Seefeel

Quique

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The early days of Seefeel are as bright as they are mysterious. Mark Clifford, Daren Seymour, Justin Fletcher, and Sarah Peacock had unleashed a curious blend of prog rock, ambience, and minimalism -- a sort of electronic hybrid that had listeners simultaneously scratching their heads while hitting the repeat button. The song's structures are based on adding and subtracting layers, keeping chord changes at a minimum. Tracks like "Climactic Phase 3" and "Polyfusion" ride glittering collages of keyboard loops, cyclical guitar feedback, and thunking drum machines, occasionally garnished by Peacock's wordless vocal phrasings. "Industrious" is an open sky of majestic ambience and vocals, with clipped drums anchoring the mix on all sides. It makes for a prog rock reminder of early Aphex Twin (a longtime supporter of Clifford), and the mutual influence shows. "Imperial" overlaps several watery layers of sequencing for another (and especially chromatic) soundscape, inducing a sort of trance that has nothing to do with the dancefloor. "Plainsong" grooves along in an up-tempo stratosphere, the album's most likely candidate for any sort of radio play. Here, Peacock's voice is equally plain in delivery -- certainly unintelligible -- a supporting character that follows the song rather than leads it. "Charlotte's Mouth" is yet another assembly of heavily produced guitar loops, like harmonic droplets of feedback that fall around a dry rhythm track and hums of dubby bass notes. "Through You" trickles down from the rafters with anthemic, ambient chords and a moist cave full of carbonated drum fizz (even a cheap Casio sounds good with Clifford at the mixer), and the aptly titled "Filter Dub" follows the implied style of rhythm, with saturated clouds of ghostly reverb. The album closes with "Signals," a subdued nighttime prayer that glows and shimmers in suspended animation, much like Eno and Lanois' richly explored Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks. The quartet would delve into darker waters later with sparse albums like Succour and CH-VOX, but here they stay closer to their roots as a guitar-driven outfit. In a way, this is Seefeel at their most ornate. They squint by staring into the geometric refractions of light and record the results.

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