Bardo Pond

Full Discography

LPs
  • Dilate - ole-459 dbl - 2001-04-24
  • Set and Setting - - 1999-08-10
  • Lapsed - - 1997-10-21
  • Amanita - - 1996-04-09

Biography

Dilate, the fifth Bardo record, is titled in their tradition of using a drug reference as a title. For the band, these titles are less about using drugs then they are metaphors for lifting one out of one’s self, opening up, dilating. While new drummer Ed Farnsworth may be the only physical manifestation of how the band has changed, the record shows a stupefying leap forward. Their ominous and solipsistic intensity keeps breathing underneath, yet their sound is something new and expanded. 

Although they existed for a couple of years beforehand, Bardo Pond was christened with a name near the end of ’91. Clint Takeda had come up with the name after reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead and fell in love with the word “bardo,” which is where a Soul arrives upon its corporal self dying. While in the bardo, the soul negotiates different stages and encounters various visions, created from the souls prior life experience. The soul either ascends to nirvana or returns to another corporal existence. Clint decided this would be a fine place for a pond — especially for fishing. Over time the name has acquired entity status. 

Their method of working is discovery through improvisation, then remembering, recreating, practicing. Sometimes a tune continues mutating, yet still retains the basic shape of its original conception. Many tunes intentionally open up for lengthy exploratory passages. 

Though neither of them took up an instrument until they were in their twenties, Michael and John Gibbons were always interested in causing a racket. John initially got hooked on percussion, while Michael was in art school at the time and started to get interested in Ornette Coleman and his Electric Band Primetime, No Wave, Material etc. He started experimenting with music while he was living with his then girlfriend, whose house was filled with electric guitars, synthesisers and such belonging to her brother. 

Michael soon moved from Chicago to Philadelphia to meet up with John and to impress on his brother a passion for free-music-making, all the while encouraging his California friend Clint to come out and join them. Eventually, Clint moved out, with the excuse of wanting to attend graduate school. Isobel was attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where John was also a student. Upon hearing about a local band that never looked at each other, she was intrigued and joined up. Joe Culver soon answered their ad for a drummer, and they went on to record hours of rehearsals as they slowly shaped a sound wholly unique and mind blowing.

And now we have Dilate which represents a major shift. While they¹ve established themselves as the premiere lurching noisemakers, with their new record they¹ve created something so utterly expanse, so ponderously beautiful, it could be argued all their past work merely exists as a build up to this release. The band has always worked by using sludge to their advantage, but never has it been fashioned to such mastery.

 

 

 

Set and Setting
August 10, 1999

“Unlike most of the other art bands that go out of their way to sound like a car crash, Bardo Pond also throws in helpful dollops of structure, rhythm and a clear echo of the blues.” — NY Press

“Long before precautionary measures can be initiated, the Earth is caught under Bardo Pond’s torrents of molten rock and handily annihilated.” — Magnet

Bardo Pond wages intensity like none other. The music is a foaming, unbridled creature, constantly reinventing itself to unexplored parameters of Outness. Any musicians you can mention - be it High Rise, Sun Ra, Dead C, Masonna, Ives, etc. - can only indicate the forceful uniqueness at play here. Bardo Pond is your band. It’s the one you put on while sleeping late in your parents’ rec room basement, soaking up air-conditioning and watching wrestling on mute. They don’t just scare the shit out of people. They’re also damn incredible.

It’s best to have no other distractions because music rarely reaches this level of mindfulness, showering down equations of hypnotic effluvia to all entry points and filtering transcendent beauty through a dirty undergrowth. So many bands attempt density simply through effects and fractured singing. To consider Bardo Pond in that realm is like calling John Coltrane occasionally interesting stoner jazz. Each song on Set And Setting carefully builds a monolith of beauty, indulging the parameters of sound with thoughtful consideration as to what will buzz between the drumbeats before being obliterated.

