A wizard, a true star.
A wizard, a true star. Alex Phillipe Cohen

Ka Baird, "Spiritus Operis" (RVNG Intl.)

Ka Baird continues to be one of America's most compelling and idiosyncratic musicians. The new album from this member of Spires That in the Sunset Rise for the outstanding RVNG Intl. label, Respires, magics mysterious instruments and her weirdly spellbinding voice into new strains of aural hypnosis.

What kind of music is this, you wonder? It's ritual music for an obscure religion that does no harm, for a change; healing music for future races on Neptune; a soundtrack to a drug experience in which the substance is beyond the knowledge of Alexander and Ann Shulgin.

Support The Stranger

Boosted by contributions from Horse Lords' Max Eilbacher, drummer Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, Zs), bassist Zach Rowden, and synth player Andrew Fitzpatrick, Respires is phenomenal, and my current choice for best album of 2019. (I ordered it in the midst of writing this post, if that gives you an idea of its magnificence. By the way, a portion of the proceeds from this LP will benefit The International Rescue Committee.)

"Spiritus Operis" perambulates with an enigmatic low-frequency throb, insistent, oddly plastic-y percussion, and Baird's free-throat ululations and exhalations. All of these strange elements somehow interlock and coalesce into a hypnotic groove that could be the pinnacle of Can's Ethnological Forgery series, had the track been recorded in the '70s. I can imagine a Donato Dozzy remix for the clubs.

Ka Baird currently has no Seattle live date scheduled in the foreseeable future, and that is a tragedy.