Essential New Music: Bitchin Bajas’ “Bajascillators”

Musicians are just like you and me, see? What did you do with your pandemic? If you were lucky, you spent a lot of it parked in front of screens at home, using your stimulus checks to buy shit online. Well, so did Bitchin Bajas, and you don’t need to be a genius to guess what they bought. Oscillators! And maybe some cables, microphones and spools of analogue tape. And maybe a bit of silver polish for Rob Frye’s flute.

Frye, Cooper Crain and Dan Quinlivan have put all that new gear to use on Bajascillators, the Chicago combo’s first vinyl platter in five years. The effects on Bitchin Bajas’ sound are subtle, but present. There’s a little extra springiness in their grooves (which rise and fall like pistons in an internal-combustion engine) and a bit more squeezable softness in the long, dopplering tones that arc over said grooves. The flickering accents flash a little brighter, and the interlocking patterns are more complex. Overall, there’s more of everything that gadgets can do.

But with all that pandemic downtime, it seems, has also come another kind of patience. Despite the album’s abundance, there’s no excess. Bajascillators is admirably uncluttered, and the immaculate sonic resolution of the four tracks (each of which, should you choose to track down the vinyl, gets a full side to itself) makes it as easy to gaze into their garden of moving musical parts as it is to look through a new, improved eyeglass prescription.

—Bill Meyer