Bitchin' Bajas (Drag City), Garden Medium (Ens), Papier Blanc

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Bitchin' Bajas (Drag City), Garden Medium (Ens), Papier Blanc
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Bitchin' Bajas (Drag City), Garden Medium (Ens), Papier Blanc says
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Chicago drone outfit BITCHIN' BAJAS first splintered off of Krautrock revivalists Cave, serving as a more relaxed side project for Cave guitarist Cooper Crain but soon growing into a more realized band over the course of various tape and small-run vinyl releases. With this self-titled fifth album, the Bajas reach the most beautiful and all-encompassing articulation of their sound, effortlessly sifting soothing ambience out of an intricate web of electronics and organic instruments. One of the most effective aspects of the record is its lengthy running time and the expansive, sprawling nature of many of the eight pieces here. The record almost reaches the eighty-minute mark and begins with nearly 19 minutes of slowly evolving sounds, drones, and tones that make up the opening opus "Tilang." "Tilang" starts with a loping string section playing a raga-like drone before walls of fluid synthesizers fade in, eventually reaching a crest and subsiding again as gentle harp sounds take over. A theme quickly emerges of largely different sounds working to express the same feelings, following with the gamelan bells and flute-like electronics of "Asian Carp" and the meeting of bubbling deep space synth tones, delay-soaked new agey woodwinds, and field recordings of river and bird sounds on "Field Study." All the songs fit together but each represents a very different take on ambience, moving from the more natural feel of the album's first half to the cold arpeggiated vintage synthesizers and vamping, spacy saxophone of "Bueu," a tune that taps into Bitchin Bajas' more Krautrock-inspired side. The ideas here linger, hover, and slowly erode, but none of these lengthy explorations ever drags or falls flat. Though "exciting" isn't exactly the word, there is a sense of both purpose and drive in all of Bitchin Bajas' blurry, diversely composed drone-scapes, and this album as a whole is easily their best and most carefully crafted work up until this point.

(Ewen, Novak, Sandin)

Papier Blanc

Doors - 8 pm / Show - 9 pm / ALL AGES
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By: Walter's Downtown

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