The lofty American guitarist and experimentalist Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls, Rangda et al.) or Sir Rick to his friends, returns after fives years of travel and exploration with Oneiric Formulary. It is his first album since the rather brilliant Tangier Sessions. His last two albums have been based around specific themes. Here the theme is much looser as he creates a collection of dream states, using different instruments on every track, drawing on different sounds from around the world.
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Look, I don’t want to come across as a cynic, but I’m starting to doubt if Sir Richard Bishop has even met the queen. Looking through this list of musicians awarded knighthoods I’m seeing a lot of Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger but no Richard Bishop. Hmm.
So we know he’s a liar, but what else is Sir Richard Bishop? If latest album ‘Oneiric Formulary’ is anything to go on (and we can only assume that it is) he’s a talented and playful musician, interested in the various places instrumental music can take us. His main instrument is the guitar, which takes the centre stage on the majority of the album. ‘Celerity’ is a dramatically strummed affair, the sort of piece that would soundtrack Clint Eastwood having a rough time. ‘Renaissance Nod’ is more patient and atmospheric. The Liar Bishop anchors the piece by plucking at the strings, and letting them ring out.
But there’s more to Bishop the Dishonest than the humble guitar. ‘Mit's Linctus Codeine Co.’ sounds like a recently unearthed piece of hold music from the 50s. Opener ‘Call to Order’ is a haunting ambient piece with pained strings, though it’s got nothing on ‘Graveyard Wanderers’. As its name implies, this one’s spooky. Nine minutes of concrète made of wind, water, and tortured souls. Be sure to keep the lights on.
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