BABIES IN THE BARDO “Babies in the Bardo” C52 (Sister Cylinder)


Every time I look at this tape, I’m like, “Let’s throw another baby on the bardo!” You know, like my go-to phrase whenever I affect an Australian accent – let’s throw another shrimp on the barbie? You knew that’s what I say, right?


So forgetting the general awfulness of babies and barbies and whatnot, Babies in the Bardo isn’t just a fun thing to try and untrip your tongue over. It’s actually the solo minimal darkwave/post-punk (so easy) of Early Day Miners bassist Jonathan Richardson. You may remember Early Day Miners from their tours with and/or their comparisons to Grandaddy (which may only exist in my mind – I connected those two bands somehow, and I may be making this all up, because the internet is NOT confirming my suspicions); you may remember reading about them in blogs at some point back in the day. Either way, at least one of them is back – in tape form!


So “bardo” is the Tibetan Buddhist idea of being in the state between death and rebirth. And that makes sense here, as Richardson uses synth and chugging bass and percussion to get at that and other states of uncertainty, injecting emotional throughlines we can connect to and prop ourselves up against. And no vocals! Or guitars (besides the bass). But mostly vocals, because if anything will annoy me about anything, it’s vocals. But only the annoying ones. Annoying vocals annoy me. Richardson wisely eschews them, and we can thus project our own thoughts onto the music.


Babies in the Bardo is lean, its spartan approach a boon to its listenability. Richardson connects nicely to the universal aspects of his chosen genre.