To Dalston, and Barden’s Boudoir, where Sir Richard Bishop is brandishing a magic stick, with a feather on the end of it, that has been balanced precariously on Ben Chasny’s amp for the duration of Rangda’s show. As ever with Bishop, it’s hard to tell whether he’s drawing on or satirising a world of arcane knowledge. Powerful forces are undoubtedly at work here, but maybe that’s just down to the kinetic virtuosity of Bishop, Chasny and Chris Corsano.
Rangda, if you’ve not picked up on the vibes, are a kind of underground jamming supergroup, a power trio of the ages. For anyone who’s previously enjoyed Bishop’s solo work, The Sun City Girls, Six Organs Of Admittance, Comets On Fire, Sunburned Hand Of The Man, Flower/Corsano Duo, Dream Aktion Unit or any of the multiple other projects that Corsano, especially, has been involved with, the premise of Rangda is more or less a chinstroker wet dream.
And so it turns out. The possibility that these three hugely intuitive musicians might just improvise for an hour immediately goes out of the window when they begin with one of the lashing full-tilt tracks from “False Flag” – “Waldorf Hysteria”, maybe? – played with the pinpoint accuracy of hardcore, but with some free and intense play from all three. Lightning Bolt seems a vague reference point, with such a conflation of fire music and punk, though you could probably also touch on some Sun City Girls and a grasp of classic rock that’s not entirely consumed by the conflagration.
That comes through more and more as the set goes on. At first it’s Bishop who takes the lead, with the intricate surf guitar lines of “Bull Lore” and Chasny, almost deferential, with his back to the audience, assuming the shredding posture in front of the kit that he practised for so long in Comets On Fire. But by the mighty, clanging cacophony of “Fist Family”, it’s the blurred physical spectacle of Corsano that grabs the attention, dropping cymbals onto his skins, unostentatiously spinning drumsticks between his fingers, relentlessly active but somehow retaining an air of calm. For all his improvisational violence, he seems heroically far from losing control.
Chasny’s playing tends to thicker, grungier runs, compared with the needling tones of Bishop (the latter closes with a hailstorm of splintered notes that are as close to Derek Bailey as anything). But things move too fast to risk many generalisations, and Rangda’s crowning glory is, as on “False Flag”, the shapeshifting 15 minutes of “Plain Of Jars”; a harmonious tussle that has much of the gravity, technicality and chiming grandeur of “Marquee Moon”.
They’re in Bristol tonight, and beyond for the next week or so, and I’d say it’s nigh-on unmissable. Please make an effort.
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