Bitchin Bajas, Pair | Columbia College Chicago, Averill and Bernard Leviton A+D Gallery | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Bitchin Bajas, Pair Free All Ages Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Thu., July 24, 5 p.m. 2014

At first I thought it might be strange to write about Bitchin Bajas’ forthcoming self-titled album by previewing a concert that won’t include any material from it, but the members of this Chicago-based instrumental trio—Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, and Dan Quinlivan—are such restless explorers that it hardly makes sense to wait for a set that sounds like a record they’ve already made. The sprawling, rapturous, meditative double LP Bitchin Bajas, due on Drag City next month, opens with a side-length take on the familiar raga “Tilang,” with Frye summoning the spirit of great Indian flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia over two violas and a double bass, whose droning, overlapping bowed notes set the tone—the sound recalls the earliest examples of what came to be known as new age music, before it devolved into antiseptic sonic wallpaper. Bitchin Bajas craft quietly churning vignettes from simple, floating melodies, shimmering tone clusters, and gliding, ethereal arpeggios. “Field Study” layers environmental recordings of birds (made by filmmaker Olivia Wyatt) over Frye’s spell-casting flute, gurgling analog synth, and droning organ. “Ruby” uses nothing but synths, organs, and lots of reverb, with certain elements pitched up and down by altering tape speed in the studio—an upper-register drone threads its way through undulating waves and swirling textures, creating a sensual tension that gives the music its bite. Tonight Bitchin Bajas will perform work they’ve developed with audiovisual duo Pair, aka violist Marta Sofia Honer and multi-instrumentalist Jeremiah Chiu (Axis: Sova, Deep Sleep). —Peter Margasak

Price: free


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