For a long time I dreamt about interviewing Alan and Richard Bishop of the Sun City Girls. Besides my interest in their music, I think it also had something to do with their self-chosen isolation and the level of mystery that for a long time surrounded whatever they chose to do. At some point I think I realized that the less I know about all involved the better, as that sense of obscurity somehow was an important aspect why I fell in love with their music in the first place. If I would have the chance to spend some time with them today I?d probably find myself asking more questions about all their travels to exotic countries and their work with the Sublime Frequencies label than Sun City Girls music.
Sublime Frequencies is a relatively new label that the brothers run together with Hisham Mayet. The label started operations a cpl of years back with the release of 3 CDs and 2 DVDs of international recordings from the regions of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and the flood of impressive releases has just continued to arrive at quality record stores ever since. The last one I?ve been fortunate to treat my ears with is "Radio Morocco" which continues the label?s tradition to release recordings taken straight off the radio. Alan Bishop made these recordings in 1983 and as I see things, it should honestly be considered a major crime that they haven?t seen the light of the day until now. This is just a spectacular mix of primitive Moroccan folk music, groovy ethnic mantras and North African pop, and it?s all beautifully tied together with various radio commercials, news snippets and reports. What separates this disc from some of the previous ?Radio releases? I have heard is that the songs get plenty of space to develop and that we actually get to hear more than just short snippets of the music. I am forever thankful for that as ?Radio Chechaouen? and ?Radio Fes? provides two of the finest pieces of music I?ve heard all year. The first one offers percussive folk trance with the aid of various string instruments, hand drums and vocal chanting so powerful that I just had to stop doing whatever I was up to the first time I heard it. It?s weird, intriguing, beautiful as well as scary and something I just can?t get quite enough of. The organ-laced ?Radio Fes? starts like something Agitation Free could have recorded but it soon morphs into an orchestrated piece that simply couldn?t have been done anywhere but in Morocco. Morocco has for a long time been on my ever-expanding list of countries that I some day would like to visit, and after hearing this incredible disc I think it just moved up a few steps. 8/10 -- Mats Gustafsson (25 May, 2005)