Bardo Pond – Ticket Crystals – Double LP


The sixth studio album from Philadelphia’s foremost purveyors of psychedelic space rock is due for a LP only reissue on Fire Records. Appearing for the first time on heavy weight vinyl and with brand new artwork by Joy Feasley, Bardo Pond’s 2006 album Ticket Crystals exemplifies the quintet’s signature doom tempo, multi-layered drones while introducing a lighter pastoral feel.

“Ticket Crystals is the most diverse effort of Bardo Pond’s 15-year existence, and not coincidentally, is often considered their finest. Philadelphia’s most psychedelic small band (the Sun Ra Arkestra has the town’s big band niche all wrapped up for all time) has always traded in contrasts, particularly those between vocalist Isobel Sollenberger’s echo-soaked flute and vocals, and John and Michael Gibbons’ wall of guitars. Here they also vary in density and style. “Destroying Angel” opens with a reflective, solitary acoustic statement, then tumbles like a volcano’s collapsing walls into a staggering, massive full-band blast lit from within by the disconsolate keening of Sollenberger and guest singer Christina Carter. They also juxtapose forwards and backwards motion; on “Lost Word,” guitars and chimes flicker in retreat across the stereo spectrum like a time-lapse movie of the day’s cloud movements run from dusk to dawn while Solenberger moans in advance of delicate picking, which in turn is dogged by dive-bombing electric distortion and woodwinds that pitch and weave like intoxicated sparrows.

In keeping with the band’s quasi-Buddhist name, there’s something pretty Tantric about Ticket Crystals. Songs take their time, withholding quick and easy pay-offs in order to build to a full-body throb of intertwining melodies and unfurling instrumental excursions. Tellingly, the best track is the longest, and also the farthest from Bardo Pond’s stoned trudge. On “FC II,” sawing violins and share murky space with watery wah-wah guitars while the rhythm section of Clint Takeda and Ed Farnsworth waxes almost dubby. Imagine Augustus Pablo mixing Tony Conrad and Faust’s Inside the Dream Syndicate with Miles Davis’s “He Loved Him Madly” and you’re almost there.”

By Bill Meyer for Dusted

BARDO POND on Ticket Crystals are:
Isobel Sollenberger – vocals / flute
Michael Gibbons – guitar
John Gibbons – guitar
Clint Takeda – bass
Ed Farnsworth – drums

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