It’s a pretty regular occasion that contemporary artists—from whatever field you may choose—decide to go back to their roots and, without any pretentiousness, simply indulge their creative desire to worship something (or everything) that has influenced their work and growth as creators. Sometimes this desire drags others along as well, and it might even become a fashionable wave and at some point, likely leaving you with a distaste the people who decided to start it all in the first place. I am, of course, talking about the incessant need for everything to have a ‘psychedelic’ edge as of late.
It was in 2010 that Bitchin Bajas released their debut LP, the six-track Tones / Zones on Important Records, and it was like a time-machine made of sound. While spinning this record, you would feel that you’d been dropped into the early 70s, even if you were born far beyond that decade: vintage synths, analog sound, absolute minimalism, and the almost unbearable urge to take drugs. Now the trio, formed from members of U.S. psychedelic quartet Cave, are back with a new EP on France’s Hands in the Dark label.
Four tracks, split between a little over thirty minutes of music, still account for quite a record for an EP. Transporteur is mostly based on synths that have been used to build warm, dusty, and comforting sound through looping melodic patterns that are layered over top of a foundation of gentle drones. It’s a slow burner, gradually expanding while constantly tripping—and this album is heavy. The A-side of Transporteur is more atmospheric, and I’d even say epic. The B-side is a bit more lively and feels more as if it was performed by an actual band (and not a Woodstock-obsessed synth nerd in his blinking modular lair of bong worship). The closing ‘No Tabac’, on the other hand, features so many sounds, claps, percussive elements, wobbling melodies, and psychedelic soloing instruments, that you kind of wonder if it’s still the same release. Which is actually a good thing, because the first three tracks are really easy to get lost in because of all the pattern looping as well as the similar tools and sounds.
In a year when the world has lost Edgar Froese—the mastermind behind Tangerine Dream, who obviously taught the musicians embedded within contemporary electronic music a great deal—this album really hits well, because it’s a solid reminder of how music once lived, breathed, and sounded some 40-50 years ago. I still can’t really find my place in it, however. Maybe Bitchin Bajas could have put more of themselves into Transporteur, because the stuff they have very obviously attempted to recreate here we’ve heard many times before, and we have certainly heard it in a more memorable way. After all, this was an integral part of the culture for those who created it to begin with.
This doesn’t mean the EP is bad—it’s just too plain and expected, but I guess this applies to most new-age music, where I’ll be putting this album without even thinking twice.
A1) Rias Baixas
A2) Planete T
B2) No Tabac