When I was looking for a video to embed in this post I came across this little nugget from a show he performed in Baltimore this year. Live, Bishop’s music reaches that moment of ecstasy that makes his take on middle eastern raggas pretty amazing. What a pity then that this record blows. Seriously, the Freak, barring a couple of exceptions, is dull as shit. The idea is great but the execution is sterile, boring and much of it amounts to ethno-muzak. I really wanted to like this, I really did and I know it is rare for me to dislike a record openly on this blog because usually if I don’t like it I just won’t post on it. But I feel like I’ve gotta warn people about The Freak of Araby, it’s not as good as his previous work it just sounds like cafe music or even worse music for the local old people’s belly dancing/flamenco club and that is never a good thing. Bishop always had form for loving a good spaghetti western soundtrack but in the past he turned up the freak level rather than play it straight. This is dinner party music I’m sorry to say. In any event enjoy him doing his thing live, in fact I hope he re-records The Freak of Araby live because I’ll line up for that one big time. Unfortunately my copy of this one is going up on ebay.