Baja: Wolfhour
Other Electricities

Daniel Vujanic channel-surfs through a mercurial panoply of styles on his third full-length Baja release Wolfhour. Rejecting genre boundaries, Vujanic sprinkles his mercurial mix of folk, jazz, pop, electroacoustic, and post-rock with an occasional sliced-and-diced vocal melody. Baja's music isn't chaotic, silly, or pretentious; one gets the impression that free-thinker Vujanic's merely letting his muse speak through Wolfhour's nine restless collages. “Meth Arrow” goes through at least four permutations in under four minutes, with a snappy fusion of jazz-rock, pop, and electronica bleeding into queasy sludge-rock before turning into a meditative prism of blinding reflections. “Djilas Plus” starts out as a cut-up piano ambient piece, before visiting a broken beat jazz junkyard filled with saxophones and vibes. Episodically structured, the ten-minute centerpiece “Phrem” opens in a smoky jazz club, then travels down a ponderous passage filled with electric guitars, muted horns, and bass clarinet; a brief breakdown stops the piece in its tracks, then leads into a reflective coda coloured by horn shadings and woodwind flourishes. Perhaps the most satisfying piece (also, structurally, one of the most straightforward) is the electroacoustic romp “Go Wolpertinger! Go!” which boasts some splendid clarinet and guitar interplay. Suffice it to say, Baja makes frequent stops along the stylistic highway. The effect isn't as scattershot as it might sound, however, as the pieces settle in place long enough to establish a general character before moving on.

February 2008