Seefeel, Kings Place, King’s Cross, London, 31/01/2011


Posted on Feb 1st 2011 01:22 am

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Seefeel, Kings Place, King's Cross, London, 31/01/2011

It’s been fifteen years since Seefeel last released a record, and even longer since they stopped performing live. The band returned to the stage at the end of 2008 for a unique live performance as part of the Warp20 celebrations in Paris. Prompted by an enthusiastic reception from Warp honcho Steve Beckett, Mark Clifford and Sarah Peacock, now with new members Shigeru Ishihara and Ilda Kazuhisa, got back in the studio and began working on new songs. The result first materialised with Faults last year, then with a self-titled album, both showing a band experimenting with much rawer and angular forms. Coinciding with the release of this fourth album, the band played a headlining performance at Kings Place, ahead of a series of live dates which will take them through the UK, Europe and beyond in the coming months.

While last year’s set at the ICA focused very much on old material, with only the pieces from Faults to hint at what they’d been up to, Seefeel exposed much more of their new record during this evening’s performance. Kicking off with the heavy distortions of Dead Guitars, the quartet firmly set the tone, with drums and bass placed to the fore, whilst Clifford’s dense soundscapes and guitar textures were left to develop towards the back, and Peacock’s voice, often drowned in layers of noise and always caught up in effects and loops, floated in the ether above. It was almost as if they appeared to play in different rooms so clear was the demarkation between the two halves of the band. Later. the slightly gentler Airless or the much more loaded Rip-Run were twisted further, and even the more minimal and stripped down Faults was erupting with distorted bass, pulsating heavily and adding sharp edges as the track progressed. The rhythmic alliance continued to delineate songs with ear-bleeding crunches while the guitars, which, in all logic, should have been slicing through to dictate the relief of the songs, were in the contrary building up into abstract atmospheric drapes, occasionally sharpened a tad by heavily processed feedback, Sarah Peacock’s predominantly wordless vocals often layered in similar soothing ambient harmonies.

Old favourites were equally torn apart by Kazuhisa’s dominant drums and smeared with thick layers of distortions and noise. The eerie hypnotic grooves of Succour-era Seefeel were given much dryer and abrasive settings. The sequenced electronic drums of Fracture were smothered in grit and feedback, and while both Clifford and Peacock framed the track in dense swathes of guitars, Ishihara was coming from behind to tear them apart. Equally, the sleek drum patterns of Gatha were extruded drastically and hit with repeat assaults of random clouds of noise, most of which was generated once again by Ishihara, while the ordinarily dreamy and smooth Filter Dub was molested rather drastically, its rounded chords given jagged edges by deep throbbing bass influx.

Seefeel closed with a hybrid piece which, from the onset, appeared firmly grounded in today’s Seefeel, but which, through delicately shimmering electronics and Peacock’s increasingly layered vocals, also harked back almost all the way back to Quique, bringing the band back to where it all started, while keeping an eye firmly set into the future.

Seefeel (MySpace) | Warp Records | Kings Place

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