Sir Richard Bishop & His Freak of Araby Ensemble.
Los Angeles, California
May 29, 2009
Harry Partch (1901-1974) merely succeeded in realizing the most perfectly constructed, personal musical universe of the 20th Century. Shunning 12-tone equal temperament—which has dominated Western music for well over 100 years—he formed his own 43 tone scale realized through an antiquated pure tuning system known as Just Intonation. Harry then built his own strange, sculptural instruments to realize his exotic scores. Over several decades, he meshed this otherworldly-sounding music with dance and drama into what he called “corporeal” presentations, in which these three elements are fully integrated into a powerful, transporting whole. None of them were omitted or relegated to the background, as in traditional stage plays, classical concerts, etc.
Since 1979, Sir Richard Bishop has proven himself to be one of the hardest-working, multi-talented entertainers since Sammy Davis Jr. From 1981 to 2007, he tickled the public’s fancy with his guitar playing and singing for the Sun City Girls, an outfit that could veer from rock to jazz to free improv to hillbilly to avant-garde to performance art at the drop of a wooden nickel. Over the years, in addition to working as a seller of esoteric books, Rick has been helping his brother Alan, who played bass and sang in SCG, record and film myriad raw music performances from around the world for CD, LP and DVD releases on their Sublime Frequencies label, which was founded in 2003. Since 2005, Rick has also been touring far and wide to take his masterful solo acoustic guitar playing to the masses.
The Velvet Underground: Under Review is a 2006 documentary about the legendary 1960s rock band. As most living organisms know, the Velvets were one of the primary sperms to spawn punk, noise rock, goth and indie–but not, as some believe, Velveeta processed cheese. After they formed in 1965, the Velvets wasted no time bringing pure innovation to the table, as they seamlessly laminated the clever rock ‘n’ roll songs of singer / guitarist Lou Reed, the La Monte Young-inspired avant-garde drones of violist John Cale, the stern and foreboding vocals of Nico, the second guitar foundation of Sterling Morrison, and the caveman-like cymbal-less backbeat of drummer Moe Tucker into a beautiful, exotic, scintillating whole.