MOGWAI, Barbican – Evening Standard, 30 July 2013

The beautiful game became art in 2006 when filmmakers Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno released their study of one of football’s modern greats, Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

Scottish post-rock quintet Mogwai created the soundtrack, and belatedly performed it live this weekend.

It seemed like a fascinating combination: footage of a full match (Real Madrid v Villareal in the Spanish league, April 23, 2005) in which 17 cameras only watched French midfielder Zinedine Zidane, to a score of longform guitar crescendos from a band who specialise in power and beauty.

In practice, there was a disconnect between sound and vision. Mogwai didn’t react to the hustling and waiting pace-changes of the game, didn’t change the tone for goals or tumbles, instead offering what we were presumably supposed to imagine was the sound inside this quiet enigma’s head while he played.

“When you are immersed in the game you don’t really hear the crowd,” said a subtitled quote from the player.

The music reached a deafening roar to suit the emotion when Zidane was involved in a fight and received a red card  near the end — a surprise burst of fury that echoed his famous sending-off in the 2006 World Cup final.  Before that it was hard to determine what the film or the music was telling us.

In constant close-up it was impossible to determine whether Zidane is as wonderful a player as we’re told, as the effect of his runs and touches could not be seen. The music, stately and emotional as it was, revealed not much more.