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'Oneiric Formvlary'   

-  Label: 'Drag City'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '17th April 2020'-  Catalogue No: 'DC769'

Our Rating:
Sir Richard Bishop was, with brother Alan, a founding member of cult trio Sun City Girls whose career spanned 26 years before ending abruptly when drummer Charlie Gocher passed away.

Since then, Bishop has travelled widely, sold rare occult books, made a "diabolical experiment in mind control" in a film provocatively named 'God Damn Religion' and released an eclectic series of solo albums applying influences which range from Django Reinhardt to Hinduism.

His exotic past, finger picking skills and impressive beard got him lumped into the 'freak folk' genre though he never quite fit in with younger artists like Devendra Banhart or Animal Collective.

Bishop's masterly playing has more in common with John Fahey or Jack Rose but, in truth, any pigeon-hole you might be tempted to place Bishop in will inevitably prove to be too confining.

His latest all-instrumental album is as predictably unpredictable as we've come to expect. It is intriguingly billed as “a collection of dream states” and, on it, he flits restlessly between styles and switches between instruments to the point that you never quite know what's coming next.

He picks up an electronic lute for the self-explanatorily titled Renaissance Nod then immerses himself in nine minutes of dark-digitalized formlessness for Graveyard Wanderers. This is then followed by a sprightly Raga-esque ditty called Dust Devils to complete the mid-album disorientation process.

Fans of Sir Richard's six-string acoustic playing may feel short-changed but in four sublimely elegant pieces - Celerity, Enville, Black Sara and Vellum - he shows that he has lost none of his prodigious gifts in this department.

On electric guitar he's no slouch either and gives Robert Fripp a run for his money in the atmospheric The Coming of the Rats

In short, this album confirms Bishop as his own man and adds another chapter to his fascinating back catalogue.

Sir Richard Bishop's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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BISHOP, SIR RICHARD - Oneiric Formvlary