Sir Richard Bishop’s time as a member of Sun City Girls (and being something of a global co-archivist for the Sublime Frequencies label) has served him well. On Polytheistic Fragments, his second solo release of the year, there is a dizzying variety which cannot fail to please anyone with a fondness for guitar instrumentals. The laser-like heat of “Hecate’s Dream” seems to imagine the desert around Paris, Mars even more than it resembles an excerpt from the Paris, Texas soundtrack. Elsewhere, the album recalls the deft picking of Adrian Legg, raga, and an African take on the blues.
When Bishop uses a clean reverb tone on “Canned Goods & Firearms”, he sounds like the Ventures on speed. He swings like crazy on “Elysium Number Five” and his approach throughout is convincingly precise, detailed and engaging. A stately and minimal piano provides contrast on “Saraswati”. The gritty “Rub’ Al Khali” gives off a heady odor of Jimmy Page, and the sublime “Ecstasies in the Open Air” could pass for the missing link between Eno’s Another Green World and mid-period Pink Floyd. Polytheistic Fragments is a veritable treat for fans of guitar music from yesterday, today and tomorrow.