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Bitchin Bajas - Switched On Ra LP

Bitchin Bajas - Switched On Ra LP

  • £34.00

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RELEASES ON THE 18/11/22

It’s almost four years since their last opus - two years since the most-recent run of live shows. Now, Bitchin Bajas return from whatever kind of rare ether they occupy when they’re at home, bearing the riches of the whole cosmos in their hands.

"Switched On Ra" is the outcome of a typical Bajas exercise: pouring some out for the pioneers that came before (as they’ve done with "Bitchitronics" and their participation in the annual Chicago performance of ‘In C’ over the years). It’s a nice way to get a flow - they play a little of themselves, then some for the pioneers, then a little more for the band. Before long, they’re playing with the inspirations twined, as they can only come from within.

For "Switched On Ra", this meant a deep delve into the song-book of one of their soul-predecessors, Sun Ra, whose music is literally written in the Bajas DNA. Digging into this music sounded wild on paper: the drone synth group taking on the Arkestra harmonies and Ra’s loose grooves? The trick was to get that sense of rhythm to translate across the spectrum from Ra to Bajas, in a way that worked for them both.

Sun Ra of course was his own kind of original keyboard visionary, using electric keyboards in the late 40s and 50s to fill a role in jazz that had traditionally been played on acoustic piano only. Once he’d done so, he took his writing in directions inspired by the electricity, places no one had thought to go before then.

Bitchin Bajas have been content to dominate in a microtonal world, usually without a single chord to be found anywhere. But here, they step up righteously, their vibe triangulated as they bring Ra’s music forward with some Wendy C style, making an unexpected space for all to thrive. There’s a real feeling of joy as these collected signals bounce off the tape and through the speakers into your space.

To get this unique colloid exactly right, Bitchin Bajas used nineteen different keyboards. They abstained from deploying their arsenal of reed and woodwind instruments: everything had to be on the keys. This meant Yamahas, Rolands, Korgs, Casios, a MicroMoog and of course their trusty Ace Tone organ. They even broke out the Crumar DS-2, to have some of Ra’s chosen tone in the mix. Then Jayve Montgomery added an EWI as a solo voice on a few tunes, just to get some air-blown signal (and a natural shout out to EWI master Marshall Allen) in there, after all.

It felt like somewhere in the universe, Ra was decreeing it.

About this product: this release is pressed on black vinyl.