Jansen/Barbieri/Karn

Seed

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Comprised of one remix (the title cut from Beginning to Melt) and three original compositions, the instrumental Seed is essential '90s ambient prog rock. Following the demise of the artsy Japan, the former members (sans Sylvian) occasionally merged for collaborations, several of which were recorded for England's Medium Productions; Seed is the second in the Medium series.

The "Beginning to Melt" remix is the crowning achievement on the disc. This lengthy, bass-generated groove is atmospheric and textured, but equally brooding. A dark undercurrent flows through Karn's basslines while Barbieri's synth waves flow and float, and Jansen's drums keep the piece grounded in a rock-based environment. "In the Black of Desire" continues in the same vein, only lighter, with the addition of ethereal voices and Eastern influences reflected in Barbieri's shimmering synth work. Karn's "Insect Tribe" returns to the dark, brooding atmospherics of the opening cut.

The final track, "Prey," sets itself apart with its upbeat, flowing rhythm, due in large part to Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson, whose stinging electric guitar seems to set the tone and guide the music. The piece creates a feeling of urgency and paranoia in a strange, foreign land -- an exotic, jungle-like environment. Bill Smith Studio (well known for its graphic design on King Crimson's mid-'90s CDs) provides photos and computer-generated images for the CD cover. The glossy colors and textured images are apropos for music that often evokes such images.

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