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Bitchin Bajas

Switched On Ra (LP)

Label: Drag City

Format: LP

Genre: Electronic

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To pour some out for one of their heroes, the cosmos’ own Sun Ra, Bitchin Bajas simply cut a slice of their own DNA and amplify it! Or something like that: they clearly vibe with Ra in hypno-symbiosis, setting the controls of their analog synths for the heart of Sun. Bonus mixtribute: a heartfelt doff to Queen Wendy C, sythnaut and another mother!

A year after the cassette-only release of Switched On Ra, another format has fallen from whatever kind of rare ether Bitchin Bajas occupy when they"re at home. The LP edition of Switched On Ra bears all the same riches (only richer of course) in its grooves, adding a lovely screen-printed rendering of the graphics to its larger-than-cassette-cosmos dimensions. 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. Their rearrangements of the tunes went good - up and down the EQ band, they were finding the round sounds and jagged edges that brought Ra"s music into their own thing. Then at the last minute, there was another twist - why not pay tribute to the Queen herself, and think of the arrangements with a Wendy Carlos vibe? A little side homage? After all, Switched on Bach was visionary, bringing analog synths from the outside all the way into the mainstream in the late 60s - and this take on Ra is meant to take him to new ears everywhere. 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 ele...

Details
Cat. number: DC851
Year: 2022
Notes:
LP comes in 3-color silk-screened jacket and limited to 1000 copies