Bardo Todol y sus aves sin nido: Tape Morditorium

Navel-Gazers #53 is an interview with Bardo Todol a.k.a. Pablo Picco who is going to talk to us about Tape Morditorium. This is an album whose title caught my ear, and it’s nearly getting me spell-checked as well. After verifying that the name is not in fact “tape moratorium” - which, why would it be, from an artist who releases tapes with such staggering frequency? - I’m anticipating a fun discussion. Perusing the Bardo Todol page on Bandcamp one is immersed within a catalogue of colourful artwork and titles… upon closer inspection I also note the prevalence of collaborative albums in the discography, often with artists not located anywhere near Pablo’s home in Córdoba province, Argentina… and in our correspondence thus far, I detect that same international collaborative spirit. As for the music, Bardo Todol is candy to my navel-gazing ears - it’s as though I’ve received an experimental-music advent calendar of syrupy, handheld aural delights, all leading up to this recent release whose liner notes describe an “imaginary studio-auditorium” with massive analog machinery which Pablo has conjured for us in a daydream. Can we listeners, as he suggests, inhabit such a place? Let’s venture into the world of Bardo Todol.

AC: Thanks for joining me on Navel-Gazers! Before we talk about ‘Tape Morditorium’, first of all who are you Pablo? Tell us about your background. Who or what is Bardo Todol? And who are those nestless birds (the “aves sin nido”)?

Pablo Picco: FIRST off!

THANks for all this support and the time to enjoy our "Tape Morditorium". It is really good to share this sounds with people, experimental and tape lover people that enjoy this distorted and dirty sounds jejeje.

I started the Bardo Todol thing just in 2014-17 just to make some sounds from my own personal recordings. I ve been part of the Ø+yn group since 2004 (we edit tapes through some psychedelic folk improv labels of that time).. and then.. the BArdo Todol thing came up.

The name is taken from the "tibetan book of the dead" (which is wrongly traduced... the real name was "the liberation through hearing" .. cause.. in a way the importat thing is to hear or say the words... etc..)

Also "Bardo" in Argentinian spanish means something like "mess", "noisy", "raw" ...

So.. it was quit e good name to start.

On the BArdo TOdol side I was experimenting with all kind of tapes.. cause my older daughter was just born.. and the best way to record music was thought tapewith dictaphones.. in different parts of the house or any situation that was proper.

With time.. those recordings were mixed.. and took from the real context to another... to form altered places and landscapes... mixing and adding some stuf... and then cutting the tracks... erasing and muting others after some months, etc...

The "Aves sin Nido " thing.. came.. when just Cina and Nico (our son and daughter) were more "Active" with their sounds on the recordings...

I guess.. I use that name only when I make more sounds related to "air" or "breath" ... rather than more taped sounds???

I started to record more of these kinds of bird whistles that my father in love gave me... in 2019. .. then the clarinet and the trumpet and the four track and the reel to reel recorders came... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

AC: I’ve noticed that you sometimes refer to Bardo Todol as “we” - at first I thought this might be what’s here in Britain called the “Royal We”! But you mention your son and daughter participating… do you have any other local collaborators in Córdoba?

Pablo Picco: mmm wel.. when it comes to experimental music.. sometimes it feels a little bit less lonely to say ¨us¨ instead of ¨i¨ or ¨me¨!

I truly believe that we are all this solitaire beings... navigating the existence. It´s not a bad thing at all!

Als.. I decided to Add the ¨Aves sin Nido¨ as a somewhat joke... In Spanish there are a lot of bands (old music projects) that has the name of the main artist in front of the group... say.. ¨Iggy Pop and the Stooges¨... : _D

And this is somewhat a way to try to present Bardo Todol as a ¨band¨ or maybe ¨family project maybe ..

Bardo Todol y sus Aves sin Nido... even though... is only one person behind the ¨full¨ band..

I read and watch a lot of years ago.. that this band Volcano the Bear (a truly magnificent project)... some of the dudes there said that ¨When you became a group... it´s better to avoid the idea of ¨band¨... and I believe that it's a good concept cause the ¨sounds¨ that we made are always changing and doesn´t need to have al the members playing at the same time...

: _D

ALSOOOOO: I think that the best number of people involving a project are the duos.

The duos.. are fantastic... : _D

AC: I can see that you like duos!


AC: Let’s talk about ‘Tape Morditorium’. What’s the background of this release? I like your liner notes about the studio-auditorium which we are invited to imagine. But at the risk of draining all the mystery away, what are we actually hearing over these 20 minutes? What are the source sounds?

Pablo Picco: Well. there is this series of recordings on 4 track recordings (that I began with the tape we release on the Crazy Doberman label Workingman Laydown (now Flat Plastic Media!).

I remember I was experimenting with the trumpet and the 4 track and all those messy tapes and textures are the main base of the recording. I record A LOT.. in FACT.. I am BASICALLY RECORDING ALL THE TIME! ;/ D

I record a lot.. and then put all those tapes in a box.. forget about them.. for months.. maybe years.. and then came to mix them again... and see if the sounds got any better.. there .. in that "static" status.

I just go out with my daily to the center of the town (we live somewhat in the country side) and all the time I record with dictaphones.

So I combine all those field recordings, noises and things.

