Riffipedia - The Stoner Rock Wiki
Riffipedia - The Stoner Rock Wiki

Bardo Pond
Background information
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Genres Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Shoegaze, Post-Rock, Drone, Noise Rock, Experimental Rock
Years active 1991 - Present
Labels Drunken Fish, Fire, ATP, Important, Matador, Three Lobed
Website Bardo Pond Official

Bardo Pond are a psychedelic rock band from Philadelphia, active since 1991. Known for their open sense of sound exploration and heavy influence and reference to various drugs, Bardo Pond have released several albums and have toured worldwide, now signed to London-based label Fire Records. Beginning as a quintet and now a sextet, Bardo Pond has maintained four core members in the brothers Gibbons (Michael and John), Isobel Sollenberger and Clint Takeda.

The band's name is derived from the Tibetan Book of the Dead.


According to guitarist Michael Gibbons, the band members came together post-university: "...we were basically just out of college, actually, and we just got really interested in free music, and that’s where it started. And we were artists too [a number of the band are visual artists]. So were just started playing free improvised sounds – it was really just kind of that love of making noise and sounds that got us together. Basically we didn’t really learn how to play songs until after about four years, and that’s when things started clicking, and we actually made up songs. But it’s still the same thing”.[1] oining with guitarist Clint Takeda, they began jamming, and Takeda gave the trio the name Bardo Pond, from the Tibetan Book of the Dead.[2] At the same time, school chums Sollenberger and Sentz joined the group. The group released the first of several self-distributed cassettes,= including 1992's Shone Like a Ton.

Bardo Pond issued its first album, Bufo Alvarius Amen 29:15, in early 1995; its title was taken from the scientific name for the notorious hallucinogenic toad found in the western U.S. The CD version appended "Amen 29:15," a near-half-hour jam that marked Takeda's recorded debut with the band. Later that year, Compulsiv released a CD EP of leftover tracks called Big Laughing Jym. Bufo Alvarius sparked the interest of Matador Records, which signed Bardo Pond and issued their breakthrough sophomore effort, Amanita, in 1996. Titled after a little-known hallucinogen from India, the album won critical praise and substantially heightened the band's profile, as did their increasingly improvisational live shows.

1997's Lapsed was a leaner, more focused effort that refined and sharpened Bardo Pond's sound; it too was greeted enthusiastically, with many fans still ranking it as the group's finest effort. That same year, the quintet's side project with New Zealand guitarist Roy Montgomery, Hash Jar Tempo, saw the release of the first of two albums; titled Well Oiled, it had been recorded during a 1995 jam session, and appeared on Drunken Fish. The results of another jam session, this one from 1998, were issued a year later as Under Glass. Bardo Pond itself also returned in 1999 with Set and Setting, which had second drummer Ed Farnsworth beginning to assume some of new family man Culver's duties. It also found Sollenberger debuting her new second instrument, violin.

2000 saw the band embarking on several side ventures from Matador; there was a 10" limited-edition EP on Three Lobed called Slab, which featured outtakes from the Set and Setting sessions, and they also inaugurated a series of self-released CD-Rs (sold through their website and on tours) with Vol. I. Like its followers, Vol. I was a collection of improvisational jams and home-studio outtakes. The band returned with its fourth Matador album, Dilate, in 2001; by now, Culver had officially retired from the band, leaving Farnsworth as the full-time drummer. A tour with Mogwai followed in support that spring, and Matador issued a small-scale EP culling performances from both bands. Three more volumes in the Bardo Pond CD-R series followed over 2002-2003, as well as another EP for Three Lobed, 2002's Purposeful Availment. In the meantime, Bardo Pond and Matador abruptly parted ways; after playing the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, the band signed with its spin-off label of the same name, and debuted with the full-length On the Ellipse in 2003. 2005 saw a wider release of the material from the CD-R series in Selections, Vols. 1-4, a two-disc collection of highlights. Ticket Crystals, a mellower, more atmospheric work, arrived the following year.

Three Lobed Records issued several limited-edition Bardo Pond releases by the end of the decade, including 2006's Adrop and 2009's Peri. The vinyl-only Gazing at Shilla was released by Important Records that year. The group signed with Fire Records in 2010, and released the eponymous Bardo Pond that year. In 2012, the band issued Yntra, a three-song EP recorded for Southern Records spin-off label Latitudes while the band was on a stopover in London. They issued the two-track covers 12" Rise Above It All on Record Store Day in April of 2013, featuring readings of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain" and Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has a Master Plan." This was followed by the full-length Peace on Venus in October. Refulgo, a double LP compilation of tracks recorded prior to the release of Bufo Alvarius, appeared on Three Lobed in 2014. Two more Record Store Day EPs, Looking for Another Place and Is There a Heaven?, respectively appeared in 2014 and 2015, and were compiled on the triple-CD Record Store Day Trilogy. Also in 2015, the group shared a split-LP with Yo La Tengo as part of Three Lobed's Parallelogram series. In 2016, Bardo Pond collaborated with Acid Mothers Temple and Guru Guru, resulting in double-LP Acid Guru Pond. Bardo Pond's full-length Under the Pines followed in 2017, and Vol. 8 appeared in 2018. A split single with Major Stars was also released that year.


