Release Date: Feb 16, 2015
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock
Sir Richard Bishop's records may be revered by guitar geeks for their sometimes staggering technical proficiency, but his equally astonishing command of a variety of global traditions and popular styles makes them equally, if not more attractive. He always provides a way in for virtually any listener to encounter whatever world(s) he is exploring. The Tangier Sessions is a different kind of record: First, he uses one instrument throughout, and it is as much about the instrument as the player.
Most Sir Richard Bishop records are more like well-curated mixtapes than albums. His last collection – the excellent Intermezzo – was a typical entry: virtuosic guitar instrumentals lurching from style to tone to genre to era to location and back again. Whether it’s whimsical jazz, menacing drone or elegant folk cycles, Sir Richard Bishop albums make no bones of stark juxtapositions of sound which accumulate into rich tapestries, held together by the expressive strength of his guitar playing.
In the 1920s, a reactionary trend began to take hold in classical music. Composers began to imitate and quote styles from centuries past: particularly, the music of Baroque and Classical masters like Bach and Mozart. Simplicity and symmetry became the order of the day, instead of density and sharp dissonance (hallmarks of the prevailing avant-garde).
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Sir Richard Bishop's musical life has been rich and varied. From creating wildly unpredictable jazz-punk during his 50-album and 26 year stint as part of Sun City Girls, to his status as co-founder of the radical label Sublime Frequencies - a company which has released unusual recordings from all around the globe, over the last decade.
It’s an unfortunate fact that instrumental music isn’t always the most listener friendly. The lack of vocals, compelling choruses, and overarching pop precepts often deters casual listeners from offering anything more than an appreciative nod rather than a commitment of time. Even some of the most renowned instrumental artists—Leo Kotke, Carlos Jobim and John Fahey, among them—found their appreciation limited to diehards and devotees.
Sir Richard Bishop has a better life than you. Exhibit A, last year he was wandering around the back streets of Geneva, Switzerland and sauntered into a guitar shop. Upon his asking for a small, travel-sized guitar, the salesman eventually pulled out a beautiful antique guitar, made somewhere around 1890, that produced so lovely a tone that Bishop sat for half an hour playing before asking how much it cost.
At the intersection between classical and progressive, in the liminal world between composition and improvisation you will find guitarist Sir Richard Bishop. Cofounder of both experimental-rock pioneers Sun City Girls and acclaimed world-music label Sublime Frequencies, Bishop on his own explores the globe-trotting past and border-smashing future of solo-guitar music. Recorded over the course of a week in Morocco, “Tangier Sessions” returns to the North African territory that made 2009’s “The Freak of Araby” such an astounding critical and artistic success.
Since his time with legendary post-everything group Sun City Girls, Sir Richard Bishop has shown himself to be master of a dizzying array of guitar techniques and traditions from around the world. He's knowledgeable and respectful regarding the history that feeds his music without being a twat about it (when I saw him open for Wolf Eyes last Halloween, he stopped a song midway to sardonically ask the crowd "is this racist?" before launching immediately back in, crumbling such questions into dust). He's a remarkable guitar player, a virtuoso even, a guitar darling for underground weirdos from all points of the globe (and it's a globe he's trotted plenty, if his involvement with the Sublime Frequencies label are any indication).
You know about the big releases each week, but what about those smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar. Don’t miss out on the smaller, lesser-known gems which might become some of your favourites. We’ve rounded up seven of the best new album releases from this week: discover ….