Natural Information Society & Bitchin Bajas


Drag City • 2015

Bitchin Bajas are a real surprise package. While the project used to be Cooper Crain’s playground for testing out analogue instruments and recording techniques, Bitchin Bajas have taken up new shapes from release to release. For »Bitchitronics«, simple vintage synthesizer sounds were turned into tapeloops, for »Bitchin Bajas« eight men (violinists, winds, strings) locked themselves in a room, and for »Transporteur« they went for something in between. The common factor between these approaches was a strong penchant for esotericism, even though this sector leaves only a thin line between »unique« and »random«. For »Automaginary«, Cooper Crain has teamed up with the Natural Information Society, founded by the bassist Joshua Abrams, one of Chicago’s most bustling musicians altogether. Mr. Abrams, who used to be part of the jazz trio Sticks & Stones with Matana Roberts and Chad Taylor, does not only play guembri, gong, ARP 2600, autoharp, drums and bass, but has mainly brought us the groove; an ingredient that had been missing from the Bitchin Baja’s sound until now. In combination with flutes, bass clarinet, organ and synthesizer, they have created a mix that bears parallels to the »New Thing!« in Jazz (Alice Coltrane, Llyod McNeill, Steve Cowell) developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. »Automaginary« is Jazz, as to be heard on the second part of the record, after having listened to 19 minutes of »Oh No Fade«, a cosmic track leaning towards New Age. The track seems to bear the handwriting of Josh Abrams and his ensemble around Frank Rosaly, Emmett Kelly, Ben Boye, Mikel Averyand and Lisa Alvarado: Afrobeat, postrock, the sheer joy of the mix between wild improvisation and restraint. For Bitchin Bajas, the collaboration is a blessing. It’s as if they’ve let the stoned Genie out of the bong.