Bardo Pond CD review

Music Reviews
Bardo Pond CD review
Feb 28, 2005, 22:54

BARDO POND Cypher Documents I CD

Cypher Documents I is the first in a series of releases of Bardo music previously only available on out-of-print limited edition vinyl, tape or CDRs.

I'm not a connoisseur or authority on the Philadelphian outfit; no particular reason other than not getting around to 'em… so my reactions herein are mainly based on the artifact at hand.

All the material here proceeds from extended improvisatory playing. It ain't jamming though 'cause it's not primarily soloing, but rather a matter of spontaneous group interaction—all instrumental, and largely unedited.  So you see the creative process as it happens, which is revelatory, but at times demanding and often tedious, but to state the obvious, that's the creative process at work too.

Much of Cypher Documents stems from one band member stating a particular figure, subtly manipulating that to add polish and perfect it, proudly displaying the finished results and then determinedly disassembling same by way of further exploration; the other group members react throughout unhurriedly groping towards, then away from the central structural conceit. So structure tends to slowly crystallize, is calmly reveled in, dissolved and then the group moves on to another crystallization.

Often this resolves in stunning results—striking, alien arrangements of plangent harmonies and unusual instrumental timbres that recall early Can, mid-period Swans, pre-synth Tangerine Dream and Neu at various points along the way. At best it's fucking incredible, and possibly worth waiting/wading through the occasionally interminable bouts of noodling.

If you're looking for quick fixes, this is the wrong place to peep. If you like to make the effort to chew and digest your music before swallowing you'll find many morsels here making the effort worthwhile. [Three Lobed Recordings]

-Howard Wuelfing

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