Bardo Pond

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.
  1. OLE-459
    Bardo Pond
    Dilate

    Starting at $8.00

  2. OLE-364
    Bardo Pond
    Set and Setting

    Starting at $8.00