I've been fan of the Bardo for over 20 years. This album is a brilliant summation of their work. The first track alone is worth the price of admission and is just as good as classics like Clearhead and Tommy Gun Angel. Like psychedelic jams that start w/ Black Sabbath & Spacemen 3 and then take it beyond the stratosphere? Look no further.
Around the time of the original release of Bardo Pond’s eponymous eighth studio album in 2010 The Quietus was digging a re-issue of the band’s debut album from 1995 and exclaiming: ”You would be totally within your rights to stand up and say that Bardo Pond weren't as loud or droney or ethereal or toxin-damaged or sludgy or imposing or revelatory as My Bloody Valentine or Sonic Boom or Sun Dial or Earth or Fushitsusha or Skullflower or hearing a tannoy at a station in the voice of Jesus. You'd be sailing over the point, though.”
Indeed. Eight albums and 15 years later, the simply titled ‘Bardo Pond’ spun the band further into itself. The groove was like a recurring dream, a highly potent squall that had been honed, tempered, polished and caressed. Like that mysterious vision you half remember when you’re awoken unceremoniously.
By 2010, Bardo Pond were claustrophobic, creating a stuttering raga interlocked with a compulsive modal sound; something that’s fully exemplified by ‘Cracker Wrist’ which sounds like something that’s intentionally always just about to happen/and/or spin back in time. By the time you get there you’re already reeling from the 20 minute+ ‘Undone’ a seemingly endless spiral; an earworm that, like the whole album stays with you… on and on and on.
By ‘Cracker Wrist’ you’re over 40 minutes in and resistance is futile. You’re living with this album, its tentacles are no longer drawing blood.
So, what if Pitchfork reckon, they’re “playing fuzzed out stoner dreams” that’s where they’re at. Like a mushroom trip it’s wholesome, it sees the world through Paisley shades and knows all of those obscure Terry Riley albums and LaMonte Young pieces that were never finished.
“One of underground rock’s most extraordinary enigmas” says The Quietus and 18 years after ‘Bardo Pond’ was first released, it’s back on rotation, a postcard from the edge of reality.
“Offering a distillation of their many strengths” Pitchfork
“At their transcendent best they harness the ragged glory of mid-70s Neil Young with the epic fluidity of Popol Vuh and the blazing guitars of Spacemen 3” The Wire
“Today they stand as an elder statesman at the epicentre of an international underground of psychedelic extremists” Sunday Times