October 19, 2021

Rangda – The Heretic’s Bargain

DRAG CITY       19th Feb 2016

As the old joke doesn’t go; two guitarists walk into a bar and bump into a drummer. The two guitarists are well-known names on the alternative scene and the drummer gets around too. The results are, well, surprising and unlike their day-jobs. The result is Rangda and they’ve been working for a while, this being just their latest offering. Sir Richard Bishop was last seen hawking his lengthy noodlings on The Tangier Sessions, while Ben Chasny needs little introduction after his work with Six Organs Of Admittance. Chris Corsano on drums, has worked with everyone from soprano sax maniac Evan Parker to Bradford’s Vibracathedral Orchestra to Bjork. From the name and title, you’d be excused for expecting devil-baiting growling and shouting. Instead you get some exciting guitar duo work and off the wall beats, all instrumental.

Opening with twangy and fiddly surf-bop, the second track sees things stepped up with pounding steps and searing double-guitar lines. The third offering has more intricate dance steps of an Eastern European Gypsy ilk and picked guitar. The fourth breaks rank with a jumble of collapsing sound, distortion and feedback atop tapping and circling drums in a holding pattern. It resolves into a harmonically static floating thing of air and space, reminding me of a quiet Miles Davis and John McLaughlin moment from the early seventies. It passes into the last track, a twenty minute offering that promises more of the same but, after a few minutes we are back to semi-mariachi guitar. The piece winds up and down through set pieces and meditative pauses or busy intricacies before ending with a sense of resolution. Yet – what was it all about?

Maybe better play it again…..