Seed - Civilization - 1999
Seed is a Basque group settled in Biscay and formed by Javi Vega (guitars, lute, percussion and keyboards) and Ander García (bass, fretless, keyboards and flute) that have been helped for this recording by: Miren Bustamante (violin), María Garbayo (voice), Verónica Bustamante (choirs) and Iñaki Fernández (cello). Their style -in this first CD - points to influences of Oldfield in the triad "Tubular Bells-Hergest Ridge-Ommadawn" in the "strongest" pieces and the Pink Floyd of "Animals" and "Atom Hearth Mother" in the remaining ones. Elementary recording and mixing resources have been enough to give shape to this more than interesting work whose masterfulness in composition and interpretation, are increased when we see that these are musicians that just exceed 20 years of age.
"Civilization" is a conceptual album, critical and pessimist about a hypothetical civilization, with a simple and direct structure: three main themes with diverse developments that point towards lyricism and beauty (first, third and fifth), interspersed by two periods of chaos, where experimentation is the main element.
The total length of the album is of 48:41
minutes, divided in:
Part I: Development (14:31)
Part II: Chaos (4:07)
Part III: Resurrection (14:38)
- The day after
- New hope
- Darkened hope
*Forgetting the past
Part IV: New Chaos (7:17)
- Bitter Indifference
- No face
Part V: (8:08)
- The Gods
- The People
The CD opens up with an incursion in "Hergest Ridge -side B" - sounds carried out with such a precision and detail that the incredulous listener is astonished, thinking about how it is possible that such a sound immersion has been carried out with such elementary recording system. "Development" points in its initial part towards a lyricism seen in the acoustic guitar and the lute over a base of organ and piano that alternate the protagonism when developing the melody. The choirs usually appear coinciding with the electric guitar, in the purest style of Oldfield. Continuous melody and rhythm changes accompanied by very diverse instrumentation make us live intense moments. The violin takes to one of the peak moments, when the whole instrumentation is intertwined. The charm breaks with the entry of bass and percussion, while the violin makes superhuman efforts not to lose the pace. The guitar and the lute aim to follow suit. A new melody change is made by bass and organ. Again choirs and percussion. Bells appear. A new peak. The following change marks the keyboards entering in a phase of anxiety. The violin comes to pacify the stage, but for just some moments. Again uncertainty is personified by the sustained note of an organ. Acoustic guitar and bass overlap their developments. A game of feminine voices seems to put some order before the choir appears again, once again accompanied by the electric guitar. The final section already shows certain touches of what will be the following song while guitar and organ are unleashed. A melody by the violin makes us still look for hope.
"Chaos" is an interesting passage that has a similar beginning to Pink Floyd's "Sheep", and in which we meet a riskier and more imaginative section that recovers final fragments of "Development". Percussion are plentiful, with certain ethnic atmospheres accompanied by some repetitive keyboards. The inertia is broken by the bell, that opens the way to a choir that doesn't win in the end. The cello says good-bye leaving an atmosphere of disillusion.
"Resurrection" is another of the peak moments. It opens up with the choir accompanied by the acoustic guitar. Very diverse instrumentation that makes us live intense moments and where the electric guitar a la Oldfield carries out long developments. Beautiful dialogues among acoustics and electric guitars. A vocal middle section, followed by a synthesized percussion, over which a sound explosion takes place that should be listened to very carefully. An authentic marvel. Rhythm picks up. Orchestrations make us revive the old symphonic sound in our hearts. The crescendo follows with beauty developed by piano and violin. Storm and a carriage of horses over the sound of the sea are the ingredients that give entrance to a beautiful melody of acoustic guitar to which the piano adds at the end. Magnificent end for a piece that has no bad moments.
"New Chaos" recaptures the final cello of "Chaos" conjugated with a choir and a percussion of terror movie. When it seems that the nightmare is finished, it just increases in tension and anxiety with a sustained note of violin and cello on which they build melodies that never end. Again the feminine choir points out the nightmare with a crescendo, the lute then putting an end to the song.
In "The Gods" ethnic rhythms constitute the undulant base over which the song develops a different theme from the former, with a violin and an acoustic guitar in full competition. It is followed by "The People" close to the folk of "Ommadawn" but without the instrumental power of previous tracks. "Science" concludes with some keyboards sheltering an acoustic guitar that leaves you a good mouth flavor and wishing the album continued for some more minutes.
In definitive, an astonishing incursion in the sound of the first albums of Oldfield with a wise approach to a terrain that, although well known, in my opinion has not been conveniently exploited, being this work just an example. For me, a wonderful discovery.
Anyone interested can contact Javi Vega in the following addresses: email@example.com or Grupo El Progreso nº25, 48920 - Portugalete, Vizcaya.