Over the years, Bardo Pond have morphed into a unit with a singular vision, allowing for a wide range of sounds while pushing the furthest extremes of experimentation. "Again" shows how far they can push the rock, while "Datura" takes ambient repetition to deeper, inner levels. In a lesser band’s hands, this might be indulgent. Bardo Pond, however, are the skilled abstract expressionists of rock; from their violent, discordant gestures comes an art of immense maturity and inexplicable beauty. Listen in through the layers of confusion to hear the inner structure of how the noise is contained--it’s not unconditioned feedback but composed chaos, seething with soulful emotion set to slow tempo.

 

 

 



Lapsed
October 21, 1997

We’re pretty damn proud of Bardo Pond’s fifth album, "Lapsed." This album is their Liege & Lief, Live at Star Clubor Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table. It’s their Statement, their Holy Grail, whatever, what have you... and considering how great "Amanita" was things are kind of exciting right now. The album was recorded in their home town, Philadelphia, Pa, and the result is some kind of heavy, hard-to-pinpoint solid action that we haven’t heard since, say, their last album or when we last listened to High Tide, Slayer or early Skullflower.

Bardo Pond has been baffling up-and-coming and down-and-out-going musicians, not to talk about MUSIC LOVERS, all over the land for quite some time now. Wasn’t there some idiot who said that the band’s live sound is as loud as "the line at Pat’s Steaks 3. a.m." and as fucked up as "the line at Pat’s Steaks 3. a.m." What ever, we still think that going to see Bardo Pond live is one of the healthiest and excellent things you can choose to do these days.

 

 

  Amanita
April 9, 1996

Just two years ago, the mention of the name Bardo Pond may well have triggered no more than an upturned, quizzical brow from anyone living outside the city of Philadelphia. Drop that same name today and an ever-growing host of fans worldwide will bestow the discerning nod of approval to a band whose muzz-soaked psychedelic dunt routinely sends its listeners exploring the interiors of cerebral space. For the past five years, Bardo Pond have diligently mounted their tantri-sonic campaign on the drug rock microverse from the smoky confines of their Fishtown basement. However, the last eighteen months have seen the band emerge from their self-imposed, practice space exile to a forum nearly approaching the public’s eye. In the early days, the band was content with merely tossing a brick of dank on the hibachi, plugging in and letting the tape machine roll. Even though the same creative m.o. is still practiced today, these five celestial travellers have since committed themselves to share their sonic numina with the outside world, as evidenced by their critically acclaimed debut album, Bufo Alvarius.

This past fall, the band went into Philadelphia’s Studio Red to record their third and, to our ears, finest album, Amanita. This extended-length excursion through modern psychedelia includes long-wave rock blasts ("Sentence," "Tantric Porno," "Be A Fish"), etherized blues swaggers ("Wank," "Yellow Turban," "Rumination") and spacious, free mantras ("Limerick," "The High Frequency," "RM"). The dimensionality of Bardo Pond’s music on Amanita has increased several fold. Earlier inspirational antecedents such as Ash Ra Temple, Amon Duul II and The Dead C are now less apparent as Bardo Pond continue to define their own, unique sound. Bardo¹s patented, distortion-sequestered euphony is now fortified with even more layers of otherworldly guitar from the hands of John and Michael Gibbons, as well as beautiful, extended susurrations from Isobel Sollenberger’s voice and flute. Tether this to Clint Takeda and Joe Culver’s dynamic bass and drum foundation and Bardo Pond’s sound is instantly expanded into the fourth dimension. The band’s live performances have also taken on added improvisational scope; no doubt a reflection of the band’s continued interest in free rock expression. Amanita is Bardo Pond’s latest trophy of smoldering, psychedelic blare and shows a band continuing to perfect its inimitable sonic style.