Studio Albums[]

  • Bufo Alvarius (1995, Drunken Fish Records)
  • Amanita (1996, Matador Records)
  • Lapsed (1997, Matador Records)
  • Set and Setting (1999, Matador Records)
  • Dilate (2001, Matador Records)
  • On The Ellipse (2003, ATP Recordings)
  • Ticket Crystals (2006, ATP Recordings)
  • Bardo Pond (2010, Fire Records)
  • Peace on Venus (2013, Fire Records)
  • Under The Pines (2017, Fire Records)

Extended Plays[]

  • Big Laughing Jym (1995, Compulsiv)
  • Slab (2000, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Purposeful Availment (2002, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Adrop (2006, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Yntra (2012, Latitudes)
  • Rise Above It All (2013, Fire Records)
  • Looking For Another Place (2014, Fire Records)
  • Is There A Heaven? (2015, Fire Records)

Volume Series[]

  • Vol. 1 (2000)
  • Vol. 2 (2001)
  • Vol. 3 (2002)
  • Vol. 4 (2002)
  • Vol. 5 (2004)
  • Vol. 6 (2005)
  • Vol. 7 (2009)
  • Vol. 8 (2018, Fire Records)

Other Releases[]

  • Shone Like A Ton (Demo) (1992, Self-Released)
  • Untitled (Demo) (1993, Self-Released)
  • No Hashish, No Change Money, No Sake Sake (Demo) (1993, Self-Released)
  • Trip Fuck (Single) (1993, Drunken Fish)
  • Die Easy / Apple Eye (Single) (1994, Compulsiv)
  • Dragonfly (Lying On The Floor) / Blues Tune (Single) (1994, Compulsiv)
  • If There's Such A Thing As Angels / New Drunks (Split with Bear) (1995, Che)
  • You Know (Single) (1996, Self-Released)
  • Tests For New Swords (1996, Slitbreeze)
  • U.S. Tour, Spring 2001 (Split with Mogwai) (2001, Matador)
  • Tigris / Euphrates (Split with Subarachnoid Space) (2002, Camera Obscura)
  • Button (Single) (2002, Time-Lag)
  • 4/23/03 (Live Collaboration with Tom Carter) (2004, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Cypher Documents I (Compilation) (2004, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Bog (Split with Buck Paco) (2005, Black September)
  • Selections, Vols. I-IV (Compilation) (2005, ATP Recordings)
  • 04.03.06 (Live Album) (2006, ARCHIVE)
  • Keep Mother - Volume 5 (Split with Pre) (2007, Fire Records)
  • Batholith (Compilation) (2008, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Circuit VIII (Live Album) (2008, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Sonic Attack (Lords Of Light) (Split with Kinski) (2008, Trensmat)
  • Peri (Compilation) (2009, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Gazing At Shilla (Compilation) (2009, Important)
  • Just Once (Acoustic) (Single) (2010, Fire Records)
  • Bardo Pond / Carlton Melton (Split with Carlton Melton) (2011, Agitated)
  • The Clint Bunny CD-R (Live Album) (2014, Self-Released)
  • Without A Doubt b/w Heaven II (Single) (2014, Drawing Room)
  • Parallelogram (Split album with Yo La Tengo) (2015, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Refulgo (Compilation) (2015, Three Lobed Recordings)
  • Do The Big Bhang / Amazomes (Split with Kogumaza) (2015, Gold Unknown)
  • Acid Guru Pond (Collaboration with Guru Guru and Acid Mothers Temple) (2016, Fire Records)
  • Bardo Pond / Major Stars (Split with Major Stars) (2018, Chunklet; Third Uncle)
  • Live Amen (Live Split with Plastic Crimewave Syndicate) (2018, Galactic Tape Archive)


Current Lineup[]

  • Isobel Sollenberger - Flute, Vocals (1992 - Present)
  • Michael Gibbons - Guitar (1992 - Present)
  • John Gibbons - Guitar (1992 - Present)
  • Clint Takeda - Bass (1992 - Present)
  • Jason Kourkonis - Drums (Late 2000s - Present)
  • Aaron Igler - Synthesizer, Electronics (2001 - Present)

Past Members[]

  • Joe Culver - Drums (1992 - 2001)
  • Bob Sentz
  • Ed Farnsworth - Drums (2001 - late 2000s)

External Links[]