Bardo is some way out distorto fuzz fest that wants to be yr friend. Not unlike going to hell but taking the safe suburban side streets all the way down. – Bunnyhop
Bardo Pond create dense, multidimensional tapestries of interwoven guitar noise, held in place by a rickety structure of threadbare rock and roll melody. – Splendid E-Zine
Loosely affiliated with “Psychphiladelphia” movement (which also includes bands like Azusa Plane and Lilys), Bardo Pond are a collective of sonic explorers and fearless innovators centered around a trio of brothers John and Michael Gibbons and guitarist Clint Takeda. Their music incorporates white noise, feedback, reverb and droning guitars into the mix that might remind one of New York No Wave scene of the 80s, as well as bands from Krautrock movement/psychedelic bands of the 60s and experimental/adventurous indie bands.
Formed in Philadelphia in the late 80s, initially the band included John and Michael Gibbons and their collaborator Clint Takeda who played improvisational jams in the living room. The band grew from being free-form/noise unit to something more cohesive and finally got a proper name in the early 90s – Bardo Pond – which Clint Takeda took from Tibetian Book Of The Dead.
The band also added vocalist Isobel Sollenberger and drummer Bob Sentz to the line-up and through the early 90s Bardo Pond produced five self-released cassettes. Eventually, Sentz quit the band and was replaced by Joe Culver and the band started to get noticed by record lables – Compulsiv label signed them and released their debut single “Die Easy / Apple Eye” in the early ’94. Bardo Pond issued two more singles (both on Drunken Fish label) before releasing their first LP – 1995 “Bufo Alvarius Amen 29:15”.
Named after a hallucinogenic toad, the album came in few different versions – vinyl edition (that was limited to 1000 copies) and a CD version that included nearly 30-minute long jam called “Amen”. Compulsiv also released a collection of leftovers from “Amen” sessions entitled “Big Laughing Jym”.
In their review of “Amen”, All Music Guide noted that “There’s something about the combination of lo-fi crunch, post-shoegaze bliss-out, stoner Quaalude head-nodding, and Loop/Spacemen 3-inspired drone that’s truly unique.” Indie List Digest described the record as the sound of Mazzy Star losing their jobs and giving up / “an aural equivalent of a cough syrup shake”.
“Amanita”, named after an Indian hallucinogen, arrived in 1996. AMG described it as “compelling a mix of drone, volume, and blissout” where the band “cranked the amps, switched on the pedals, and let fly with 11 monster songs.” Stanford Daily review pointed out that “record’s charm isn’t in its individual tracks, but in its ability to achieve a remarkable spectrum of moods from its strange, lazy drone. Rather than working with obvious changes in volume or tempo, Bardo Pond explore the dynamics of the hazy middle, uncovering all the intricate and subtly fascinating hooks the place has to offer.”
Next year brought “Lapsed”, a record that is “more potent than liquid lysergic acid”, according to CMJ. Addicted To Noise website described “Lapsed” as “rock at its most abstract level” since “none of the usual rock motives / cliches animate it.” Broken Face magazine pointed out that the record is “disorienting and truly splendid under the proper outside stimuli”.
1999 saw the release of “Set And Setting”, BP’s 3rd record for Matador label. Splendid E-Zine described the record as “the most concise Bardo Pond album to date” with the music “bouncing around angrily at the end of its tether but never breaking free into chaos”. Flak Magazine pointed out that “Bardo Pond cooks up better psychedelic guitar sludge than almost anyone, but this time out, they throw in other discernible stringed sounds, too.” and “The greatest thing about this record is how it flows seamlessly from one end to the other, yet still manages great dynamic shifts.”
New millennium saw the band producing a series of self-released CDrs, all of which came out in limited edition ranging from 100 to 500 copies, as well as a steady stream of singles, EPs, splits and full-lengths, including 2001 “Dilate” and 2003 “On The Ellipse”. 2009 saw the release of not one, but two BP releases at once – vinyl-only “Gazing At Shilla” and another full-length entitled “Peri”.
