Sir Richard Bishop returns with a brand new album, entitled Tangier Sessions, which Drag City are releasing on 16th February 2015. Today we can share the album opener, “Frontier” which The Quietus have called…”a prime example, not only of his guitar’s resonant qualities but of Bishop’s deft, dexterous playing.” Inherently mesmerising, this bold composition conveys the honesty and pure expression in the relationship between Bishop and his cherished instrument, in a manner which can be best described as uniquely beautiful.
Utilising this new and mysterious guitar, “Frontier” is an enduringly majestic composition, one of several songs on Tangier Sessions to feature Sir Richard playing without a plectrum for the first time. With the fingers of his right hand matching up digit for digit with the fingers of his left, an arresting, hypnotising space comes to life, one that will be familiar yet particularly far out to all who hear it – experienced listeners and virgins of the “Frontier” alike. For those saddling for the first time, such expressiveness from Sir Richard is to be expected and he’s no stranger to improvisation. Yet the complexity brought forth on “Frontier,” and found on the entirety of Tangier Sessions, is only compounded by the context.
As a reminder, the Tangier Sessions story goes like this…on the lookout for something playable – yet portable – last year while living in Geneva, Sir Richard Bishop stumbled into an obscure luthier’s shop in a shadowy lane off the high road. He was unable to find what he was looking for, but as he was leaving, the old shopkeep reached behind an ancient, dusty cabin and produced a model identified only by a tiny sticker inside– “C. Bruno” it read. With no other recognisable attributions, it was clearly an old piece– likely made in the mad, final days of the 19th century. And as for the sound, just to touch it was to hear an instrument of unusual depth, and the experience of playing it was equally exquisite. Sir Richard Bishop describes the experience in his own words as follows…”there was something about it, something I couldn’t quite determine. The guitar had a strange energy, making me wonder about it’s provenance. The sound was amazing. I couldn’t put it down“. But the price forced Sir Rick to put it down and walk out, empty-handed. A couple days later, he was back, to play it again… and back again a couple days after that, his wallet stuffed fat with Swiss Francs. It was as if he’d been enchanted…or cursed.
Later in the summer, in the company of said guitar, Bishop holed up for a week in a rooftop apartment in Tangier, Morocco. He spent his time feverishly playing; at night, the pieces on this record were improvised and recorded.
Nobody plays the guitar quite like Sir Richard Bishop – and on Tangier Sessions, he’s found a guitar that nobody but him plays, either.
2. Bound In Morocco
3. Safe House
6. International Zone
7. Let It Come Down