Never A Fit Of Pique With "Quique",
This review is from: Quique (Audio CD)
No sustained explosive release characterizes the growth and climax of the tracks on Seefeel's "Quique" , a hybrid shoegazing release, and those who were immersed in shoegaze music can recall that one of the more notable, somewhat universal features of that genre was the tendency for the sound to build toward toward dynamic peaks from low-to-moderate beginnings. Seefeel, under the direction of Mark Clifford, combined the usage of guitars processed heavily through effects racks with the ambience of phased electronic instrumentation to create soundscapes that eschewed most of the typical features universally associated with the structure of songs progressing along linear, conventional lines, but still retained the rich, overlapping wall-of-sound characteristic of the shoegazing movement.
"Climactic Phase 3", the opening track, is probably the most representative in terms of how this dynamic informed their sound. Somewhat heavily pronounced, a bassline appears to anchor the song, but doesn't actually emerge until treated guitar and synthesizer have been overlayered to the extent that both seem to integrate into an immersive melody, though both are built around a minimal hook. The track builds almost incrementally, in a definite accretive fashion, richly textured but never breaking out of a moderate tempo.
And beyond the bass, the percussive element has an almost conveyor-belt like quality to it, mechanized and with an irresistible sense of forward motion, especially noticeable on "Polyfusion" . A centrifugal, bubble-in-the-level swirl of synthesizers creates the sense of being trapped in the cavitational wake of a submersible vehicle, during "Imperial", after the opening track possibly the densest on this release.
Sarah Peacock's vocals never seem to rise much higher than the instrumentation within the mix (and in any case seem to be nonsensical), in all probability included as another instrument to be mixed into the repetitious yet somewhat hypnotic texture, heard most clearly on "Plainsong".
Seefeel's music, though minimalist in composition with regard to the member's respective instruments, is languidly and lovingly layered, and while certainly trance-inducing, can be surprisingly sensual. A meditative, immersive work, "Quique" still has the capacity to amaze 18 years after its release, and not just because it simultaneously smoothed out and amped-up the shoegazing genre as a pioneering work.