This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Quique by Seefeel. March 7, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
Seefeel, first heard them on a fine Too Pure sampler around 1993 or 4. Nominally they came from a shoegaze background – count ‘em, two guitars, one bass, drums and no keyboards and apparently the Cocteau Twin’s were an influence. And the female vocals of guitarist Sarah Peacock on their first album proper Quique might point in that direction. But the bass heavy sound, metallic percussion and sampled and treated guitars pointed in quite a different one, one which incorporated the experimentation of Aphex Twin and others in the hideously named IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) genre.
As for Quique, named after the kick-drum… well the songs are long enough. None is less than 5 minutes and most hover around the 7 to 8 minute mark. They are repetitive, and imbued with a sort of stately grandeur. There are overt dance elements, the sampled guitar line on Imperial, the looping bassline on Industrious. The keyboard/guitar sound on Plainsong set against a reverbed and echoing drum pattern that is near identical to sounds on Aphex Twin’s “Selected Ambient Works 85-92″. But a female vocal, sampled in part, somehow transforms it into something entirely distinct.
I’m still in thrall to the bassline on Industrious and the clanking percussion and the sampled guitars on Climactic Phase #3. There’s something about it as a whole, a dreamlike quality, which it shares again with the Aphex Twin album. But whereas that attempts to lull by discreet keyboards and muted drum patterns this is more energetic, spikier. More urgent.
Their next album Succour was on Warp, which no doubt seemed like a good move at the time, but I found it near unlistenable. The melodies were gone, replaced by abstractions and overly repetitive motifs. Few would accuse them of a lightness of touch, but something close to an elegance which characterised the first album was gone. They released another album on the Rephlex label which I’ve never heard and split.
There’s a certain fitting sort of finality to them playing their last gig in 1997 with Boards of Canada (although they’ve reformed in the last year or so). I can’t help but feel that the later abstractions of Succour were a cul-de-sac, whereas Boards managed to rework electronic into something altogether more interesting and, in its own way, experimental by adding shades of emotion and emotiveness.
Industrious (incidentally is it me or do there seem to be three completely disparate bands on stage in terms of their personalities?)
And you’ll find a snippet of