"there are immaturities, but there are immensities"- from Bright Star (dir. Jane Campion)^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
"the fear of being wrong can keep you from being anything at all" - Nayland Blake
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Quique x 2
Melody Maker, December
by Simon Reynolds
As titles go
"Quique" lies somewhere between mid-period Cocteaus and Aphex Twin's
scientific arcana. "Quique" is perfectly blank, utterly
abstract: it looks nice on the page, feels nice in the mouth, and that's what
counts. And as part of the post-rock, post-techno ambient thang, Seefeel are
all about abstraction. Just as the trajectory of abstract art involved
the liberation of colour from line and figure, so the trajectory of psychedelia
has involved the liberation of timbre / texture from the contours of song and riff. So if A.R. Kane were late
mysticism, blocs of
garish colour) and MBV shift between action-painting chaos and Klee naivete,
then Seefeel induce the same kind of serene exaltation of the soul as Rothko's
lambent, blurry canvases.
"Climactic Phase No. 3" is Seefeel as we've come to expect from
"Plainsong" and "Time To Find Me": over a foetal-heartbeat
bassline, billowing cirrus-swirls (Seefeel's methodology makes guitars sound
like samples, the synth like a choir, and the human voice like a sequencer),
together to form a
shimmering outerspace/innerspace wombscape. It's hard to say why some pieces
feel like blissful suspension from reality, while others (the clangorous
"Polyfusion") are like watching the proverbial Dulux dry. All the
tracks are equally uneventful, sifting'n' shifting layers, ending arbitrarily
"Industrious" is almost urgent, its surging bass-drum axis swathed in
striated guitar that hums like massed bombers on the horizon. But the female
vocal sounds a tad too monastic (at times Seefeel lapse into being a mere
techno-conscious Slowdive). Then a track like "Imperial"
chase away all
reservations: squiggle-shivers of iridescence braid together to conjure a
prolonged mind-spasm, like the brain being flooded with endorphins.
Pillowy, heaven-scented, soft as snow but warm inside, "Plainsong"
demonstrates Seefeel's art of turning a pinnacle into a plateau.
"Charlotts Mouth" also aches, but with anguish not
ecstasy. Desolate dub bass, forlorn girl-vox, gently weeping
guitar: this is almost
the blues they're oozing, but A.R. Kane style (harrowed by the terror of
beauty, the way possession can be pierced through by the presentiment of
loss). "Through You" is like Aphex in alien mode: strange
rubbery squeaks and glassy clinks offset by portentous crests
of sound building to a
pitch of mournful majesty.
The last two tracks
show Seefeel stretching out from their own formula, and that's a good augury.
On "Filter Dub", the way different threads (frayed guitar, lovesick
whalesong etc) twine together, hitting a harmonic G-Spot every couple of bars,
is like doowop orchestrated by drone-meister Terry Riley.
"Signals" is Seefeel at their most radical and radiant. Fuzzy
harmonics, like a harp played
hang tremulously in the air: this really is Rothko'n'roll.
Seefeel sometimes need
a bit more space in their sound, a bit of emptiness to punctuate the
drone-swarm. Like MBV on "Loveless", they're sometimes so blissed
it's suffocating, like drowning in mother's milk. But overall,
"Quique" is consummate, a blanched canvas for the imagination, and a
2017 NB: note early (pre-Bark Psychosis / Hex / Mojo) use of term "post-rock"
Spin, June 1994
by Simon Reynolds
Whatever happened to "dream pop"? Well, the smartest
of those bands have turned on to techno, and are mixing their lustrous guitar
stuff with sampled pulses and sequenced hypno-rhythms.
My Bloody Valentine showed the way with 1991's Loveless,
on which it looped its basslines and sampled its own feedback. The best of the
new techno-affiliated dream-popsters, Seefeel, has struck a sublime groove
midway between MBVs sensual tumult and Aphex Twin's ambient serenity.
At its most radical, Seefeel abandons songs and beats
altogether, leaving a dyslexic shimmer of radiance that's like a musical
equivalent of Op Art. With 'Imperial' and the purely ambient 'Signals', you
squint your ear in order to bring the music into focus before giving up and
basking in the gorgeous, amorphous flow.
Seefeel makes a sound like the pleasant ache of a post-orgasmic
brain, like the dizzy drone-swarm of butterflies in the stomach. Quique should
be subtitled "Songs For Swooning Lovers."