This year i really got into Bardo Pond. I found an old copy of their 1996 album Amanita in a used store and fell in love. Amanita is a swirling mess of guitar noise. It's really quite cool in that "pre-Daydream Nation Sonic Youth" sort of way.
I then spent some time tracking down other Bardo Pond releases. Lapsed is pretty good. It's a little more "rock" and a little less "noise" than Amanita, but still has some really nice guitars and some seriously neat sonic textures.
Set and Setting is the third album i tracked
down by Bardo Pond. It's also their most recent, which is why
i felt that it should be discussed here.
Quite honestly, this album disappoints me tremendously. Gone is the glorious noise of the other two Bardo Pond CD's that i have. Instead, the guitars are so over-produced that rather than sounding fuzzy they sound like Hendrix or Clapton in their "louder" moments. You know, Hendrix on his knees going beserk over his guitar -- making it whine and scream and buzz. Yeah dude! Wooooodstock! Woo hoo!
Whatever. It all just sounds like poorly produced over-feedbacky
blues to me. As if, for some reason, Bo Diddley asked Thurston
Moore to produce his new album, and they spent too much time
in the studio smoking and tweaking the knobs on the sound board
until everything just whined!
On earlier Bardo Pond releases, the guitars were so distorted that you weren't even sure they were guitars. (Which made BP remind me of Flying Saucer Attack, except there is never a hint of dance beat in BP!) However, on Set and Setting you are made oh so aware that their are guitars. No, not guitars, but GEETARS! You are beat over the head with the fact that Bardo pond are a guitar band.
And that disappoints me. I didn't want Bardo Pond to be a guitar
rock blues jam out band. They might be a little louder and more
melancholy than, say, Widespread Panic, but really, volume and
minor keys are they only difference at this point.
So my verdict -- if you find this for a buck, it's worth that much. If you want some quality noise track down one of the other two discs i mentioned. They are worth hearing.