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Thread: Peter Bardens - Heart to Heart

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    Peter Bardens - Heart to Heart

    Been on a Camel binge ranging from Mirage, Moonmadness and some amazing boots....Is his solo album just after departing worth exploring...Does it have a similar
    Camel sound???

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    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Heart to Heart is pretty good. It has a sound not dissimilar to Rain Dances and some nice moody instrumentals. I also like his mid-80s solo album, Seen One Earth. It's not as consistent but the title track (which is one of the instrumentals) is one of the most beautiful things he ever recorded.

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I basically agree with the above, though I'd say it's mellow more than moody. If you like Bardens' melodies keyboards but don't need a lot of pyrotechnics, you'll probably enjoy this. I like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by progman1975 View Post
    Been on a Camel binge ranging from Mirage, Moonmadness and some amazing boots....Is his solo album just after departing worth exploring...Does it have a similar
    Camel sound???
    Go back and get The Answer and Write my Name in the Dust for the fireworks.

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    Seen One Earth is a good album, but I had a lot of trouble finding an affordable copy. I wouldn't call it brilliant, just quite good. The opening track "Seascape" bears more than a passing resemblance to the beginning of Dark Side of the Moon.

    The dancey track "In Dreams" was apparently a bit of a dance club hit in Australia at the time, though I don't recall hearing it (probably because i don't frequent dance clubs).

    I have seen reviews where people lamented that Bardens' solo work does not sound an awful lot like Camel.

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    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropforge View Post
    Heart to Heart is pretty good. It has a sound not dissimilar to Rain Dances and some nice moody instrumentals. I also like his mid-80s solo album, Seen One Earth. It's not as consistent but the title track (which is one of the instrumentals) is one of the most beautiful things he ever recorded.
    I'd relate Heart to Heart more to Breathless (without the overt Sinclair-ish Canterbury elements) than Rain Dances, but otherwise I agree with this.

    Seen One Earth is really good, but can be too "80s synth pop" for some. But if you like it definitely seek out the next couple as well, Speed of Light and Water Colors.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    But avoid Speed of Light, I just listened to it and confirm It's a terrible record, one of his worst efforts. Seen one Earth has some nice moments if you like electronic instrumental music played on 80ies synths with some New Age vibe. (I don't) P.Barden's solo discography appears very inconsistent, each one has some interesting moments and a few good (to passable) songs but none is essential. Seems he never found his way stylistically after leaving Camel.

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    Member dropforge's Avatar
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    Yes, Speed of Light is forgettable. Seen One Earth does have several throwaway poppish songs but the instrumentals are cool.

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I beg to differ - I think Speed of Light is a great album! I saw Bardens on tour for this album (in NYC!) and Mick Fleetwood guested on drums - I can't recall if it was just for a few numbers or for the whole set.

    In fact, IMO this album and Seen One Earth are his best solo albums, and are quite good - I used to listen to them a lot. From 1991's Water Colours onward, each of his studio albums has about one really good song and the rest is either merely pleasant or entirely forgettable.

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    Speed of Light, in my opinion, has one really great song - "Gold"; the rest of the album is forgettable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_32_116 View Post
    Speed of Light, in my opinion, has one really great song - "Gold"; the rest of the album is forgettable.
    I guess I have a soft spot for Speed of Light. We've had a discussion about this elsewhere, but it came out in the late 80s when -- in terms of mainstream radio -- progressive music was either dead or completely underground. But lo and behold there were some stations (and VH1) that were actually playing stuff like this (before Clear Channel swooped in and turned them all into smooth jazz dreck.)

    And I was just discovering Camel at the time so it was cool to find out that their old keyboard player was still recording and on the airwaves. He actually came around and played a club gig in San Jose around that time. I think Enchant may have been the opening band.

    Anyways, the scene at the time supported the kind of music on Speed of Light. Listening to it today it is definitely dated, with all those synths (Synclavier?) mimicking guitars, saxes, harmonica, Japanese flutes, etc. But it's a good sounding record and I have no problem recommending it to serious Bardens fans.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    Anyways, the scene at the time supported the kind of music on Speed of Light. Listening to it today it is definitely dated, with all those synths (Synclavier?) mimicking guitars, saxes, harmonica, Japanese flutes, etc. But it's a good sounding record and I have no problem recommending it to serious Bardens fans.
    The sampled stuff was probably mostly Emulator II, but he did use both the digitals of the day and older analogs to create many of those sounds. It is actually his occasional striking lead lines and short instrumental bits that perk my attention when listening to this. The same with Seen One Earth. That one is a glimmering, spacey New Age album, Speed of Light a sleeker, more rhythmic, pop-song oriented affair. They both sound good, but, IMO, they both falter badly on the writing front. Bardens can launch an occasional interesting hook but rarely develops it to any satisfactory degree (the same problem as with his hit single attempts on the Keats album). Too much of Seen One Earth is simply decorative emptiness and too much of Speed of Light just bits of sequences and melodies chucking along like pop songs without any pop. And this is from someone who does like many "spacey New Age" albums or 80s synthetic pop things. They are not bad albums, just... inconsequential. Perhaps that wouldn't matter if this was not from the man who co-wrote things like "Echoes" or The Snow Goose.

