“The film is so shocking that as soon as you hear any of the music, you’re thinking about maniacs running around causing havoc”: Mogwai’s favourite progressive movie soundtracks

(Image credit: Antony Crook)

Mogwai’s 2016 album Atomic was a reworking of the soundtrack they’d written for Atomic: Living In Dread And Promise, a documentary about taking responsibility for nuclear technology. Prog asked the band’s Stuart Braithwaite and Dominic Aitchison to choose five influential soundtracks by other composers – and after a struggle, they came up with a list.


John Carpenter, 1978

SB: It’s very ahead of its time. The music is very modern, using early programming, and it’s very evocative of being chased by a c**t in a Captain Kirk mask. And it works as a piece of music as well.

DA: It’s very fat-free, like most of Carpenter’s soundtracks.

The Exorcist II: The Heretic

Ennio Morricone, 1977

SB: It’s a fairly shite film, but the soundtrack’s amazing. Again, it is ahead of its time, and it’s also very proggy. A belter.


Cliff Martinez, 2002

DA: It came out on CD on a stupidly short print run and I really wanted it but I didn’t want to spend the money. Martinez got given a set of steel drums, and it’s really hard to produce something like that, but it sounds brilliant. It’s all spread out, but it’s still sparse.

Requiem For A Dream

Clint Mansell, 2000

SB: It’s a classic string motif that ‘dings’ straight away with the movie. He does a lot of great soundtracks as well – High Rise is amazing. But sorry, Clint, you’re not getting two…

A Clockwork Orange

Wendy Carlos, 1971

SB: Wendy Carlos’ Moog versions of Beethoven, and the theme itself, are fucking amazing. Orbital came on stage to that once and it really worked. Plus the film is so strong and so shocking that as soon as you hear any of the music, you’re thinking about maniacs running around causing havoc.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.