During a chance meeting with Alan Bishop after Neil Hamburger’s set Monday at Bumbershoot, he related some huge news sure to cause tremors throughout the rock underground: Finally, he set in motion the machinery to get Sun City Girls’ long-out-of-print classic ethnodelic album Torch of the Mystics back in circulation. Majora originally issued it in 1990. To celebrate the record’s 25th anniversary (at the prodding of Jimmy Johnson, boss of the large US distributor Forced Exposure—and maybe from this Slog post), Bishop’s Abduction Records will be reissuing Torch on vinyl and CD in late October, if all goes well. (Note: All rarely goes well. Delays may happen.)
Considered by many fans and critics to be SCG's peak, Torch is a vertiginous slice of psychedelic rock that assimilates and then mutates Middle Eastern musical elements (Alan and guitarist/brother Richard Bishop have Lebanese heritage) into bold new shapes. It contains some of the most profoundly spiritual music I've ever heard (see especially "Space Prophet Dogon").
Alan Bishop—who co-runs the excellent Sublime Frequencies label with Hisham Mayet—says that SF compatriot Mark Gergis has remastered Torch and, unfortunately, the reissue will contain no download card, no bonus tracks, and no liner notes. “It’s basically an exact repro with the update of the label info and a few minor details on the credit/info sheet,” Bishop says. “There is no website or email address listed on the album anywhere, but we'll see what the final product looks like. You just NEVER KNOW these days how records will end up being manufactured, EVEN IF the proofs and masters, etc. were done correctly.”