Although it may not be as much of a case in modern times (given the demise of small music stores and the rise of the online world), I would bet that just about everyone who is slightly obsessive about music had a favorite music store at one point during their lives. Within that music store worked at least one person who seemed to have an infinite amount of knowledge about music, and that person (or persons) would then recommend things for you to buy, some of which became touchstones that sent you off in completely new and exciting directions in sound, only to have those recommended releases occupy a special place in your heart because of aforementioned reasons.
When I was in college, I had one of these music stores (The Record Collector in Iowa City, Iowa, specifically), and in that store there were a couple fellows that I regularly struck up conversations with. They would recommend releases that often became ingrained in my very psyche during those formative years of often conflicting emotions. In fact, I still have a good portion of those purchases in my collection today.
Obviously, the reason for all this back story is because Quique by Seefeel was one of those releases. At the time it was originally released, I was but a freshman in college, wrapping my head around both early Artificial Intelligence releases on the Warp Records label (like Autechre's Incunabula and Ginger by Speedy J), My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (belatedly) and the Cocteau Twins (starting out with Four Calendar Cafe and working backwards). And so, somewhere along the way, I was told that I would enjoy Quique, and I did. Remarkably, it's held up surprisingly well along the way, and it's now fittingly been given the deluxe treatment after being out-of-print for awhile, with new remastering and a batch of extra tracks on a 2CD set with some fancy packaging.
Like other groups who have seemingly led off their career with their greatest work, this release from Seefeel is what I feel to be their most solid release in a somewhat mixed discography. As they moved along, they got more harsh as the influence of Mark Clifford (and his Disjecta project) seemed to force themselves upon the group, but for this first album, they had an amazing synergy. "Climactic Phase #3" sets the stage with a simple, but steady rhythm as the group layers in wash after wash of synth and voices as the beat doubles in timely places, keeping it from completely drifting in ambo-land for the entirety. "Polyfusion" follows, and it cranks up the feedback just slightly, again pushing forth with massive layers of dense sound and those lovely, incomprehensible vocals of Sarah Peacock.
Like other great albums that hold up so well over time, Quique pulls together lots of different influences and swirls them all together into something unique. There's a hint of dub (and not just on the aptly-titled "Filter Dub") and little bits of all of the artists I mentioned above. "Plainsong" starts out with billowy plumes of ambience, but eventually moves forward with some snappier beats and more delicious howls of sound, while "Through You" is more sparse, with only quiet pinging beat programming and more haunting drones. It's one of those albums in my collection that I have a hard time picking a favorite song from, because it's become such a singular entity. For those that already have this one, the bonus tracks (including 6 previously unreleased songs!) are well worth having, while the original nine-song, sixty minute album remains the classic album it was. If you don't own it yet, shame...