Although the Angels of Epistemology existed from 1986 to 1989, their first release, a six-song 7" EP, did not come out until 1991; it wasn't until 1995 that Fruit, a CD-only collection of most of the Angels' extant recordings, was finally released. Even then, they were still ahead of their time. Combining the faux-ethnic worldbeat tendencies of early Camper Van Beethoven or 3 Mustaphas 3 with a mid-'70s progressive feel akin to Henry Cow, mixed with the hardcore punk roots of most of the players, the Angels of Epistemology were always on the verge of falling apart completely, but somehow the disparate pieces mostly fit together. Formed in Raleigh, NC, by singer/guitarist Jeb Bishop, the Angels of Epistemology never had a stable lineup, either on stage or in the studio. Various Raleigh-Durham musicians passed in and out of the group, adding such oddball instruments as zither and balalaika. Perhaps as a part of the ultra-casual attitude, the musicians are listed only by their first names on both Angels of Epistemology releases. The Angels of Epistemology broke up in 1989, and Bishop moved to Chicago shortly thereafter. While playing bass and guitar in the improvised music group the Vandermark Five, Bishop also heads his own free jazz trio. The Angels of Epistemology remained fondly remembered on the Raleigh-Durham music scene, and, in 1991, the promising new local label Merge Records released an untitled 7" EP of 1987-1988 recordings as one of its first releases. The 20-track compilation Fruit, which only contains four of the EP's six tracks, followed in 1995.
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