Jan 13, 2011

Seefeel. Quique (Redux).

In 1916, Russian Futurist painter Vladimir Rossiné invented the Optophonic Piano, an electronic instrument that created sounds and projected colors and patterns through a series of painted glass discs. Most likely, it sounded like shit. But if you could do such a thing correctly, and had someone like, say, Helen Frankenthaler or Agnes Martin or Bryce Marden been responsible for the layers of plates, then you might have gotten something quite beautiful. Something like Seefeel.

Formed in the early 90’s as dream pop was just beginning to discover electronics and samples, Seefeel melded My Bloody Valentine’s lush fuzz with Aphex Twin’s serenity into a mesmerizing pulsar of languidly revolving beats, rubbery bass lines, and looped guitars. Approaching the idea of techno from the standpoint of a rock band, and using its instruments to replicate and interpret that sound, they stretched dream pop out like ribbons of taffy, endlessly folding it over and over on itself until it became a moebius strip of glassy-skinned candy.

Like looking through a glass clockworks, their compositions reveal themselves by adding and subtracting layers of sound, with different elements rising to the surface or slinking off into darker depths, with only the slightest of glows to remind you of their presence. Chord and tempo changes are kept to a minimum, so the songs float along as the textural, ambient equivalents of Op Art. It’s better than sonic wallpaper though—it’s more like the dizzy buzz of butterflies in your stomach, or the blissful space between orgasms and sleep.

I seem to remember referencing the Cocteau Twins ambient experiments before and I was planning on doing so again here, when I noticed that Seefeel member Mark Clifford produced those remixes (on the Otherness ep), which is probably why this album feels so familiar. The second disc includes remixes and alternate takes that push the songs further into pillowy, endorphin-flushed, Terry Riley territory.

CD 1
CD 2

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