Bardo Pond – Yantra: Three epic tracks of dense textural landscape. (music review)

Like all the releases in the Latitudes collection, Bardo Pond’s Yntra arrived on the shelves in limited editions of collector-grade beauty. The three track mini album still clocks out at just over thirty seven minutes leaving with a hefty Bardo Pond vibe combined with a freedom-of-expression improv feel. The result still garners all that Bardo Pond psych-control but it includes a free fall lets-stop-off-and-do-this-thing element slipping the sound somewhere nicely sandwiched between the bands album releases and the now famous live performances.

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While the first tack, ‘The crawl’ might start like a circular droning rise, it delves into a mish-mash of psych sampling sooner rather than later, so the early Gibbons scratched up guitar and the orbicular Sollenberger lyric pander to a layering of histories, adding to the depths of a cyclical sound as if it flowed through a time vortex snatching echoes through distant portals with swinging doors. It’s crawling through time, so that when Sollenberger does enter just before the three minute mark, she is calling from the other side, and it hasn’t taken the all too familiar Bardo Pond additives to get us where we are. The sampling is over in ‘Side to Side’, the sound settling into one of those Amon Duul  like pounding marches, the relentless oblique vocals like a hazy swirling smoke over the droning elysian psych rock.  The rounding pounding rise, second nature and signature to this band propound the length and breadth of the band’s history together, but it’s the unexpected little moments, like the drum’s ending early and tossing everyone scattered to the four corners of sound at the end of ‘Side to Side’ that make Yntra something special in its own right.

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Side the second houses ‘A Crossing’ the monster twenty-minute vignette, bookended by fade-ins and outs that give the impression of the sound continuing even though you’ve moved away.  This is a spectacular panorama where the band expects you to lay back, arms and legs wide, trusting them to do their thing.  The flute is a welcome distraction when it bursts in at twelve minutes sliding the psych out of a peculiar kind of jazz into a Celtic dreamscape. It’s the stretched out length of ‘A Crossing’ that adds variety to the mini album, the first two tracks being so rich with history but kept shorter to prevent the ponderous weight of repetition but the third almost bird-like in comparison.  Where the first two tracks have their unscheduled moments, it’s the third that lands us most safe in Bardo-land.

You can buy copies of Yantra here.

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