The Quietus recently spoke with Sir Richard Bishop about the new Rangda album, his decision to stream all his solo albums for free and of course, his upcoming Supersonic experience. Richard’s live performances are never less than incredible, and it sounds as though this is a musician who is truly firing on all cylinders at the moment –
[Rangda has] certainly become more confident working together since the first record came out. That only happens over time. You have to remember, the first time the three of us actually played music together was two days before the recording of False Flag, so we didn’t have much of a chance to get to know each other musically on a direct experiential level. That came later when we began touring, working things out on the battlefield, in the trenches, so to speak. But now, I know we’re capable of doing anything we want in a musical sense. It’s just up to us to determine what that will be.
You can read the entire interview here, and you can watch both Sir Richard Bishop and rangda perform at this year’s Supersonic festival on Saturday 20th October.
Six Organs Of Admittance‘s Ben Chasny is an artist as prolific as he is chameleonic, with his recorded output ranging from sunny, free flowing folk to shimmering dronescapes and scorching elongated jams. You can never be completely sure what Chasny has in store for you when it comes to the band’s live performances, but the news that he will be accompanied for his Supersonc set by his former Comets On Fire band mates, Ben Flashman and Utrillo Kushner, may indicate that this could be one of his more intensive, psych-rock oriented sets. A recent review of this lineup in the LA Times described their set as thus:
Throughout the night, bassist Ben Flashman and drummer Utrillo Kushner laid down syrupy Post-Black Sabbath structures over which Chasny and rhythm guitarist Noel Von Harmonson roamed, locking into a groove for chunks of songs before loosely and gracefully turning themselves over to instrumental exploration, usually focused on Chasny’s solos.
Speaking to the Quietus, Chasny explained the reasoning for reunited with Flashman and Kushner:
I think the key energy was just getting back together with a group of friends that hadn’t all played music together in quite some time. The fact that we were all in Comets is sort of secondary to the fact that we have all played music for a long time and toured hard and knew each other pretty well sonically. It’s definitely not a Comets reunion. I mean, I don’t really think we’ve ever broken up. There has never been a point where Comets said, “We are done.” We’ve just been concentrating on other things for a while.
Chasny fans are spoilt for choice this year, as the guitarist will also be performing as part of experimental supergroup Rangda alongside Sir Richard Bishop and Chris Corsano. In the same interview, Chasny mentioned the different musical chemistries between each different group:
After playing together in Rangda I think we have a closer musical relationship now. It’s not so much a something that can be exactly pinned down as it is a more subconscious way of acting and reacting with each other. The same goes for the guys in Comets. I think as any group of people play music with each other they start to understand the space that they operate in more and more in relationship to each other.
We’re extremely excited to welcome the multi-faceted psychedelic improv monster known as Rangda to the stage. Taking its name from an Indonesian child-eating demon queen, this experimental unit features three prominent avant-garde musicians, namely Ben Chasny, Chris Corsano and Sir Richard Bishop, who will also be performing their own sets over the weekend too. If you’re yet to become acquainted with these three, here’s a quick introduction and a few reasons why their sets this year are going to be unmissable…
The trio released their debut album, ‘False Flag’, back in 2010, much to the delight of experimental music fans across the globe. The howling, untamed improvisations contained within simultaneously bring to mind the wide eyed free jazz of Ornette Coleman, the blistering noise rock of Boredoms and the free-wheeling cosmic energy of Can. ‘Fist Family’ finds Corsano exorcising his demons and unleashing hell upon his poor kit, as Chasny and Bishop’s guitars howl away at the moon like highly strung lions. ‘Sarcophagi’ ventures into calmer waters, with tender, shimmering guitar licks playing off against Corsano’s beautifully restrained drumming, whilst the aptly titled ‘Serrated Edges’ sees frantic, kaleidoscopic Hendrix-isms colliding with intricate, jazzy cymbal splashes and gleeful snare abuse. The vast, meditative psychedelia and slowly unfurling vibrations of 15 minute closer ‘Plain of Jars’ round off this aural journey in spectacular fashion.
Anticipation is running high in certain circles for the band’s follow up, ‘Formerly Extinct’ due to be released through Drag City Records on the 18th September. Expect to hear choice cuts from both records and much more from the band’s Supersonic set, especially as these three players’ improvisational skills are sure to come to the fore and provide one wild ride for all and sundry!
Chris Corsano is an extremely accomplished improv percussionist, who has collaborated with artists as diverse as Björk, Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke and even Jandek. Corsano will be joined at Supersonic by Mick Flower (of incendiary drone rock behemoths Vibracathedral Orchestra) for a set of intricate Eastern tinged odysseys, pitting these two dazzling musicians against each other in an intense yet expansive musical setting that promises to be a very absorbing journey indeed.
Six Organs of Admittance
Ben Chasny has played with everyone from psych-rock heroes Comets On Fire to David Tibet’s esoteric Current 93, but with his primary project, Six Organs Of Admittance, Chasny gets the chance to show off his skills as a song-writer. Ranging from spacious, heartfelt folk to scorching psychedelic jams, Six Organs Of Admittance’s music is constantly evolving and redfining itself. Expect nothing less than an absolute revelation from Chasny’s set this year!
Sir Richard Bishop
After cutting his teeth with the highly acclaimed experimental rock three piece Sun City Girls, Bishop began to explore more diverse influences, taking inspiration from a number of different sources from around the world to create a truly unique and thoroughly engaging sound. Traditional Arabic, Indian and African sounds are all audible within Bishop’s nimble fretwork, but there’s something else at play here too, that indefinable something that makes Richard one of the most exciting contemporary acoustic guitarists around. Miss his set at your peril!
Bishop’s skill consists in feeling exactly where any piece should go. This process primarily involves mindfulness as opposed to an apparatus of music theory. Here, the guitarist acts as a conduit, allowing music to flow through the filter of his hands to the strings. Each piece is a kind of vector, a force that pushes Bishop in a direction and flows through his guitar, and through the friction of the creative process, works itself out completely by its conclusion. This method (if method is an appropriate term) lends itself to a variety of styles, but it’s most appropriate in explorations of a solo instrument. Read more via http://www.tinymixtapes.com/music-review/sir-richard-bishop-intermezzo
Sir Richard Bishop will also be performing at the festival as part 1/3 of Rangda with Ben Chasney (Six Organs of Admittance) and Chris Corsano.
A much-loved musical spectacle in his native Newcastle for many years now, Richard Dawson is a skewed troubadour who sings and plays guitar with a rare intensity and a very singular style. Dawson’s music is a collision of opposites, his hoarsely cracking voice suddenly rising to a magical soar that’s been compared to Tim Buckley, John Martyn and Richard Youngs, while his battered acoustic guitar veers from stumble to sublime in a way that can recall Sir Richard Bishop or Captain Beefheart. Add this to his snaring way with words and Dawson’s got you pinned
Rangda is named for the Javanese demon queen of the leyaks. This power trio is an instrumental psych rock and no wave-styled noise unit. Its members are guitarists Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance, Comets on Fire) and drummer Chris Corsano.
While perhaps not as fearsome as their evil, child-chomping witch namesake, Rangda rustle up some wickedly extreme sounds on the six improv-noise blowouts and psychedelic reveries woven into their debut ‘False Flag’, many of which could curdle your marrow if you’re not careful.
An improviser, composer, and an intrepid explorer on electric and acoustic guitar. There is a fair amount of experimentation involved in much of his string-work which can lead to audio realms rarely visited by others. Richard is perhaps best known as a founding member (along with brother Alan Bishop) of experimental ethnic-improv pioneers and underground tricksters Sun City Girls, who formed in 1981.