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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Bardo Pond
Cypher Documents I
Three Lobed Recordings

Rating: 8/10 ?


April 12, 2005
Literary theorist Bruno Bettelheim believed that the fairy tale was a way for children to experience the real world in a safe way. They could face the wolf like Little Red Riding Hood - or a witch like in Hansel and Gretel - without having to leave the protection of their comfy beds. Likewise, Bardo Pond's music lets the indie nerd take a psychedelic acid-trip without having to snort oxycontin with the late night Perkins cook named "Eggo."

Not that you have to be a stoner to enjoy Cypher Documents I; it could be the soundtrack to a night of toad licking, but it could just as well be the soundtrack to a lousy, gray day. I imagine the never-ending guitar riffs would sound incredible while on heroin, but I've also heard that scratching an itch on heroin is incredible, too. Even if you can't see the music, you can appreciate Bardo Pond's brand of spaced-out rock.

Between the releases of Set and Setting and Dilate, Bardo Pond released the songs found here as MP3s on their website. After a month, the songs were no longer available to download and did not appear in any other form until now (except "Living Testament" which was released as a limited bonus disc). Cypher Documents I is a collection of seven of those nine recordings and represents the first installment of a series that will continue to uncover the band's rare and unreleased materials.

As arcane as this sounds, Cypher Documents I is surprisingly accessible. Bardo Pond newbies will have no trouble getting sucked into the black hole effect created by the dense layers of guitar distortion on "Living Testament" and "YaYaYaYa." - nor will they be put off by the album's slower moments; the discordant strings of "Nomad" and the washed-out strums of "Quiet Tristin" are mysterious and haunting. Though the average track time comes to ten minutes, the songs are captivating enough to keep you listening to find out what will happen next.

The opus of the disc appears in the form of the 30 minute-plus "From the Sky," an extended version of one of the website tracks that had never before been released in its entirety. The expansive track is a suitable finish to an album that sprawls out all over the place, but lasting a half-hour does take a bit of patience, especially at the tail end of the CD.

Cypher Documents I is a good introduction to the world of psychadelica for those who have always wondered what shrooms are like, minus the druggy side effects. If this album is any indication, the Cypher Documents series should be an exciting one for burnouts and straight-edgers alike.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown

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