Every once in awhile a sound comes along that is difficult to peg, but you know what it isn’t when you hear it. In the case of Britain’s Seefeel, they were called everything from shoegaze, dub, drone and IDM. In actuality all the labels applied as band founder Mark Clifford incorporated all of those styles and more into a dense layered wall of sound that included samples, keyboard and guitar loops as well as some traditional instruments.
When the band first appeared on a small record label in 1993, they caught the attention of then relatively new Astrowerks records who signed them to Warp and re-released their debut album Ouique in 1994 to wider distribution. Seefeel was the first band signed to Warp to use guitars, which was a big deal for a label that prided itself on advancing electronic music.
It was actually through the Cocteau Twins that I was first exposed to Seefeel. Seefeel toured with The Cocteau Twins in Europe after which Seefeel remix of “Cherry Coloured Funk” appeared on an extended single for the Cocteau Twins. It was at that point that I was hooked. At the same time Seefeel was now available in the United States as a normally priced CD which opened the door to American audiences who no doubt like me must have heard them via The Cocteau Twins remix (thanks again Robin Guthrie, Elizabeth Fraser and Simon Raymonde).
Quique can sound random at times, but was performed live prior to being recorded for the album. As a mostly instrumental collection of songs, it did feature the occasional voice of Sarah Peacock, the band’s guitarist. Her voice, buried into the mix began to sound like one of the many textures that made up a typical Seelfeel song – whatever that might have been. They were compared to every one from Lush to Aphex Twin.
Much of the band had a part in the writing, but Mark Clifford would perform the primary editing and production duties. The songs have a urgent feel to them with layered complexity that builds much like The Boards of Canada, but not so easily pegged as ambient.
The nature of the songs precludes their being any pop singles per se, but the band gained notoriety nevertheless, especially in England. I lost track of them after they released a compilation album Polyfusia later in 1994. It was a collection of three UK only release EPs. A few years later the band broke up then reformed in 2008. As of this writing they still record, releasing their last recording , an EP called Faults in 2010.
Remix for Cocteau Twins