Bogdan Raczynski – Thinking Of You

3 out of 5

Label: Rephlex

Produced by: Bogdan Raczynski

Rephlex madman Bogdan Raczynski was one of the huge lynchpins of the label during its run, amidst plenty of other heavy-hitters, all doing their owns things. Bogdan’s thing was a kitchen sink of blenders, though, smashing together blistering drill and bass with oddball tendencies – cooed vocals, broken non-rhythms – that certainly felt like they were comparable to things being doing by Aphex or Cylob, but with a weird punkness to it. Bogdan’s music was, in some regards, less mature than that of his peers, but its lack of polish was also its promise, iterated upon in a slew of releases from 1999 until about 2002.

Thinking Of You – his third album – is where we first see Raczynski trying to formalize things a bit. His distracted nature still runs through – as does his humor – but there’s a narrative here about a breakup that seems to drive Bogdan toward composing by extremes: here is a groove track; here is a drill track; etc. It’s not without spazziness, but overall, is less spazzy than the preceding discs. And this does lead to greatness, as on the opening thump of All I Want Is To Be By Your Side But You Don’t Care, which has an amazing beat and then begins to be Bogdaned upon, with jittery synths and vocals; but it also leads to some more tiresome stuff, such as the one-tone drumming and spoken lyrics of Fuck You DJ and Domesticated Violence. In the grander scheme, these hold interest (the former is funnily childish; the latter is also, but comparing the title to the content is interesting), but actually listening to them as songs is a bit tiresome. The back-and-forth nature of these compositions makes Thinking Of You feel like a compilation almost; it ironically never quite comes together, despite having that linking narrative.

But it’s also an incredibly important puzzle piece in the artist’s career, especially paired with followup My Love I Love; both seeming attempts at adding in some of that missing maturity. Here, Bogdan can’t quite focus on his task, and so the entirety of the set feels wayward, or so focused as to be a bit repetitive. Mixed in, though, there are moments that succeed, making them some of the most memorable tracks from across the artist’s discography.