Bitchin Bajas


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Chicago dream/drone unit Bitchin' Bajas get in the zone and stay in the zone with Bitchitronics, their most high-definition album in a prolific stream of releases. Originally an offshoot of the mostly instrumental and highly Krautrock-influenced group Cave, Bitchin' Bajas sound completely removed from the side-project stigma on these four lengthy tracks, presenting languid, textural explorations with too much focus and intensity to appear incidental or secondary. While working in the same lucid instrumental patchwork of sounds as contemporaries like Mountains, Emeralds, and Tape, opening track "Transcendence" immediately calls to mind the No Pussyfooting-era collaborations of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. Cooper Crain's E-Bowed guitar leads take on the same unrelenting tone as Fripp's patented Frippertronics sound, or to a lesser degree some of the early-morning mediation vibes of Neu! guitarist Michael Rother's solo albums. "Inclusion" piles gentle loops on top of each other until they build a somewhat trembly tower, at which point playful flute and woodwinds enter the picture, funneling the echo-treated loops to a soft conclusion as they drift in and out of phase with each other. Overt references to Alice Coltrane show up in hidden harp sounds buried deep in the mix, as well as the title of the almost 17-minute album-closing track, "Turiya." Turiya was the name Coltrane took on later in life, and her influence is apparent in the highly controlled repetition and pure-spirited, hopeful feeling of the track. The lengthy, droning bubbles of synth textures, organ interjections, and wandering, nebulous tones stretch out seemingly infinitely before abruptly stopping. After feeling the piece unfold and grow, the sudden end pulls the rug out from under the listener completely, not in a bratty or malicious way but more in a way that accentuates the weight of the sudden silence and the deep contrast between the peaceful emptiness Bitchin' Bajas create and the awareness of nothingness once those sounds are gone.

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