Bardo Pond / Carlton Melton Split LP
Out now on AGITATED RECORDS
Bardo Pond/Carlton Melton
Released: Monday 31 October 2011
I missed a chance to see Bardo Pond live recently and I’ve got to say listening to ‘Fallen’, their side of this split release with fellow psychedelic troubadours Carlton Melton, doesn’t help. An incredible, sprawling, 20-minute monolith that reaches those deep down, psychedelic regions that Jefferson Airplane just can’t reach anymore. This is dense, disorientating music; thick with drones, fucked guitars, flutes (yep, flutes) and distant, spacey vocals from front woman Isobel Sollenberger. The vocals don’t appear until about 15 minutes into the track, so don’t go expecting any sort of recognizable song structure. Bardo Pond make roaming, immersive and trance-inducing pieces that could quite happily go on for hours. It’s an intense and all-consuming ride through the noise-rock underground and one I can’t recommend enough.
As Bardo Pond’s track gradually subsides it’s followed by the equally epic Carlton Melton piece, ‘Slow Growth’. The track fades in with slowly building electronics and a dusty, wind-swept drone; the title couldn’t be more apt. At once soothing and mildly unnerving, Carlton Melton make music for your mind. It’s around the five-minute mark that crunching, doom-rock indebted guitars come in, perfectly balanced with the rather pretty instrumentation now going on in the background. If I were to draw comparisons I’d say there’s something of the Vibracathedral Orchestra’s hypnotic, circling majesty in ‘Slow Growth’. It’s around the 12-minute mark, however, that ‘Slow Growth’ turns its hand to punishing, skull-splitting noise as the drone becomes almost overpowering. It’s a powerful piece of music but definitely not one for the faint-of-heart.
Together, these two tracks make up a truly impressive 40-minutes of noise, drone and modern psychedelia. To describe this release as a split EP would be somewhat misleading as it’s longer than a lot of full-length albums. However you choose to categorize it, Bardo Pond and Carlton Melton have made something with genuine scope; a dark, intoxicating slice of mind-altering psychedelia. Enjoy.