O÷phoi "Bardo" CD
Even if "Bardo" was released long time ago, back in 2002 on Russian Electroshock Records, with this review I would like to pay a little tribute to sole protagonist of O÷phoi, Gianluigi "Gigi" Gasparetti, who has recently passed away after a long fight with illness at the age of 55 years. I consider "Bardo" as one of the most treasured and influential works of this Italian drone shaman. Yes, undoubtedly "Bardo" is absolutely fascinating sonic voyage beyond the gates, accomplishing the state of sheer contemplation and transcendence. Based on Bardo, which means in Tibetan Buddhism a state between death and rebirth, the intermediate state. There are six states of Bardo, the album focuses on four of them. The journey unfolds with "Samten Bardo - Contemplation" (Bardo of Meditation), which dives deeply into mammoth sonic cave, where monstrous drone tsunami is occasionally reinforced by various primordial reverberations, ominous voices and tremulous hums. An ultimate sonic therapy!!! And appropriate exercise for your speakers too... Drone meditations have never sounded more grandiose and immersing, this is a track for your Throne of Drones!!! Flatlined drones invade "Chikai Bardo - Dissolution" (Bardo of the Course of Death), but soon they are united with eerie, hallucinogenic voices and assorted industrialized dissonances (some of them evoking screeching sounds of the passing train). Stunningly weird, but intense and stimulating deep trance-ambient solitudes. Ear- and mind-bending too... This deeply meditative drone odyssey overlaps also to the next composition, "Chonyi Bardo - A Path Of The Lights" (Bardo of the After-death). Intriguing mystery soon reveals, when exotic embellishments and sparse gongs and bells join this long-form piece, clocking to 29 minutes. After about 8 minutes Tibetan Buddhist Monks begin chanting their prayers along with ear-tickling percussions here and there and shift this composition into absolutely essential and magnificent high-altitude plateau. Slowly droning and gradually expanding into gracefully spectacular pilgrimage site. Yes, this is a truly unforgettable aural adventure that everyone must experience to reach this spiritual oasis!!! This is for me, along with David Parsons' "Mani", a true Sagarmāthā among the Tibetan Buddhism-infused ambient contemplations!!! "Sipai Bardo - Crossing The Bridge Of Existence The Eternal Cycle" (Bardo of the Rebirth within Samsara) blossoms with low rumbling drone expansions, ghostly voices and diverse noisier disruptions, and smoothly cascades and culminates through immense, mysteriously permeated terrains, before reaching powerfully intense pinnacle, a grand finale I must say!!! "Bardo" is one of the many milestones in O÷phoi's amazing discography!!! But the words are pouring very hard and I am not ashamed of tears in my eyes as the Lord of unfathomable drones now continues his journey beyond the gates of this world with kindred spirits such as Klaus and Kristian. Grazie Gigi, grazie grande O÷phoi, you will never be forgotten!!!
Richard GŘrtler (Apr 20, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)