While My Guitar Violently Bleeds is a good album title, but it's not exactly appropriate for Sir Richard Bishop's music. Bishop is no Keiji Haino-style guitar terrorist, nor even a particular fan of feedback and odd harmonics in the manner of Sonic Youth. It's difficult to discuss Bishop's solo instrumental albums without immediately invoking the names of John Fahey and Robbie Basho; on this set of three extended pieces, comparisons can also be made to 1960s-vintage practitioners of early forms of world fusion, such as Peter Walker's 1966 gem Rainy Day Raga (most especially on the increasingly frenetic opener, "Zurvan") and Hamza El Din's "The Water Wheel," a 1968 solo performance on the oud that was an early mainstay of the Nonesuch Explorer series. The placid, hypnotic 25-minute epic "Mahavidya" is one of Bishop's finest extended pieces, building slowly into a cyclical web of drones and flat-picked tunes that borrow from a globe's worth of folk forms. In between the two acoustic songs, the 11-minute electric workout "Smashana" maintains the explorative, folk-rooted feel in a noisier context, without devolving into the usual feedback buzz. A welcome example of Bishop's instrumental skills in a more expansive style than usual, While My Guitar Violently Bleeds is among the celebrated guitarist's finest releases, and a highly recommended first stop for fans of the old guard of experimental folk guitarists who wish to branch out from their Sandy Bull albums.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason