There is a similar theme to nearly every artistic vision of what is broadly termed “the future.” The theme I’m referring to is the earth as a post-apocalyptic disaster zone, the sky is ashen and the land is charred and the leftover inhabitants are constantly being persecuted. Oh and of course there is the technological aspect, which must be mentioned too. The technological meaning that machines have either taken over, or somehow man has somehow melded with machines so that there is no longer anything that can truly be known as human any longer.
This last idea is precisely the concept behind the futuristic indie-concept album Bando. Chancius, the artist who created Bando, says that he “Envisioned [Bando] as an alternative rock opera. The album tells the story of Bando, a young man afflicted with a life-threatening disease. In an attempt to save himself, he volunteers for an untested procedure to meld his consciousness with cutting edge technology. As his story unfolds, the ramifications of blending humanity with machinery are brought to life in sound.”
This very concept described above works as a good descriptor to Bando in its entirety. The album does use a good mixture of both live instruments and electronic ones, which literally does blend humanity with machinery.
The opening track “Hold On” uses futuristic sounding keyboard samples, blended with deep bass licks, raunchy guitar riffs and live drums. The ghostly reverb on the vocals helps to give “Hold On” a haunting quality, as the lyrics begin to tell the tale of the album’s hero. The next song, “Making It Up As We Go Along” turns into a soft indie styled pop-rock jam, reminiscent of early Yo La Tengo. On the album’s title track, the vocals are overdubbed a few times to give a choir-like effect, as a bouncy piano beat carries the song along.
As the album progresses with the spacey pop jam “A Piece of You Wherever I Go” and the slow and slightly experimental balladry of “Time and Space Died Yesterday,” it becomes apparent that the story line easily becomes lost, if only due to the fact that the songs each take such different paths musically. This doesn’t hinder the album as a whole. Quite the contrary it’s what gives Bando a depth and sets it apart from many other independent releases. So the only thing really hindering Bando is the concept, the story line of this man named Bando.
One must congratulate Chancius for attempting to make a futuristic indie-rock opera. Unfortunately in the present that we live in, our attention spans are no longer willing or able to follow any concept for too long, making the likelihood that many will follow along with the story line on Bando. Luckily for both the artist and listener, these songs can be enjoyed in any order.
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