In addition to their work with Bardo Pond band members are/were involved with numerous side projects and other bands, including Hash Jar Tempo, Baikal, LSD Pond, Prairie Dog Flesh, Dechemia, Third Trol and Alasehir.
Double Chain Cass (Self-Released, 1992)
Shone Like A Ton Cass (Self-Released, 1992)
Pulled Eye Love Cass (Self-Released, 1992)
Untitled Cass (Self-Released, 1993)
No Hashish, No Change Money, No Sake Sake Cass (Self-Released, 1993)
Die Easy / Apple Eye 7″ (Compulsiv, 1994)
Trip Fuck / Hummingbird Mountain 7″ (Drunken Fish, 1994)
Dragonfly / Blues Tune 7″ (Compulsiv, 1994)
Big Laughing Jym EP CD (Compulsiv, 1995)
Bufo Alvarius, Amen 29:15 CD / LP (Drunken Fish, 1995 / Che Trading, 1995)
If There Is Such A Thing As Angels / New Drunks (with Bear) 7″ (Che Trading, 1995)
Amanita CD / 2xLP (Matador, 1996)
Tests For New Swords 7″ (Siltbreeze, 1996)
Lapsed CD / LP (Matador, 1997)
Set And Setting CD / LP (Matador, 1999)
Slab EP 10″ (Three Lobed, 2000)
Vol. 1 CDr (Self-Released, 2000)
Dilate CD / 2xLP (Matador, 2001)
Bardo Pond / Mogwai Split 10″ (Matador, 2001)
Vol. 2 CD / CDr (Self-Released, 2001)
Button 7″ (Tme-Lag, 2002)
Purposeful Availment EP CD (Three Lobed, 2002)
Tigris / Euphrates LP (Camera Obscura, 2002)
Vol. 3 CDr (Self-Released, 2002)
Vol. 4 CDr (Self-Released, 2002)
On The Ellipse CD / 2xLP (ATP, 2003)
4/23/03 CD (Three Lobed, 2004)
Bardo Pond / Buck Paco Split 12″ (Black September Press, 2004)
Cypher Documents 1 CD (Three Lobed, 2004)
Vol. 5 CDr (Self-Released, 2004)
Selections – Volumes 1-4 2xCD (ATP, 2005)
Vol. 6 CDr (Self-Released, 2005)
Adrop CD (Three Lobed, 2006)
Bardo Pond CD (aRCHIVE, 2006)
Ticket Crystals CD (ATP, 2006)
Keep Mother – Volume 5 (Bardo Pond / Pre Split) 10″ (Fire, 2007)
Batholith / Threshold CD + LP (Three Lobed, 2008)
Circuit 8 CD (Three Lobed, 2008)
Sonic Attack (Lords Of Light) (Bardo Pond / Kinski Split) 7″ (Trensmat, 2008)
Gazing At Shilla LP (Important, 2009)
Peri CD / LP (Three Lobed, 2009)
Peri / Game Five And A Half CD + LP (Three Lobed, 2009)
“New Drunks” on Disco Sucks (Che Trading, 1996)
“Sangh Seriatim” on Harmony Of The Spheres (Drunken Fish, 1996 / 1999)
“Wank” on Mind The Gap Vol. 9 (Gonzo Circus, 1996)
“Tantric Porno” on Monsters, Robots, Bugs & Men: A User’s Guide To Rock’s Hinterland (Virgin, 1996)
“Alfa” on Succour (Ptolemaic Terrascope, 1996 / Flydaddy, 1996)
“Green Man” on Musikexpress 12 – Matador Records (Musikexpress Magazine, 1997)
“Alfa” on Terrastock All Access (Ptolemaic Terrascope, 1997)
“Chillam Full” on Waiting To Be Old (Opprobrium, 1997)
“The Trail” on What’s Up Matador (Matador, 1997)
“Call The Doctor” on A Tribute To Spacemen 3 (Rocket Girl, 1998)
“Flux” + “Long Ride” on Everything Is Nice – The Matador Records 10th Anniversary Anthology (Matador, 1999)
Tommy Gun Angel