I can say that I am not sure about which thing or when I record the stuff.. It's all mixed and cuted (and also trashed) in order to fit a narrative.

I like to think that "Tape Morditorium" and La Trompeta Morse Walrus Concreta (the tape on Workingman...) are something like "Tape Jazz".

But I don't know... I mix with other instruments as whistles and some broken synths and concrete noises.. and really.. maybe.. "Fairy Tale Tape Jazz Noise" ... that might be the best invented "genre" that I can come up with!

AC: There’s a section I find particularly interesting - from around 4:22 of Track 1, there are these repeated clicking sounds of something opening and closing. Sometimes, as in 4:52, when the click happens all the other sounds change along with it. What is happening in this sequence?

Pablo Picco: The best part of the exchanges are when all the sound "sculputres" share the secrets and stuff with the others! that's great!

; /D

Wellll... I am putting here several audio samplers... from the same sounds but from different sources.. say.. percussions with regular tapes.. and percussion with reeel to reel tapes.. and some percussions in the "raw" format.. i think.. and the CLANK CLANK that sounds.. is the main jey of the reel to reel tape.

Sound Studio 80s
I like when there are several same sounds in different perspectives..

And.. there you go.. we have killed the mysterious aura of the sound ; /(


But still.. this would be a bad even if the sounds were actually "alive"... but they are all dead.

Even you and I... we are already dead.

. /D

I have also this idea of this zombie army walking behind me each time i use the 4 track recorded and reel to reel tape.. it's like.. I play something.. and there is this zombi behind me playing the loop.. this distorted loop.. somewhat without any "brain"... any "intelligence" around the instrument... and also with that sound decay...

"Bardo Todol and the marching zombies" that might be the proper name of the project...

AC: What about the birds at the end of the second side? Are those real birds or are they the bird-whistles from your father-in-law?

Can birds make music?

What is music?

Pablo Picco: ERM.. that was actually a whistle but it was not included in my father in law box.... It was an ads on that my wife bought at the very beginning of 2022. Sounds spectacular cause it it's a double "plunger flute" with two different pitches sounding together... sooo.. it's really one of the best we have..


Birds erm.. certainly make music.. or maybe as "humans" we interpret their different signings as "music"... cause it's has this different melodies and pitches and turns... very "similar" to melodic music...

but stil.. there are some birds that try to sing.. (and very few can't sing or make a sound at all) ...

Did you know that famous phrase of Werner Herzog saying that birds do not sing... they are in fact "screaming for sex" or something like that...,.,,.,.

; /D


I believe.. that us.. as experimentalists we reinvent the meaning or forms of music... and we fail and fail and fail... eternally.. ajjaja

But I am very happy to be "against '' the normal concepts of music.. I trully believe that we force the sounds and the paths of what people normally think. I believe that also most of the people also on the "alternative taste" have a very shy approach of experimentalism... But still.. it's just a thought...

we are approaching something with sound and it's good.

Also.. I accept the fact that we (or at least I) can be horribly mistaken by this kind of approach... I don't know if we are on the good path either!

AC: I always say that all “normal” music was experimental originally!

Pablo Picco: In a way., yes.. all these experiments that are more know today than year an years ago.. where at first "experimental music".... the use of loop nowadays are 100% invention of experimental music... sooooo

AC: What is Córdoba province like? I’ve been to Buenos Aires and Patagonia.

Pablo Picco: Córdoba its in the very middle of argentina.

It's a very humid and green province.

It has this vast zone of plain terrain in which the agroindustrial , the crops business grow... and then there is this portion of "sierras" hills that is the place where I live.

I love them. They are always changing by the season (of course) but still. nature talks ito us in different ways.. and they are all amazing ways that connect us to the most ancient ways of living... That is seeing and feeling the seasons as the develop in the time of year...

They way the sun affect us.. and the cold winds, etc.

Also.. the GREAT GREAT GREAT amount of bird species.. very different from each other and are inhabiting the different trees species... jaj (we have talñked to this earlier)

The city of Córdoba has this big big university that many many tennagers attend from other parts of the country.

That´s were I lived from early 2000s to 2015... I attend my first" experimental" music shows there.. around the city.

But I think that was my growing interest toward more "textural" music that pushed me to listen more of this kind of stuff on the internet.

AC: Sounds like a mystical place.

I’ve enjoyed talking to you. You have a way with words, which makes for a nice interview! What are you up to next, anything you’d like to mention for our readers?

Pablo Picco: THANKS!

This was gooood!

ERm... there are some more Tapes and an LP coming this year... Some collaborations that I made some months ago from artist from CHile and Mr. Harwood.. on Penultimate Press.. The album features more that.. that freak folk sounding.. rather than the ¨tapes¨ thing... more ritual... less concrete..

Also there is this triple tape on Sucata tapes with field recordings, noises sounds and all those kind of things that I record in the amazon city of Iquitos, Perú... in 2020... at the very very beginning of the pandemic... .,,.

And more stuff.f.f.f. more.. from tapes and "concrete music" making

All tapes and albums that.. erm.. When I see in retrospective.. I don't know why we keep making or doing jajajaja

But still it makes a lot of sense!



Pablo a.k.a. Bardo Todol can can be found at

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