Fire Records have released ‘Peace on Venus’ by Philadelphia’s foremost purveyors of psychedelic rock, Bardo Pond. Delving deep in to their subconscious to bring it to the conscious, the band again dazzle us with their gift for heavy riffs laced with soaring vocals and swathes of sound.
The recording process of ‘Peace On Venus’ used the principle of the Quintessence, which is a principle cited by the 16th Century physician Paracelsus, who noted: “Nothing of true value is located in the body of a substance, but in the virtue thereof, and this is the principle of the
Quintessence, which reduces, say 20 lbs. of a given substance into a single Ounce, and that ounce far exceeds the 20 lbs. in potency. Hence the less there is of body, the more in proportion is the virtue thereof.”
As Michael Gibbons from Bardo Pond says: “We wanted to make an album that held true to the single vinyl format LP, and have that be as potent a listening experience as possible. A Less is more statement in essence… The basic tracks were recorded live as a full band here in our studio the “Lemur House”, and subsequently tracked here as well giving a live quality to the tunes.”
More information on Bardo Pond written by Tony Dale, R.I.P., from a feature in The Ptolemaic Terrascope:
The world’s most essential psychedelic rock experience should defy rational explanation and scholarly deconstruction. No tablature can define for you what these latter day cosmic couriers bring to the table, no lyric sheet will give you access to their text; you put the music on, close your eyes, and dream your equivalent of the pond into existence.
Bardo Pond has the outward specifications of a rock band – guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, occasional but crucial flute and violin and vocals – but the rivers that converge into the band’s oneiric flow have their headwaters in the outlands of ecstatic jazz, free noise and the
avant-garde. Their slow-motion avalanches of churning instrumentation and voice suggest drugged states but don’t necessarily require them. They alter brain chemistry by the alchemical effect of distressed sound alone, aspiring to become engineers of the soul’s passage to alternate states of consciousness.
At the foundation of the pyramid, the drums of Jason Kourkounis and the bass of Clint Takeda lay down a sinewy, sexy and hypnagogic bottom end. At the centre of the pyramid, the twin guitars of John and Michael Gibbons send out emissaries of fire, flaying flesh from bone in a storm of holy liberation. Isobel Sollenberger inhabits the place where the pyramid meets the eye of their storm, weaving fibres of voice, flute and violin through the din.
I heard someone comment recently that the limits of music have now been defined, bracketed by John Cage’s silence at one end and Merzbow’s maximum noise at the other, leaving only the option of filling the spaces in between. Bardo Pond demonstrate how much scope there is to innovate within that continuum. If rock music is to have any relevance in the new millennium, it is bands like Bardo Pond that will make it so.