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Sir Richard Bishop

While My Guitar Violently Bleeds

(Locust; US: 19 Jun 2007; UK: Available as import)

This is actually the earlier of two Sir Richard Bishop solo guitar records from 2007. If we consider Polytheistic Fragments to be a series of entrancing day trips suitable for the most casual traveler, then While My Guitar Violently Bleeds is three longer treks over more rugged terrain. The first piece “Zurvan”, named for the creator in Persian mythology, sets off forcefully with Bishop alternating between wild dervish-like bursts of speed and long, striding chords. On “Smashana” he moves slower and more viciously as if grinding electric guitars awash in primordial sludge. In the midst of this gritty catharsis there are moments of beauty but the final track “Mahavidya” (depicting the 10 female aspects of the god Shiva) is probably the pearl: he brings back the acoustic guitar from the opening track and embarks on a ritualistic journey of repetition and exploration. Bishop is a virtuoso with such range, dexterity, and unpredictability that his facial resemblance to legendary cricketing all-rounder Sir Ian Botham, who was deadly with both bat and ball, seems entirely fitting .

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