    At least Water Colors bests both of these albums, in that it capitalises on the weaknesses of both by having totally forgettable songs and vapid instrumentals. With the exception of the title track, this sounds brings to mind the least memorable contemporarenous moments of the Private label mates Tangerine Dream.

    I've only heard snatches of his 90s solo/Mirage stuff, but I understand they were considered an improvement on earlier materiakl. Any comments on these?

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    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    At least Water Colors bests both of these albums, in that it capitalises on the weaknesses of both by having totally forgettable songs and vapid instrumentals. With the exception of the title track, this sounds brings to mind the least memorable contemporarenous moments of the Private label mates Tangerine Dream.

    I've only heard snatches of his 90s solo/Mirage stuff, but I understand they were considered an improvement on earlier materiakl. Any comments on these?
    I actually like Water Colors better than Speed of Light in that it's a return to the sort of synth-driven tone poems of Seen One Earth with less of the pop-y rhythms and dated sampling. But I get where you're coming from in that each track has good melodic ideas but not much of a compositional arc or development. Perhaps knowing that he wrote that music as accompaniment for a video collection of scenic landscapes would help explain why it feels more like soundtrack music than discreet compositions.

    As far as the 90s go, the next one -- Further Than You Know -- is a return to the sort of thing he was doing on Speed of Light but with a smaller budget. Which means Pete does all the singing, and a great singer he is not. Plus he couldn't afford real drums and the writing is not his strongest. The last one I have by him is Big Sky, which I think is a collection of leftovers and stuff meant for earlier albums that wasn't finished. Suffice to say I don't reach for either of these that often.

    The sad thing is I saw him play up in San Rafael in the mid 90s -- great show and it looked like he was going to start heading back into Camel-ish prog territory which got everyone excited. But not long after he dropped out of sight and the next thing I heard he had passed away.

    RIP.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    The last one I have by him is Big Sky, which I think is a collection of leftovers and stuff meant for earlier albums that wasn't finished. Suffice to say I don't reach for either of these that often.

    The sad thing is I saw him play up in San Rafael in the mid 90s -- great show and it looked like he was going to start heading back into Camel-ish prog territory which got everyone excited. But not long after he dropped out of sight and the next thing I heard he had passed away.

    RIP.
    I belive it was Big Sky that was advertised as a significant improvement over his previous releases. Mind you, it was an online vendor making the claim. Thanks for the info.

    And RIP indeed.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    I beg to differ - I think Speed of Light is a great album! I saw Bardens on tour for this album (in NYC!) and Mick Fleetwood guested on drums - I can't recall if it was just for a few numbers or for the whole set.
    I saw both shows at The Bottom Line in NYC that night. Mick Fleetwood came out about halfway thru. Apparently they are very old friends. I was disappointed that no Camel songs were played but the shows were pretty good. The encore was a rocker that I haven't heard before or since. There is a live album from 1996 with a mix of Camel and Bardens solo tracks that ends with an Untitled piece, I wonder if that is the song he encored at The Bottom Line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    I actually like Water Colors better than Speed of Light in that it's a return to the sort of synth-driven tone poems of Seen One Earth with less of the pop-y rhythms and dated sampling. But I get where you're coming from in that each track has good melodic ideas but not much of a compositional arc or development. Perhaps knowing that he wrote that music as accompaniment for a video collection of scenic landscapes would help explain why it feels more like soundtrack music than discreet compositions.
    I have the original VHS video of Watercolors. Gotta copy it to DVD one of these days as it's no longer available. Features videos of water in its many forms -- ponds, fjords, waterfalls, geysers. Similar to Tangerine Dream's videos Canyon Dreams and Oasis.
    Last edited by Wah3; 08-20-2014 at 10:15 PM.

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I believe it's Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac who plays guitar on Bardens ' first solo album.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wah3 View Post
    The encore was a rocker that I haven't heard before or since.
    I think that song was "Gunblasters" which eventually was released on Big Sky.

    By the way, the guitar player on that tour was named Steve Adams. He's originally an LA session dude but was hugely influenced by his time playing with Bardens and all that Camel stuff made a big impression on him. After Bardens left us he tried to get a solo career going, including putting a band together that played around (including Baja one year) with some Camel in his setlists. He's put out several solo albums of material that's faithful to the Camel legacy, though with his own songwriting stamp on them.
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

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