The Sapphire Supper Club, Orlando, FL • December 6, 1999
Charles D.J. Deppner
The best one can do at a Bardo Pond show is to let the music flow over you like an incoming tide of loaded noise and sound. Rows of effects and layers upon layers of feedback come together in a psychedelic witch’s brew, as Isobel Sollenberger’s angelic voice rises through the seeming chaos like an ascending dove. (Sounds a tad flowery, but I’m stickin’ by the metaphor.)
There’s some kinda free-form spiritual tension amidst the chaos of Bardo Pond. You stir enough shit together- all the effects, Michael Gibbons’ distinctive guitar stylings, and Isobel’s voice, you’re bound to “evoke” something. Phantom noises sprouted about and I never was sure exactly what I was listening to. It was fuckin’ great.
Bardo’s handicap is doing something so distinctly original in a music market which relies on heavily on being safely derivative. Deep in an era of dance-heavy music, audience reaction to BP’s sound ranged from refreshing amazement to outright befuddlement.
Despite bordering-on-the-pretentious “critical acclaim,” there’s plenty accessible about Bardo Pond. They’re like a “grassroots” Swans, with a modicum of Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine thrown in to boot. (Of course, without all the “rock star” attitude.) Despite a low Monday night turnout, band members were earnestly pleased to spread the wealth of their music, traveling around and meeting the locals.