Bitchin Bajas - Bajas Fresh

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:7 Release Date:2017-11-17
Bitchin Bajas - Bajas Fresh
Bitchin Bajas - Bajas Fresh

Last time I had a chance to listen to Bitchin Bajas was their brilliant collaboration with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties, when they created these refrigerator magnet quotations, aka ditties. Fitted them perfectly. Bajas Fresh is a completely different affair. After all, it is the first proper Bitchin Bajas album in three years, and there are no ditties, unless of course, you consider tracks that last anywhere between six and 23 minutes as ditties. No brief listens this time around, and if you feel like complaining about the brevity of some recent albums, how about more than two hours from the Bajas boys? Still, the main question is, do you want or do you need to listen to Bitchin Bajas' sound explorations for that long?

Frankly, not an easy question to answer this time around. Or, to be more precise, it is a mixed bag, ranging from simply too long, across just interesting, to almost brilliant. But lets put it in order of play. If you are a fan of all things Tangerine Dream, you’ll love the introductory “Jammu," with its shifting electronic soundscapes with nuanced moves. If you are more of the Nineties Orb material, “Circles On Circles” is for you. In fact, if you speed it up just a bit more, you can probably even dance to it. Both tracks are interesting variations, but don’t seem to have that extra ingredient to move them from being just interesting.

Then we come to “Angels And Demons At Play” and “Yonaguni,” two tracks that fully meet the brief of imaginative, exploratory soundscapes with all their percussive elements and additional woodwinds, electric guitar fills (“Yonaguni”), and non-intrusive electronics; shifting in new directions as the tracks draw to a close. Then comes “2303” and its 23:03 of almost complete non-movement, except in the last few minutes. Which is all fine if you want to meditate or concentrate on your work, video game or something. But what if you don’t?

But then again we have another shift, as if the Bajas have saved the best two tracks for last. “Chokayo” starts with a simple harmonium and thump exchange, add in some brilliant woodwinds (particularly flute), and then completely shift the mood with the addition of some crashing cymbals. “Be Going” combines great sax and organ and concludes the album in the best possible manner.

A somewhat frustrating experience that includes material that could have easily remained in the ‘maybe later’ section, but compensated with some of the better stuff Bitchin Bajas have done so far.

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