On the Ellipse
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On The Ellipse
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BARDO POND:On The Ellipse CD (ATPR 005CD). Originally released in 2003, this is Bardo Pond's sixth release. Formed in Philadelphia in 1989 by brothers John and Michael Gibbons, Bardo Pond is one of the most mesmerizing bands of the past few years. On The Ellipse sounds like a heavy mix of Sabbath riffs blended with the folk beauty of Led Zep III - a broad-stroked swirl of heavy riffs, improvised jams and acoustic meditations. Often quoted as being Mogwai's favorite band, Bardo Pond performed at the very first ATP festival, as well as being hand-picked by Sonic Youth for their ATP in Los Angeles. Both heavy and intense, Bardo Pond possesses a hypnotic spell that lures you into a psychedelic lair and always leaves you wanting more.
Top Customer Reviews
Unlike the reviewer who gave this release only two stars because she/he found its consistency to be "monotonous", I found that same consistency to be a necessary extension and refinement of their sound. And none of the tracks are slavish recreations of "Two Planes" from "Dilate" (the release immediately preceding this one); what each track from "On the Ellipse" shares with that song is the 'Pond's new-found tendency to dial the distortion pedal back from its most heavily amplified position, the cleaner tone allowing more wiggle room for exploration within the context of each song (rather than less) as the sludgier aspects which previous riffs have been embedded within have been largely removed. "Stagnant?" "Repetitive?" "Unimaginative?" We must be approaching this release with entirely different expectations. Having been aboard since the release of "Bufo Alvarius", I can honestly say that Bardo Pond has not sounded this cohesive since "Amanita", and that what some people call change, experimentation, and variation others might call self-indulgent, a flaw that not even Bardo Pond can wholly escape.
"On the Ellipse" continues the new direction charted on "Dilate" without any of the missteps - "Sunrise", "Aphasia" "Favorite Uncle" (a precursor to the tracks relying upon the tension between acoustic and heavily amplified passages which is listenable but never builds toward a definitive climax) and "LB" (a fantastically heavy track which would have been perfectly situated on "Set and Setting"). My favorite cuts contained upon this release are "Every Man", Dom's Lament", and "Test" which form the nucleus of "On the Ellipse", but "JD","Night of Frogs", and "Walking Clouds" are outstanding as well, the first time I've been able to deeply appreciate every single track on a Bardo Pond CD. No true fan of psychedelic rock should be without a copy of this.
Bardo Pond, bless 'em, are a high colonic for your brain, and this is my favorite BP release since, er...their last record, I suppose. Initiates will find it pleasurably soothing, novices will wonder where they've been all their lives and the worker drones will go ignorantly about their little businesses. I played this album for my dog and she grew an opposable thumb.