Pete Bardens – Seen One Earth (1987)

FrontCover1There are two incredible things about Peter Bardens’ career: (1) how very diverse his output is and (2) how bad (at least comparatively so) almost everything he did outside Camel was! His first two, pre-Camel solo albums were plodding Blues rockers very much of their time and with little or no indication of what was to be in Camel. Then Bardens co-founded Camel which is one of my all time favourite bands and he personally contributed enormously to the early output of this fantastic Symphonic Prog band, writing or co-writing some of their most well-known songs. What happened can be read in the Camel biographies, but the short version is that there was a tension between Bardens and guitarist Andy Latimer which led to Bardens leaving the band around the time of the Breathless album (while Latimer has carried on the flame till the present day, though with some gaps). Bardens’ first post-Camel solo release was the awful Heart To Heart. For that album he radically changed his style once again and created something that was very different from both Camel and his pre-Camel solo material. There were Funk Rock and lounge Jazz tendencies on that one, but basically it was a Pop album. The most shocking aspect of it was not the change of style but the low quality of the song writing. How was it possible for the man who wrote such extraordinarily great songs for Camel to produce such weak tunes on his own?

Some eight years later, Bardens released Seen One Earth for which he once again radically changed his musical style. The closest comparison I can think of here is Vangelis! This is electronic/New-Age-type music. While not in any way remarkable, I actually think this is the best album Bardens ever did outside Camel. Three stars is a generous rating for this, but it does stand out from the rest of Bardens overall weak solo discography.

The opening song is a weak almost lounge Jazz tune that gave me a bad first impression. However, with the second and especially with the third track, faith was restored. There are some nice electronic keyboard noodling and towards the end of Man Alive some rhythmic piano that reminds of Vangelis’ work. The title track, which is the highlight of this album for me, has a similar spacy feeling as the famous Camel song Lunar Sea. Indeed, the structure of the song is somewhat similar even if this is a very different kind of music overall. I’m sure this will appeal to at least some Prog fans, especially those with a special taste for Progressive Electronic. Almost everything here is electronic and instrumental, but there are some occasional non-electronic instruments on some of the tracks. Home Thoughts is a mellow piano instrumental with some sparse guitar lines and In Dreams features some lead vocals. (by SouthSideoftheSky)

Overall, a quite pleasant electronic affair that stands out among a large number of weak solo releases by the former Camel man.

Pete Bardens (keyboards, drums, synthesizer)
Adrian Dessent (guitar)
Honey Hylton (vocals)
Neil Lockwood (vocals)
Peter Van Hooke (drums)


01. Seascape 4.25
02. Man Alive 4.28
03. Seen One Earth 5.44
04. Home Thoughts 2.18
05. Prelude 2.26
06. In Dreams 5.32
07. The Stargate 6.28
08. Many Happy Returns 2.17

All songs composed by Pete Bardens


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