It’s almost four years since their last opus — two years since the most-recent run of live shows! Now, Bitchin Bajas return (from whatever kind of rare ether they occupy when they’re at home), bearing the riches of the whole cosmos in their hands. And straight OG as well — on cassette only!
Switched On Ra is the outcome of a typical Bajas exercise: pouring some out for the pioneers that came before. Aka, 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: a 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.
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. Bitchin Bajas have been content to dominate in a microtonal world, usually without a single chord to be found anywhere. But here, they step up righteously, their vibe triangulated as they bring Ra’s music forward with some Wendy Carlos style on top, making an unexpected space for all to thrive.
To get this unique colloid exactly right, Bitchin Bajas abstained from their arsenal of reed and woodwind instruments, using nineteen different keyboards, including one of Ra's favorites, the Crumar DS-2. Later, Jayve Montgomery added an EWI as a solo voice on a few tunes, to get a little bit of air in (and a shout out to EWI master Marshall Allen) after all. It felt like somewhere in the universe, Ra was decreeing it.
Switched On Ra is an effervescent celebration of music throughout time and space. There’s a real feeling of joy as the signals bounce off the tape and through the speakers into your space. Take a ride this morning with "Outer Spaceways Inc" and pre-order your cassette for 10/29!