Bitchin Bajas

Bitchitronics

By Alan RantaIt's hard not to default to a string of comparisons when reviewing an album by the oddly named Bitchin Bajas, to pull one's critical chutes on Kraftwerk, Can, Klaus Schulze and the ambient works of Brian Eno, then coast to an expected conclusion. This remains true with the fourth full-length from the Chicago, IL-based duo of Cooper Crain (Cave) and Dan Quinlivan (Mahjongg). Bitchitronics rides a minimalist kosmische wave from start to finish. With its plodding, ambient textures floating along dreamily, the sounds of flute and harp melding organically with synthesiser in a tape loop structure, "Inclusion" brings to mind Discreet Music by Eno, while "Sun City" goes in more of a contemporary drone direction, like a subdued Tim Hecker. "Transcendence" and the Alice Coltrane-referencing "Turiya" bookend the album with two extended kosmische jams, the former containing a brief explosion of guitar, while the latter pulses most distinctively on a synth drone, as guitars dip their toes into waves of synthetic textures. Far too often, ambient/drone artists use the genre as an excuse to cover up a lack of melody, the ability to conclude a piece or some other hole in their swing. However, the sense one gets listening to this is one of vision, of having something to say, and, for a brief, euphoric moment, the strings of the universe become visible. Bitchitronics is as gangsta as ambient music can get.
(Drag City)
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