Bogdan Raczynski
Bogdan Raczynski

Bogdan Raczynski

About Bogdan Raczynski

A true original, Bogdan Raczynski is one of the most idiosyncratic artists to be associated with the IDM scene. Inspired by the hardcore rush of '90s jungle as well as the traditional music of his Polish heritage, his work is by turns manic, cartoonish, and unabashedly sentimental. Originating from the demoscene subculture during the 1990s, much of his catalog has been produced using tracker programs and other PC software. Raczynski's level of creativity and unique sense of humor have ensured his heroic status among certain types of bedroom producers and electronic music enthusiasts. He first came to the public's attention in 1999 with a stack of releases on Aphex Twin's Rephlex label; albums such as Boku Mo Wakaran and Samurai Math Beats combined overdriven, absurdly complex breakbeats with fuzzy melodies as well as helium-pitched vocal snippets in English and Japanese. His increasingly sincere efforts culminated in the abstract electro-acoustic suite My Love I Love (2001), while releases such as '96 Drum 'N Bass Classixxx (2002) paid more overt tribute to his jungle influences. Following 2007's ecstatic Alright!, a decade passed before Raczynski returned with the aptly titled Rave 'Till You Cry in 2019.
Raczynski was born in Poland, but he lived in the United States throughout his childhood. After moving to Japan to attend art school, he dropped out and became homeless, playing trumpet at jazz clubs in Tokyo and living on the streets or in friends' houses. He also began making electronic music on a laptop using tracker programs, uploading tracks to various netlabels under pseudonyms like Karl and Ice Climber. Eventually he caught the attention of Richard D. James (Aphex Twin), who eagerly signed him to Rephlex. No less than four Raczynski releases appeared on the label in 1999: Boku Mo Wakaran, Samurai Math Beats, Thinking of You, and an EP titled Ibiza Anthems, Vol. 4, which managed to fool some unsuspecting trance DJs. Additionally, Raczynski contributed an Autechre remix to Warp 10+3: The Remixes.
2001 brought an unexpected change of direction, as Raczynski released My Love I Love, a considerably less frenzied release that contained arrangements for accordion and trumpet, as well as his own unaltered vocals. A limited EP titled Muzyka Dla Imigrantów appeared around the same time, further expanding on the artist's Polish folk influences. In 2002, Raczynski released '96 Drum 'N Bass Classixxx, a limited double LP of mutated jungle tracks credited to throwback monikers such as Kingsland Kru and Suburban Fox. One of the aliases, Abdullah K, subsequently shared a split EP with breakcore duo Society Suckers. Raczynski further explored this neo-jungle direction with 2003's I Will Eat Your Children Too! EP and Renegade Platinum Mega Dance Attack Party: Don the Plates, a CD compiling tracks from the vinyl releases as well as previously released tracks and mixes. In 2005, Rephlex issued a white-label 12" of Raczynski's earlier collaboration with Björk. The two had previously written a song titled "Embrace Fortress" together during the sessions for 2001's Vespertine, but it didn't fit on that album, so it was left off. Björk then reworked the song into "Who Is It," which appeared on 2004's Medúlla, and Raczynski's original version was subsequently issued with the subtitle "Shooting Stars & Asteroids Mix." Raczynski's jumpy, gleeful Alright! followed in 2007.
The artist largely remained quiet for a while, occasionally making live appearances or releasing DJ mixes. He also provided remixes for Osborne ("Ruling") and Sigur Rós leader Jónsi ("Go Do") during the early 2010s. Raczynski remained active, composing music for video games and assembling a collection of modular synthesizers. In 2019, he resurfaced with Rave 'Till You Cry, a collection of previously unreleased archival tracks and alternate versions, issued by Warp sublabel Disciples. The five-song EP Debt appeared on Unknown to the Unknown in 2020. ~ Paul Simpson

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