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Seefeel: Quique (2-disc resissue)

April 13, 2011

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Quique (2-disc reissue) by Seefeel
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Few artists have ever achieved recreating the sound of time folding in upon itself—like a fluffy cotton towel buffeted on the line—quite as well as the UK band Seefeel did with their 1993 album, Quique.

Seefeel either had the distinct good fortune, or possible misfortune, to be lumped in with two popular movements of the ’90s music scene—shoegaze and ambient electronica.

Fortunate in that the music press wasted no time in praising their records as a mesmerizing manna from Heaven.

They were also unfortunate since, despite making some of the best music in both genres, Seefeel didn’t seem to catch on with either audience.

Really, they didn’t seem to achieve much acceptance outside of a small group of introverted art school students who listened to their records on headphones by candlelight wondering if anything really meant anything if music this beautiful could make you feel so empty and alone.

No, it’s certainly not an album which is going to be everyone’s milky, lukewarm cup of tea. Quique‘s subtle, repetitive loops were perhaps too subtle and repetitive to capture and hold people’s attention. Composed mainly of soft, shimmering layers of very short (one- or two-beat) samples and delay loops, many of the tracks call to mind the feel of minimalist composers such as Steve Reich or Terry Riley (the latter’s masterstroke, In C, specifically) only propelled by dub-informed, ambient drum machine rhythms reminiscent of early Aphex Twin.

So perhaps it was to be expected Quique would remain frustratingly out-of-print for nearly a decade. For fans it was a little baffling to watch what was surely a highwater mark album (on par with My Bloody Valentine‘s Loveless) fade quietly and politely into the woodwork of pop history. The fact no one seemed to notice the album deserved to be reissued was most baffling of all.

In 2007, this oversight was finally corrected with a 2-disc reissue including the usual array of b-sides, demos and remixes. The only real criticism one can level at the set is that if the compilers had included a third disc comprised of material from their (also out of print) early singles compilation, Polyfusia, it would have been an complete record of the group’s golden era and worth the additional cost.

As it stands, this is merely as excellent a reissue of a five star album as you could reasonably hope for. Which is nothing to complain about at all.

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