I am listening to
this as I write now so the
challenge is to convey
some of what I'm hearing. If there were words I would associate with
music, it would be: in space, out of space, beyond space, in time, out
beyond time, a shower of sound, water, ice melting, molecules forming.
indelibly modern and not in a pejorative way, the way that modern
brings to it
all the trappings of self-conscious and often pretentious artiness.
modern in an almost anachronistic way, in a way that transmits
timelessness. Sound contradictory? Hmm.. that's the difficulty of this
matter when you hear it, it still contains a hint of the modern even as
stretches you to timelessness. OK, enough of the hyperbole. What are
the band Seefeel
about? Seefeel, of course, no longer exist, having broken up long ago.
they released their first songs in 1993, they were trying to use
guitars in unconventional ways, as ambience and mood instead of melody
were obviously influenced by My
Bloody Valentine, especially things
like MBV's Glider e.p. with
its explorations of sound and dance
("Glider" and "Soon" respectively) and the brilliant and rare
that came with the first MBV album back in the late '80s. But where MBV
guitars to make guitar sounds, Seefeel treated their guitars with
or in some cases completely abandoned guitars for electronics in search
complete blissout, moving their music further and further into the
instrumental but not because it doesn't have voices; in fact many of
their songs do have voices,
but voices as fundamental instruments of
than as the lead sound. The CD tracks are long pieces, firmly
not much to ground them except repetitive bass and percussion, based
around a dub influence. In fact, were it not for the bass/drum
sounds would pretty much float out into total ambience, with nothing to
onto. They use guitars, sequencers, electronics, synthesizers, and
a brilliant mix that is utterly unlike anything else. OK, maybe that's
true: there were/are many others who have worked in a similar vein
Autechre, etc.), mining the possibilities of electronic repetition with
ethereal-sounding music that is about texture rather than narrative.
Seefeel unique is that the quality of their work is superb, on a
different level than all their peers (and they didn't have many) and
of the many people who came after them. And even more a dozen years
recordings, their music sounds just as out of touch and out of sequence
anything that you might hear in 2006.
is not really
an album since it's an amalgamation of two e.p.'s, the 4-song More
Space and the 6-song pure,
impure, both originally released
in 1993. The title track
from the former is quite literally one of the most brilliant pieces of
ever recorded, nearly nine minutes of repetition that is all about
textures, slowly and imperceptibly building, ebbing, lifting up to who
were Seefeel? They
basically Mark Clifford (guitars and the main guy), Sarah Peacock
whose lovely vocals provide the ethereal counterpoint), Daren Seymour
radio), and Justin Fletcher (rhythm programming). They released their
proper album, the hour-long Quique (a
lovely phonetic invention) in 1994 that was more an extension of the
e.p.s rather than a major departure, although by the time you get to the final
tracks on the album, it's clear that the band is now heading into
that is without structure or reference to anything that one might
obvious reference point here is Aphex Twin, and indeed, Aphex Twin
several Seefeel tracks around this time (some of them featured on the Polyfusia compilation).
Seefeel would eventually release two more full-length albums, Succour and (ch-vox), exploring some of the same themes, dispensing completely with any vocal presence and moving their music into electronic rhythm patterns repeated ad nauseum with bits of melodic milestones thrown in. You had to leave your preconceptions of music behind basically. As far as I can tell, their last major release was in 1996 and they last toured in 1997 and then broke up into various splinter projects. There's an interview with Mark Clifford done in 2003 here. A little snippet:
Question: When I was a junior in high school and I first got Quique, I got incredibly sick shortly afterwards, and I remember that a big part of my getting into the album was that it was one of the best records to listen to when I was feeling sick; it wasn't too obtrusive, but it wasn't just wallpaper either. Do you think your music has a therapeutic quality to it?
Clifford: For me, making it definitely does. I can feel really low and I then I can make music and within minutes, if I do something which I really like, it can just transform my mood instantly. Like I can just go though a complete mood swing, from being completely low to completely high. My music does that to me, personally, and so I would assume then that at least some of that comes out in the music [for other people]. I mean I know, for example, that Quique was used with autistic children. I have letters from people saying they've used it therapeutically with children. So I know from that point of view that it does have that effect.
Question: Wow. Where was that?
Clifford: Well, the letter was from some place in Liverpool. It was just a letter saying, "Thank you, this has been invaluable with working with autistic children." And I know people have given birth to it. I've had letters from people who've given birth to Quique.