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Peter Bardens The Art Of Levitation album cover
2.73 | 19 ratings | 6 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Zone (6:44)
2. She Takes Me There (6:23)
3. Making Waves (6:25)
4. Spirit Of The Water (4:35)
5. Hopi Prayer (5:07)
6. No Jazz (4:44)
7. Take Back Your Power (4:38)
8. High (5:18)

Total Time 43:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Bardens / keyboards, vocals, producer

- Tallulah Bardens / vocals (4,5)
- Joe Manseaur / backing vocals (5)
- Gabe Lackner / guitar (3,7)
- Andrew Lunsford / acoustic guitar (4), backing vocals (5)
- Mick Fleetwood / percussion, drums
- Gerard Herrera / percussion (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Becky Stewart with Peter Bardens

CD Castle Music ‎- CMRCD378 (2002, UK)

Thanks to chris stacey for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PETER BARDENS The Art Of Levitation ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)

PETER BARDENS The Art Of Levitation reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Long time friend Mick Fleetwood returns to the fold to contribute to Peter Barden's last studio album The Art Of Levitation in 2002. This same year Peter Bardens sadly lost his fight against cancer. The album is not his strongest by any means and sounds mostly ' diluted ' in the prog/electronic arena. There is some fusion/funk elements to the album also. Plenty of loops too which may indicate an unfinished work in progress at the time. It still makes pleasant listening though and highlights would have to include the atypical dreamy Camel type vocal of She Takes Me There, ' Spirit Of The Water with his daughter Tallulah Bardens supplying a beautiful vocal rendidtion of the Moonmadness song and the upbeat Take Back Your Power. Whilst enjoyable music I would have to give this a 2.5 star rating and recommend it for Collector die hards only.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Ascension

Peter Bardens untimely death in January 2002 not only robbed the prog world of one of its great artists, it also took from us a genuinely nice guy. The "Art of levitation" was to be his last album. Although it was completed prior to his death, it seems likely that it was released shortly after. His great friend Mick Fleetwood helps out on drums again, as well as lending a hand with production. That said, it does sound as if Fleetwood's drumming contribution is limited, perhaps being more in the form of programming than actually pounding the skins. This is though very much a solo project, with Bardens contributing virtually all the instrumentation and vocals.

While by no means returning to his Camel days here, Bardens does appear to want to move back towards something more serious than the rather lightweight style which featured on much of his solo work. The opening track "The zone" for example is a soft instrumental with a slow, heavy, almost trance, beat and a fine variety of synth washes. It almost sounds like a backing track for a Patrick Moraz era Moody Blues song, devoid of Justin Hayward's vocals. Bardens does actually sing towards the end of the track, but the vocals are more instrumental than overt.

"She takes me there" does actually have something of a Camel feel, the understated vocals giving the track a dream like quality. Only the rather superfluous programmed hand claps mar what is otherwise a highly likeable piece. The instrumental "Making waves" continues in a similar vein, but sees Bardens becoming more improvisational on keyboards. This track has something of a symphonic feel to it, emphasised by the strings and flute like synth tones.

The most interesting track is undoubtedly the cover of "Spirit of the water", a song which originally appeared on Camel's "Moonmadness" album. Bardens' daughter Tallulah sings lead vocals on this version, completely transforming the piece. While the song lasted a mere 2 minutes in its original form, here it runs for more than double that time, Tallulah's delicate tones demonstrating how Camel might have benefited from taking on a full time lead singer.

Tallulah hangs around long enough to also sing on the following "Hopi Prayer", giving the song the feel of a piece by Enya. While still relatively soft, this is the most upbeat number on the album, the slightly ethnic nature of the arrangement gradually becoming more evident. The strangely titled "No jazz" does in fact have jazz leanings, with a soft funk rhythm, but the foundations remain solidly within a rock context. "Take back your power" is the least distinctive track on the album, being mainly a repetitive chant over a rhythmic but dull keyboards recital. The album closes with "High", which reverts to type (for this album). Tallulah adds some effective ethereal vocals, the song perhaps having the feel of a reggae ballad!

In all, a fine swan-song to the career of Peter Bardens. It is pleasing to report that he left us on a musical high with a suitable epitaph to someone who still had much to offer.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Welcome to the wrong zone

The Art Of Levitation is Peter Bardens last ever album as he is sadly no longer with us. Bardens' solo career was never very interesting and this particular album is at best an enjoyable easy listening experience. The problem is that even when judged for what it is, one cannot avoid noticing that it sounds homemade and even a bit amateurish. The music consists of just keyboards, vocals and some programmed drums plus occasional, and sparse, guitars. Anyone with a computer and a MIDI keyboard can produce music like this. I'm not saying that this is therefore bad music, or that it is poorly made, it isn't, but it is just not at the level of professionalism that one could expect from a musician that has been in the music business since the 60's and been a major force in one of my all time favourite bands. It is really hard to believe that this is the same guy who played a major part in making the early Camel albums. Apparently, Bardens himself felt the need to remind us of that by including a new version of Spirit Of The Water here, but this makes it only more obvious that something has gone very wrong. The female vocals are pleasant, but the keyboards sound stale and do not fit the song.

