Baikal to kolejny poboczny projekt muzyków zespołu Bardo Pond, tym razem w składzie: John i Michael Gibbons, Clint Takeda oraz Jason Kourkonis. Pod szyldem tym wydali tylko jeden album w starym dobrym stylu, mamy tu jak zwykle konkretną, ciężką psychodeliczną improwizację zawartą na jedynie dwóch długich utworach.
The Bardo Pond brothers, John and Michael Gibbons, team with bandmembers Clint Takeda and Jason Kourkonis for this two-track, 69-minute loopy, expansive, free-form foray into acid-drenched psychedelia called Baikal. The sticker on the package refers to Last Exit, but this is about as far as it gets from that dense space, no matter how outside it gets. One can think more in terms of the improvisational aspects of the Bevis Frond or a more guitar-centric Grails for this puppy. The Gibson brothers have learned to play some very inventive guitar that references the blues, the snakier, elongated Jimi Hendrix, and the drip, drip, drip of Eddie Hazel at his slowest, though they might also couch themselves in Randy California and Uli Jon Roth, too. It hardly matters because this is jamming in the best sense of the word -- setting up the instruments to see what happens -- on these two cuts, no matter how spacy, the groove -- bottom-heavy, belly shaking yet solid, courtesy of Clint Takeda -- is the thing. He never leaves that profane world of bottom-slinking excellence no matter how far drummer Kourkonis or the Gibson brothers go afield. "Hanafuda," the briefer cut at just under half-an-hour also features some wildly spacious synth courtesy of Aaron Ingler (who has been listening to his early Hawkwind records a lot, and yeah, that's a great thing) and percussionist Jeremiah Misfeldt. It's the faster cut of the two, but still wanders through all sorts of visceral and dreamy territory with sound and guitar clashes weaving all through the center toward the edges creating a Möbius strip-like effect. Baikal is some seriously enlightening, dangerous vision music and absolutely essential for anyone interested in psychedelic guitar groove old or new. (Thom Jurek)