bitchin bajas Bajas Fresh (double LP, £22.50)label: drag city
It’s been over three years since the last proper Bitchin Bajas album - a natural paradise of woodwinds, droning organs, analogue synths, field recordings and an ever-expanding sense of more (and less). In between then and now came a series of collaborative albums, with Natural Information Society (‘Automaginary’), filmmaker Olivia Wyatt (‘Sailing A Sinking Sea’) and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (‘Epic Jammers And Fortunate Little Ditties’). Each time these varied external stimuli came into contact with the Bitchin Bajas’ acroamatic process, it left the group with expanded perimeters to traverse. So 2017 - the pursuit is still the same: a perfect continuous flow. The means to attain it are in full, fluid transition; woven into the strands that unspool so peacefully (and with such potent enervation) are new elements - like chord changes, for instance. The use of percussives is evident for the first time as well. Plus a horn section, a cover song… but before you start thinking that this ‘Bajas Fresh’ is some kind of whole-cloth change, recall to your mind that the nature of equilibrium around Bitchin Bajas is such that new properties tend to melt into the surrounding texture, providing vivid sonics without uprooting the mindset. While flowing towards a wholeness, the four sides of Bajas Fresh feature distinct approaches, approaching the ephemeral with subtle tweaks from new angles. Eschewing the grainy expansiveness of the self-titled album, this new one has an almost monolithic approach, whether spitting forth with Harmonia-styled data riffs, finding Dennyesque South Pacific exotica within a classic Sun Ra piece or teasing out almost imperceptible inflections inside the epochal fizz and whir with glassy-eyed, glacial patience. On ‘Bajas Fresh’, the cellular system of Bitchin Bajas continues to synthesise amid a growing ecosystem also of the Bajas’ making, both morphing naturally together into a state perhaps not that far removed from its former incarnation, while also essaying refreshing new tones for new zones. Succulent half-speed mastering done at Abbey Road gives the LP pressing greater depth, extension and resonance than all previous Bajas incarnations but the double cassette version of course holds its own unique experience.
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