoy the video.