#59

September 17, 2010

Sir Richard BishopWhile My Guitar Violently Bleeds
American primitivism, instrumental, solo guitar, drone
2007

While My Guitar Violently Bleeds, by prolific ex-Sun City Girls guitarist Sir Richard Bishop, is a curiously disjointed album. It showcases two pieces of highly accomplished American Primitivism – one lengthy (“Zurvan”) and one extremely lengthy (“Mahavidya”) – separated by a ten minute palate-cleanser of dense electric guitar noise (“Smashana”). Bishop proves himself to be a learned and versatile student of the six-string, as he incorporates a large variety of different styles of folk music, drawn from all over the world, into his guitar playing. “Zurvan”, which clocks in at just shy of seven minutes, is a quick-paced piece, functioning primarily within a neo-flamenco style, and it showcases some really great rapid fire passages that integrate very loose strumming with rising and falling arpeggios and exciting fingerwork. “Mahavidya”, on the other hand, is a gradual, contemplative, twenty-fire minute long slow-boiler, shifting through sparse, repeating guitar lines before finally reaching its exciting and dynamic finale. It fills its massive runtime surprisingly effortlessly, definitely feeling like a much shorter track than it actually is, plus it stands as one of the most distinctly emotive instrumental tracks I’ve ever heard. American Primitivism is a genre renowned for its Sir Richard Bishop - While My Guitar Violently Bleedsexpert fingerwork, and this album is definitely no exception – Bishop is stunningly nimble in his guitarwork, displaying a level of dexterity so proficient that it strains one’s belief. This plays beautifully off the album’s “up close” style of recording, which not only creates an intimate atmosphere but also allows the listener to better appreciate the complex movements involved as every strum, slip, slide, drop and hammer is captured in crisp detail.

(not from this album)

#90

July 9, 2010

Belong – October Language
ambient, drone, noise
2006

Too minimal and unstructured to be shoegazer. Too fuzzy to be ambient. October Language is virtually impossible to classify, and it’s challenging, enthralling listening from start toBelong - October Language finish. Occasionally bearing a slight resemblance to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works: Vol 2, Belong’s debut release consists entirely of guitar drone, distortion and glitch, which combine to create an overall soundscape that will absolutely immerse you. While Aphex Twin’s masterpiece had repeating motifs for you to cling to, Belong offers no such luxury – the tracks drift and flow in a seemingly random manner, with elements of the instrumentation withering away without warning, only to reemerge (with just as little warning) at a later point. All this makes the album sound organic and totally directionless. This is unique, unpredictable and haunting music, and it’s quite unlike anything else you’ve heard before.