Bitchin Bajas: Bajas Fresh (Drag City)

The Chicagoans deliver a late contender for best experimental album of the year

Released Nov 17th, 2017 via Drag City / By Erick Mertz
Bitchin Bajas: Bajas Fresh (Drag City) The third album from Chicago experimental band Bitchin Bajas is much easier to talk about in terms of a whole, rather than to try to parse out, one track at a time.

As a whole, Bajas Fresh is one of the more surprising records of the year. On my first pass through, it struck me as pleasant; on further explorations though, the soundscape transformed into something of a warm cocoon. There are scarce few jumpy or 'exciting' moments meaning that the record falls short on instrumental calamity. The band has wisely eschewed going for the high concept ambient trend and instead, delivered a mature recording that is restrained, ponderous and demands repeat listens. Try and find a clue to its meaning in the track titles, Yonaguni or 2304 or even Angels And Demons At Play and it falls flat. On Bajas Fresh the music speaks loudest.

The band layers an assortment of sounds over the core synthesizers with accents ranging from earth bound environments to celestial dizziness, spiraling down to its closing song which tempts an urban jazz flavour. Even with a range so wide, the synthesizers feel drawn from a similar universe making it a challenge to separate them. Better to sit back and take the whole thing in.

Despite conceptual harmony, I’m not certain if the tracks on Bajas Fresh stand as seven separate compositions, or movements in something more ambitious. What keeps me from loving this record that little bit more is some clarity on what the whole might be. This should not deter you from diving in and exploring this record though. As a whole, this is a good one, and should be counted among the best experimental albums of 2017.

Bitchin Bajas North American tour dates:

6th Dec - Chapel Hill, NC @ The Nightlight
7th Dec - Baltimore, MD @ EMP Collective
8th Dec - Philadelphia, PA @ The Soundhole
9th Dec - Brooklyn, NY @ Park Church Co-Op
10th Dec - Boston, MA @ 550 Studio
11th Dec - Montreal, QC @ L’Esco
12th Dec - Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha
13th Dec - Detroit, MI @ Trinosophes