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Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (29 ratings)
Improvika album cover
Provenance Unknown
Gnostic Gem
Rudra's Feast
Mystic Minor 23
Rose Secretions
Skull of Sidon
Album Information

Total Tracks: 9   Total Length: 46:10

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Do listen to the music! Don't listen to the guy who says not to listen to the Emusic review! As for Sir Richard's technical abilities: the samples! He is amazing. The criticism regarding the "modals" thing is quite unfair, though. If there is any consistent stylistic touchstone in Bishop's playing, it's classical Spanish guitar, not traditional Indian. Classical guitar is heavily influenced by Arabic music, with all of its half-tones, as anyone who listens to it can tell. So the "Eastern" modals are really integral. As for the Indian references, the whole beauty of Sir Richard's playing is that it is so omnivorous in its style. It sounds like a very erudite guitar daydreaming, really. So, no, it's not 'authentic' in that very narrow sense of being part of a whole tradition. But of course you can get plenty of 'authentic' music in the check-out line at Starbucks or the Whole Earth store.... Anyways, this is great, but not quite as good as Salvador Kali, or the new one. So four stars.

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absolute indulgence and absolute cr*p!


Don't believe a word in the review above. This is an absolute waste of downloads. The songs sound like a retarded child is fumbling aimlessly on an acoustic guitar. There is no structure or direction with any of the songs at all and they delve into modal/"eastern" scales with no apparent rhyme or reason. This is just noise on an acoustic and Bishop's nods to indian classical music are annoyingly superficial and clumsy.

They Say All Music Guide

Sir Richard Bishop’s guitar work harks back to an earlier time, when acoustic guitar virtuosos like Leo Kottke and Robbie Basho reigned supreme. Back then, players rarely sang, but used all of their energies to create original music that would never be confused (as is the case in the early 2000s) with new age music. This skill and seriousness is reflected even on the title of Bishop’s Improvika, and deepened by the odd titles — “Gnostic Gem” and “Skull of Sidon” — of individual compositions. But unlike a number of late-’60s and early-’70s guitar icons, Bishop’s seriousness of purpose never impedes his ability to make entertaining music. In the driven “Rudra’s Fest,” for instance, there’s ample use of odd chords, but instead of meandering into an Eastern morass, the piece builds in intensity for over eight minutes. The odd “Cryptonymus” qualifies as rather cryptic, but it never indulges in dissonance like a John Fahey composition, and Bishop’s smart enough to keep the piece under two minutes. The longest effort is “Tripurasundari,” and while the title may be difficult to pronounce, it successfully builds an affecting tension for over eight minutes. Improvika is the type of album guitarists study, wishing they could slow the CD down (as players used to slow down LPs to learn a guitarist’s technique); acoustic fans, on the other hand, will be pleased to have a meaningful, full-bodied guitar album. – Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

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