BY FRED MILLS
London’s Seefeel—Mark Clifford, Daren Seymour, Justin Fletcher, Sarah Peacock; Mark Van Hoen would subsequently join as well—commenced operations in 1991 amid the British rush of shoegaze, although in truth they had more in common with electronic upstart Aphex Twin than My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Lush, etc. An early boost by DJ John Peel led to a deal with the Too Pure label, yielding a pair of impressive EPs followed by 1993’s groundbreaking Quique, as pure an expression of the sublime possibilities of the ambient/dub/rock intersection as it comes.
It’s now available as a gatefold sleeve 2LP set via Light In The Attic imprint—truth-in-naming alert!—Modern Classics. It comes complete with a four-panel insert containing a detailed history of the album and fresh interviews conducted with the members by liner notesman Dave Segal. Quique was actually reissued previously, in 2007, as a double-CD deluxe edition, but this version is absolutely stunning, a tactile and visual delight thanks to the slick-stock record sleeve and the striking splatter-blue vinyl.
And musically, it’s more timeless than ever. From the keyboard/guitar collage of opening track “Climactic Phase #3” that seems to go on to infinity while performing the impressive hat trick of drawing the listener closer and closer; to Peacock’s wordless, sensual coos gracing the ambient-tilting, hypnotically pulsing “Plainsong”; to the reverb-drenched, deep-dubby “Filter Dub” that marks the presence of some serious hemp aficionados in the band; Quique never fails to mesmerize, even 20 years on. With most of the songs clocking in at the six, seven and eight minute marks, they offer plenty of maneuvering room—significantly, both inner and outer—within which the listener can locate his or her sweet spot.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space. Bliss out, kids.
DOWNLOAD: “Plainsong,” “Filter Dub”