This spring and summer, Bardo Pond will again pack up their van and take their live show to a town (hopefully) near you. Additionally, the band’s music will be found on Drunken Fish’s forthcoming Harmony of the Spheres box set as well as a compilation put together by England’s Ptolemic Terrascope magazine. — Mike Trouchon

Pre-blog News

News
04/26/02 — 
One of the world’s greatest live bands are especially popular with their neighbors this year. That’s because they keep going on tour. Just back from West Coast and Southwestern dates, Bardo Pond hit the road again with Fursaxa in mid June. There’s a new CDEP available from the very naggy folks at ThreeLobed and is only available by subscription. Yes, this does sound like one of those Sub Pop things, but take our word for it, ThreeLobed aren’t gonna send you a fucking Ron Sexsmith single and act like they’re doing you a favor. 

03/21/02 —
One of live rock’s most awesome attractions is back on the road, having played at the Sonic Youth-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival this past weekend. Dallas residents and perhaps even those who call Forth Worth their home can catch Bardo Pond live at Good Records (617 Latimer, 214-752-4663), this Friday the 22nd at 6pm. 

09/07/01  Not Exactly About Them This Time 
Our good friends at Three Lobed Recordings (home of the official Bardo Pond website) are working on an 8 disc cd EP subscription series entitled ‘Purposeful Availment,’ with contributions expected from Bardo Pond, Mick Turner, Shannon Wright, Tim Midgett, Idyll Swords and more. You can get the full scoop at Three Lobed

06/12/01  Mogwai — Fighters, not lovers 
When they aren’t picking fights with the Strokes (talk about a mismatch — we’re talking ’85 Bears vs. Columbia. The university, not the country), Mogwai are laying down the science for audiences all over the USA. Available only on the current Mogwai/Bardo Pond US Tour: a special limited-edition vinyl 10" with 2 exclusive tracks from each band. Mogwai presents "D to E" and "Drum Machine" while Bardo Pond deliver "Despite The Roar (In Spite of Themselves) Alternate Take" and "Highlands." We’ve got a Mogwai video interview conducted by the esteemed Mr. Nils Bernstein. If you hop over to the Matador Europe site, you can check out Bardo Pond performing "Inside," last month in London. 

05/10/01 
The band are about to start a three week UK tour and a 4 week US tour with Mogwai. Due to personal obligations, bassist Clint Takedawill only be joining the band for a couple North American dates. He'll be replaced by a friend, identified to us only as "Tracy". Sounds good. Look out for a limited edition Mogwai/Bardo Pond 10" split available only on the U.S. tour. If you see it on eBay, that's because not everyone makes six figures writing for indie label websites. 

04/07/01 — Additional inducement to buy something round instead of something square 
The new Bardo Pond album ‘Dilate’ is an absolute monster no matter what format you’re talking about, but happy shoppers choosing the vinyl edition over the CD will be rewarded with an extra, otherwise unavailable track. CD buyers will have to console themselves with the knowledge that their format of choice still controls 99% of the market. Look for Bardo Pond on the road with Mogwai later this spring. 

08/14/00 
 Sneak peek at new stuff. 
Bardo Pond are continuing work on their new Matador album, tentatively scheduled for early 2001. If you can’t wait that long (and several hundred, possibly thousands of you, can’t), the wonderful persons at Hummingbird Mountain are releasing a limited edition 3 song 10", including “Blurred,” which is available in mp3 form. 

07/12/00 — Updates and new MP3’s. 
Over at Hummingbird Mountain, they’ve got MP3’s of new Bardo Pond material, as well as info about new Bardo Pond recordings for Matador and other places. Check it out. Please. 

04/24/00 
Bardo Pond just got back from the UK where, among other things, they rocked the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival at Camber Sands on April 9. The festival was arranged by Mogwai, who like to consider themselves Bardo’s biggest fans, but anyone who hangs out in the art department knows better. 

If you follow the official Bardo Pond website Hummingbird Mountain, you’ve enjoyed the ongoing MP3 series they’ve been offering. The band will soon be offering an EP of new material, similar in style to the MP3s, and available exclusively through Hummingbird Mountain. There will also be a new Bardo Pond 7", limited to 500 copies, which will mostly only be available through Hummingbird Mountain as well.