The opening track The Zone in which Bardens himself sings "welcome to the zone, I'm so glad you could come", is by far the best track on this album and is indeed very pleasant. Some of the other tunes here have potential, but they come off as unfinished and somehow lacking something. Maybe Mr. Bardens intended to work on this more but was hindered by his untimely death?

Prog fans looking for some lost Camel album or something along those lines have definitely entered the wrong zone here as this is a million miles away from the Symphonic Prog of that band both in style and quality. Still, as I said, this can partly be an enjoyable easy listening experience and as such it is not entirely void of value.

Some decent moments, but generally a very weak album

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Even if I have to admit that the solo works of Peter Bardens ar not at the level of the things he did with Camel, I think that sometimes he is underrated, maybe because a comparison between albums like this and things like The Snow Goose or Moonmadness is natural, and doesn't help the judgement. Please forget Camel and listen to this progressive electronic album (not new age this time) as if you were listening to a new artist.

"Welcome To The Zone" is a very good song, the only thing reminding to Camel is Pete's voice that's highly recognisable. I don't want to say that's a masterpiece, but it flows very well, some background sounds give richness to the arrangement. The only bad thing is the faded out final. I will never stop saying how I hate closing a song in that way.

"She Takes Me There" sounds very 80s and reminds to Speed Of Light, but close your eyes and think to bands like Japan. Can you imagine Sylvian or even Bowie singing this song? I'm not saying that it would have been a hit, only that's a good song.

With "Making Waves" we continue this electronic journey. Who likes the Tangerine Dream stuff of the 80s can like this as well. I hear echoes of Jarre, too.

Now the highlight. "Spirit of the Water" is probably the best lyric ever written by Bardens and the celestial voice of his daughter Tallulah makes me wishing to listen to her singing the whole Moonmadness or even Lady Fantasy. Unfortunately her debut album produced by Mick Fleetwood is just pop, good pop maybe, but only this. The arrangement can appear strange, it's totally electronic where the original version was almost acoustic. But it's like releasing it on Stationary Traveller instead of on Moonmadness.

"Hopi Prayer" is about the prophecies of this "Pueblo" speaking of the end of the forth world and the beginning of the fifth. The Hopi have recognized 8 of the 9 signs before the catastrophe (the coming of a blue star that will destroy the current world). The song has percussions that should remind to the native americans. If written by Jon Anderson it would have been a newage anthem...well, I like this song.

"No Jazz" is totally different. It's a funky track in the style of the Bardens just after leaving Camel. It partially sounds like an action/police movie of the 80s, a sort of Starsky and Hutch soundtrack.

"Take Back Your Power" is another funky, more funky than the previous, so much funky that's good. I don't like the background voices. Totally instrumental it would have been better. A pity.

"High" closes the album with a melodic song, tendentially pop. Not too bad but very few progressive. To be honest I like it. This song gives me a sense of joy, like some newage can do. And it's strange if you think that's the last song recorded by Peter Bardens before dying of lung cancer.

I see this song as a way to remember him with a smile. So long Peter, join the spirit of the water.

Review by kenethlevine
1 stars I will admit I didn't have high expectations for this final recorded output of the late great PETE BARDENS; I was expecting something along the lines of "Further Than You know" or "Big Sky", new age philosophizing combined with melodic easy listening music that is professionally produced and well arranged, or perhaps more ambient electronic music in the style of "Water Colours". Unfortunately, what I suspect is that the energy and funds just weren't available to craft the level of refinement of those modest works, and that a healthier Bardens would have improved the majority of these tracks beyond the one half baked idea that most of them offer, and indeed share.

The first few and last few tracks are so utterly dispensable with their incessant synthetic rhythms, halfhearted mumbled vocals, and repetition utterly lacking in development. I keep hoping for him to do something to spare the utter ignominy, even to the point of re-listening in the hope that something missed first time around will distinguish itself, but I can only conclude charitably that the proverbial spirit and flesh were not in concert. But I allude to a firmer midsection. The two tracks sung by daughter Tallulah do not by any means salvage this effort, but they do usher in a level of competency that is paid forward to the instrumental "No Jazz". I think I even hear guitars though none are credited.

An understandable level of leniency can inflate the market value of pseudo-posthumous releases of this sort, but I feel it would do a disservice to the man's legacy to apply buoyancy to "The Art of Levitation". At the same time, I want to acknowledge that PETE BARDENS was a major talent who found a groove in his solo career outside of progressive rock, and that those interested should begin their exploration elsewhere. Rest in peace, gentle soul.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I think that attempts to rate any solo album by Peter Bardens, based on how close to Camel it is, are unfounded. Yes Camel in 1973 and from 1976 to 1978 was mostly Latimer and Bardens, and yes Camel in 1974 to 1975 was mostly Bardens and Latimer (Bardens wrote Freefall and Supertwister, the two most ... (read more)

Report this review (#1015938) | Posted by proghaven | Sunday, August 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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