Bardo Pond - Cypher Documents I
At one time or another, most bands with a good sized following seem to end up doing a singles collection.† Compilation tracks, singles, unreleased demos, b-sides and live versions all end up finding their way onto a nice, neat package.† This is a very convenient thing for most fans who just don't track down every single release by each band that they like.† But, this becomes a bit problematic with a band like Bardo Pond.† I'm not sure of the exact quantity, but just from a quick run through of the non album tracks I can remember off the top of my head, I'm confident Bardo Pond could make far more than a single CD collection.† In fact, all told, it could very well exceed the tally of official albums!† A singles box set!† Well, as nice as that would be, it won't happen.† But, thanks to Three Lobed Recordings, some older, less circulated Bardo Pond tracks are now available on a new CD.† For a brief time in 1999 and 2000, the band was posting exclusive studio recordings to their website.† Of the 7 songs posted, one ended up seeing release on a compilation (which immediately went out of print, in fact, Acid Mothers Temple also had a track on the compilation, and rumor has it that they weren't even able to get a replacement copy after their one 'band copy' was lost in the mail!).† Cypher Documents I collects all 7 tracks, and as an added bonus, one of the tracks has been extended from its original 5-minute length to an intense 31+ minutes!
The fact that these songs were posted online for free is by no means indicative of their quality.† This is Bardo Pond in fine form, stretching between dark and furious noise and sludge ("Slag") to understated and somber ambience ("Quiet Tristin") to classic Bardo Pond raga groove ("Living Testament").† The extended track, "From the Sky," is such an incredible song.† By giving it such a long time to gather its strength and carefully build, it stands as a perfect example of this bandís abilities in the open spaces.† When they go deep, they take the listener in too.
A spectacular collection, Cypher Documents I can be seen as a sort of lost album from a time period of great change, between the sludgy Black Sabbath-esque Set and Setting and the bombastic, but at times gentle and serene (and at one point, downright poppy) Dilate.