Composer Christopher Bono’s ambient-orchestral album BARDO is a personal and epic contemporary classical masterpiece that narrates the journey of the Bardos as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The work was written as a Requiem and as a guide to his childhood best friend, who passed at a young age. The concept album incorporates post-rock and ambient elements into classical writing. It's a truly unique work of art.
The work guides “The Fool” (a character derived from the ancient Tarot system), which illustrates the character’s cycle from despair and darkness, through the afterlife, transcendence, and finally rebirth. The album is accompanied by an illustrated booklet by DZO Olivier with descriptions of each Bardo and their transitions.
1. Bardo I: Enter The Mystic (11:08)
2. Rise Tower, Arise! (1:48)
3. Bardo II: The End of The Oligarchs(12:09)
4. The Dawning Space of Azure Light (3:07)
5. Bardo III: Enter The Void (10:28)
6. Endless Doors To Endless Wombs (7:04)
7. Bardo IV: Clouds Blooming At The Thought of Union (7:42)
BARDO was originally a site-specific work commissioned by Sympho Concerts and was premiered to a capacity crowd at the iconic Ann Hamilton Tower in Geyserville, CA in June 2012. Performers and audience members were immersed in the sonic experience by being positioned along the length of the entire structure on double-helix interior staircases. This vertical plane was taken into consideration for the compositional process and was later translated onto a horizontal level for the larger orchestral recording. The work has a vivid and exciting future as a modern dance multimedia production currently being scheduled in Florida and New York.
Complementing the album will be a 20-30 minute documentary directed by Ilú Media and a series of inspired illustrations by Christopher Bono’s close collaborator, DZO Olivier. DZO Olivier has created six remarkably vibrant and detailed images narrating the core story of BARDO, which have been woven into a beautiful package for the CD and limited edition vinyl.
The narrative of BARDO was inspired by four fields of reference: The Tarot System, The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, sound healing/esoteric sound theories, and sacred geometry. The first movement, “Bardo I: Enter the Mystic,” marks the genesis of the psycho-spiritual journey of the Tarot System’s Fool. It begins from a place of isolated desperation, and this initial darkness culminates in “Bardo II: The End of the Oligarchs” with the destruction of the archetypal Tower, representing the social and psychological constructs of man.
The second half of the album chronicles the “in-between” experience as described in the ancient Tibetan Book of the Dead. In “Bardo III: Enter The Void” the music guides the Fool through a series of difficult psychological experiences leading to a liberated state, where a wondrous, spinning tunnel of visual and sonic phenomenon inspires ascension. From a place of infinite possibility, “Bardo IV: Clouds Blooming at the Thought of Union” moves the Fool through what the Tibetans call the Sidpa Bardo, or the Bardo of transmigration. In this final Bardo, the Fool arrives at the door to his next embodied life, where he fulfills the karmic destiny created by the loving embrace of his future parents. Each movement is preluded by ambient portals that act as passageways to the varying environments of each movement.
￼￼￼Written & Produced by Christopher Bono
Orchestral Sessions produced by Adam Abeshouse & Christopher Bono
Orchestral Sessions recorded at Dvorak Hall, Prague, Czech Republic
Orchestral Sessions Engineered by Gary Chester
Additional Engineering: Christopher Bono, Trevor Fedele, Joe Yonkers, Pete Caigan
The ambient instruments and guitars were recorded at the Great Togetherness Hall of Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY (www.bluecliffmonastery.org)
Percussion and Overdubs recorded at Apollo 37 Studios, Woodstock, NY
Artwork by DZO Olivier
Mixed by Silas Brown & Christopher Bono
Mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk
Published by Songs for Penderhughes (ASCAP)
Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra- 16 Violins, 8 Violas, 6 Cellos, 4 Doublebass, Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Oboe, English Horn, Bassoon, Trumpet, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Euphonium,Tuba
Teddy Abrams- Orchestral Conductor
Peter Pycha- Orchestral Contractor
Christopher Bono- Vocals, Electronics, Guitar, Mixing, Percussion, Crystal & Tibetan Bowls, Ambient instruments
Javier Diaz- Bass Drum, Snare, Cymbals, Timpani, Thai Gongs, Tam-Tam, Toms, Shakers, Tubular Bells, Crotales, Brake Drum
Philippe Garnier- Vocals
Bora Yoon- Vocals