Bitchin Bajas, Bil Vermette | Constellation | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Bitchin Bajas, Bil Vermette 

When: Fri., July 12, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $8
When Cave guitarist and organist Cooper Crain started this solo side project a few years ago, his output was cinematic, with a strong investment in the old-school sounds of German kosmische music (Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze). He provided scores for underground filmmakers, pairing his luxuriant sonic pulse to their visual rhythms. Over time, however, Bitchin Bajas has evolved into a real band, with former Mahjongg member Daniel Quinlivan on synthesizers and electronics and Rob Frye on woodwinds, percussion, organ, and guitar. A stronger structure emerged earlier this year on the 12-inch Krausened (Permanent), particularly on the title track, which features soothing, spacey melodies suggestive of Kraftwerk spread atop electronic motorik grooves. The beats have vanished on the brand-new Bitchitronics (Drag City), whose title riffs on Robert Fripp’s tape-looping setup, Frippertronics, which was his take on a delay system originally deployed by avant-garde composers such as Terry Riley and Pauline Oliveros. The music washes over you in soothing, reverberant waves packed with subtle instrumental detail that you can parse or ignore, depending on your mood—there’s nothing too heady or academic about it. The group’s PR describes the work as drone, but there’s much more going on. The melodic extended guitar solo on “Transcendence” harks back to early Eno, with hypnotic rhythms that cut against simmering long tones, and the fragile “Inclusion” collages sun-dappled backward guitar and ethereal, fluttering flute. For this album-release show the trio will be joined by six guests, who’ll play extra guitar, harp synth, two violas, double bass, and bass clarinet. —Peter Margasak Bil Vermette opens.

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