04/07/00
This weekend’s thrill-packed All Tomorrow’s Parties event in Camber Sands, England is being webcast. If you tune in on Sunday you’ll hear live sets from festival curators Mogwai and festival attendees Bardo Pond. There will be performances during the rest of the weekend from superstar talent like Sonic Youth, Stereolab, God speed you black emperor, Sigur Ross, Papa M, The For Carnation, Wire, the Delgados, Arab Strap, Two Dollar Guitar (featuring Fuck’s Tim Prudhomme guesting) and Color Me Badd.

08/14/00

Sneak peek at new stuff. 
Bardo Pond are continuing work on their new Matador album, tentatively scheduled for early 2001. If you can’t wait that long (and several hundred, possibly thousands of you, can’t), the wonderful persons at Hummingbird Mountain are releasing a limited edition 3 song 10", including “Blurred,” which is available in mp3 form. 

07/12/00
Updates and new MP3’s. 
Over at Hummingbird Mountain, they’ve got MP3’s of new Bardo Pond material, as well as info about new Bardo Pond recordings for Matador and other places. Check it out. Please. 

04/24/00
Bardo Pond just got back from the UK where, among other things, they rocked the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival at Camber Sands on April 9. The festival was arranged by Mogwai, who like to consider themselves Bardo’s biggest fans, but anyone who hangs out in the art department knows better. 

If you follow the official Bardo Pond website Hummingbird Mountain, you’ve enjoyed the ongoing MP3 series they’ve been offering. The band will soon be offering an EP of new material, similar in style to the MP3s, and available exclusively through Hummingbird Mountain. There will also be a new Bardo Pond 7", limited to 500 copies, which will mostly only be available through Hummingbird Mountain as well.


04/07/00
This weekend’s thrill-packed All Tomorrow’s Parties event in Camber Sands, England is being webcast. If you tune in on Sunday you’ll hear live sets from festival curators Mogwai and festival attendees Bardo Pond. There will be performances during the rest of the weekend from superstar talent like Sonic Youth, Stereolab, God speed you black emperor, Sigur Ross, Papa M, The For Carnation, Wire, the Delgados, Arab Strap, Two Dollar Guitar (featuring Fuck’s Tim Prudhomme guesting) and Color Me Badd.

09/10/99
Gerard on the London Anniversary shows: A really fun 3 days, tons of musical ground covered and all kinds of barriers shattered. Live Human were amazing, Sleater-Kinney had the room screaming, JSBX had the entire city screaming, but no one knocked out so many patrons as the Arsonists. Except for maybe Bardo Pond, so we'll call it a tie. 


08/06/99
The latest release from Bardo Pond, ‘Set and Setting,’ is due in record shops next week, August 10th. Matador presents “Datura,” the third track on the album, for your digital enjoyment.

Jesper adds: Vinyl buyer! New Bardo Pond album is probably the finest looking piece of art we’ve released in a long time. However, we, they, them, it confused the layout of the LP tracklisting with strings, mirrors, hypnose, cloroform... This one actually has 3 songs on side one (not 4) and 4 on side two (not 3), as follows (please ignore LP inner sleeve and LP labels). Sorry:


Side One:
1. Walking Stick Man
2. This Time (So Fucked)
3. Datura

Side Two:
1. Again
2. Cross Current
3. Crawl Away
4. #3

07/16/99
Bardo Pond are playing the first night of Terrastock III, a 3 day psychedelic music festival taking place in London (ULU), August 27, 28 and 29, proceeds to benefit the very excellentPtolemaic Terrascope magazine. Also appearing are Damon & Naomi, Bevis Frond, Brother JT & Vibrolux, The Music Tapes, WIndy & Carl, Tom Rapp, Spaceheads, Hood, Kirk Lake and many others. 

02/05/99
This just in from Lyle "The Guy from Doormat" Hysen: Sticky Fingers of Time is opening within the next two weeks in New York and L.A. It features music by Bardo Pond! ("Tantric Porno") It features the lady who played Madonna in the TV movie based on Madonna's life!
 

Gallery
(click for high resolution)