Bitchin Bajas: Bitchitronics Review
Like their sister band Cave, Bitchin Bajas seem to have been transmitted to us via a time portal from 1971 Germany. Where Cave have mastered the charging guitar groove of Krautrock (seriously, if you haven’t heard Neverendless, do it), Bitchin Bajas quiver and wobble towards a komische nirvana over a long, dream-like trance. Their latest release Bitchtronics, again on Drag City, is a shimmering album that spreads four songs over 44 breezy minutes, bringing the listener along on a wide-eyed journey.
From the Mark McGuire-esqe guitar heroics on album opener “Transcendence” to the gentle woodwinds that chirp on “Inclusion,” the band use all of the tools at their disposal to make songs that are minimal but seem to come pouring out of the speakers. The “single” of the record was “Sun City,” a slow moving train that builds on a slightly raspy synth drone and a glittery melody, coming in at a brisk five minutes, the shortest track on the record by far. The album ends with the nearly 17 minute, wonked out “Turiya.” The synths are heavy as lava and phase meticulously in and out, left and right on your speakers, disorienting the listener and providing a heady conclusion to the LP. It is a restrained end to a restrained album, never giving listeners the easy solution (a crescendo and then a “drop”), barely even fading out at the end before allowing the silence to finally suffocate the track.
Cave will be releasing a new LP later this year, and I suspect I will be in the large majority who will enjoy that release more viscerally than Bitchtronics. The komische wing of Krautrock, with its meditative inclinations, is always going to be more of an outlier. Can will always been more popular than Klaus Schulze. But just because the forthcoming Cave record will (almost certainly) be more raucous doesn’t mean we should overlook the quality of Bitchtronics. It is a heady, well thought out, minimal record that accomplishes what it set out to achieve. Strap on your headphones and get ready to zone out, Bitchin Bajas will be your conductors on this slow moving train back in time.