Woodenspoon-Souff Souff ep

August 27, 2008

Woodenspoon

Souff Souff 12′ (Warp 1996)

http://www.mediafire.com/?l0emjfz3mvi

If you’ve read this blog since its beginning, you may know that i am somewhat obsessed with Seefeel and all of its related side projects. Well, scratch the last few Scala records from that statement and then it will be true. I chickened out of buying this ep when it came out in the hopes that there would be an eventual album, but it never came to be.

Woodenspoon was one of Marc Clifford’s projects after the dissolution of Seefeel. He also released an ep and Lp for Warp as Disjecta. Disjecta wasn’t too far removed from the direction Seefeel took on their last two albums, but Woodenspoon provided Clifford an outlet to explore drill and bass, dub and occasionally something approximating dancehall shoegaze. Now, I don’t expect Capleton or the many Ranks to come knocking on his door, but this ep definitely tries something new. It doesn’t always work, but it is interesting to hear him shake loose from his influences. In this day and age, I have lost all interest in any of the drill and bass of the late 90s and its masturbatory usage of rhythm. Just because you can pack so many beats into a minute doesn’t make it it more enjoyable. However, Clifford does incorporate some ethereal drones straight out of Quique to accompany the spasms of beats and it works here. It doesn’t make me want to reevaluate that era, but it is a nice twist on the dub/shoegaze/electronic tomfoolery he perfected with Seefeel.

Overall, it isn’t going to floor you, but any fan of Seefeel should check this ep out since it is interesting to hear their musical inspirations translated into a different arena. Good, but not great.

Disjecta

Looking For Snags (Warp 1996)

http://www.mediafire.com/?dunbuni9mdi

After Seefeel’s demise, the rest went off to capitalize on the electronica train under the guises of Scala and Locust. Both of these offshoots had many worthwhile moments, but they lacked the cohesive vision and dedication to repetition that drove Seefeel’s marriage of shoegaze, dub and drone. Although Daren Seymour influenced their sound, Mark Clifford was in the drivers seat for much of Seefeel’s work. This is readily apparent in his work as Disjecta. After Seefeel’s demise, he remained with the Warp label and recorded a couple eps as well as this full length effort. All of them seem like the logical extension of their swansong Succour as the soothing sounds of Quique continue to be replaced by more beat-driven material. By no means is Disjecta danceable, but Clifford assimilates the sounds of hip-hop, Autechre and the unfortunately named IDM movement into his psychedelic drones. Actually, I prefer this to Succour and I love that album quite a bit. He recently resurfaced to release an ep that is pretty damn great. It eliminates the beats and explores a Cluster vibe heretofore unseen in his work. Personally, I wish every member of this band could regain their footing, but years have passed and the rest have not delivered anything of note in years.

Seefeel – Succour

June 18, 2008

Seefeel

Succour (Warp 1995)

http://www.divshare.com/download/4018764-2c6

Man, talk about a progression from light to dark. Seefeel’s Succour is their grand finale and it is so different from the 4ad/electronic/shoegaze puppy pile of the earliest eps and the hypnotic roundabout of Quique. However, the Starethrough ep posted here last week hints at the dark, pounding lonesome soundscapes they explore here. It is no surprise that later solo efforts and side projects were released on the Touch label since this is a heavy slice of brooding drones with sad robotic loops to keep it company.

In some ways, this is my least favorite Seefeel album, but there is an argument to be made that it is a misunderstood album. I believe my disappointments were rooted in their refusal to provide a swirling soundtrack for the next bong hit. I loved their earlier albums and I felt somewhat let down by the grim, depressing music they released as a farewell. Even Sarah Peacock’s coos and sighs are manipulated to sound like cries from a well instead of a sensual mantra. In fact, much of this could have been released on an early 80s industrial/electronic comp and no one would blink an eye.

I am still conflicted about Succour, but two tracks stand as some of the most sublime moments the band ever recorded. “Rupt” may be one of my favorite songs ever released on Warp as it improves on the formula of the Starethrough ep with dubby bass, endless looping of Peacock’s nonsensical chants and a slow-motion, rumbling drone that rumbles upwards and downwards. “Ruby-Ha” somehow predicts the genius of Boards of Canada’s debut as it lays a foundation of chimes and puttering beats that really embodies all I loved about this band.