B + B: What’s in a name? Would Nietzsche have been a raver? These two records and performers have no relationship whatsoever except they are both electronic music releases this season, and their names may seem a little similar. They couldn’t be more different in style. One a Polish-American producer (Bogdan Raczynski) and the other a sound artist hailing from North Macedonia (Boban Ristevski). A double-take, a tongue twister, split at birth? It’s likely none and all of the above – but there’s no familial relation as far as we’ve managed to detect. It seemed to make sense to clearly identify their differences (and if there may be any overlap). Shall we dive deeper or dig a larger trope hole to bury our head?
Bogdan Raczynski | Rave ‘Till You Cry
Disciples/Warp Records (2xLP/CD/DL)
From an artist who has barely been on the scene for nearly a dozen years this set is teeming with eighteen short tracks, all numbered and sequenced. His is a silkier sound than that of yore, more elongated and pondering, but encoded with all the resting rave face you could possibly hope for. There are plenty of tweeky electronics and old school 808 references, but there are as many glimpses of a stylistically sophisticated side that understands how ambient melody fits into the whole. Still, there are passages on 318 22t7 where the drum patchwork programs come off loosey-goosey and a bit too self-referential.
Raczynski offers the classic ‘Rephlex’ sound phasing synths and blurpy singular tonal effects together act as a tease. And yet on 329 15h he manages to through in the magical lil’ melodies that glistened on Björk‘s Debut. Retro arcade gaming systems are quoted here and there, but where this stands out most compellingly are in the percussive pockets such as the twitching jitters and murmuring brought forth on the enigmatic 332 23t422. Rave ‘Till You Cry truly comes off with smart sequencing, almot like one of those conceptual records where the tension builds through small plot points that don’t really make sense until you listen to the full longplayer. This is a smart device, and as such this recording, never for a second, gets repetitive or boring, whether the beats do or not – you crave more and more.
This has the groove of those so-called IDM records that people love or hate, but what puts it further on the meter of the former rather than the latter is its attention to a pure sweaty fun, it’s just an animated creation that sounds as though it could have been one of those lost gems from early cassette culture. If only 356 34h12 came out circa 1997 I might have a completely different record collection. It, like Rave ‘Till You Cry as a whole, is relentless in its pursuit of finding the space of hybrid between the past (210 31c22) and present in terms of style and experimentation beyond expectations and form. The ending 204 fr, a work of deep bellowing drone places us at sea, perfectly at the cusp, and likely the only crossover with what’s to come*.
* see below
Boban Ristevski | When Nietzsche Wept/My Name Is Red
Drone Works International (DL)
* see above
Inspired by novels by Irvin D. Yalom and Orhan Pamuk here we have the new release by Boban Ristevski, When Nietzsche Wept/My Name Is Red. Broken into five parts and opening with a fusion of drone, toy music box melody and barely perceptible hiss. When Nietzsche Wept runs a full thirty-five minutes and boasts this perplexing cross between a playful and an aberrant side. This flexing of moods makes for polemic mix, a proverbial fish out of water here – the salmon swimming upstream. And this only becomes literal when waters cascade through. This is far from ambient and meditative – it’s more of a salad toss of the mind. And as the piece moves forward the modulating harmonic and the tranquil slowly part ways in the final ten minutes, eventually leaving you with less of a stream of consciousness and only a stream to contemplate.
As A Murder(er) opens there’s a jittering industrial drone of tempered accents at play. By imposing the most minor of layers Ristevski‘s sound becomes more dynamic, as if he is constructing a wall of sound, like whitenoise, in repetition. The volume grows until the initial jangle is instantly redirected towards a gently lapping of watery movements, finally into the ether of airy levitating drone. And just here on Cultural Layered Meanings is where his sound takes a lush turn. In the mix he has managed to fuse ambient textures with a jet-stream drone that then pairs and divides finer tones even further. It’s a deluge of hypnotic energy, alas it comes and goes in just seven minutes making way for the generator grind of The Voice Of Death. This noisy turn is the recording’s most blatantly muddy and post-industrial, the sequencing here seems off, but likely intentional given the dragging of the finale, The Color Of Red, which follows.
Of all the material here, the conclusion is its most organic, and it’s least sonic. Though as the composers intuitive nature starts to show its true colors, in the way in what dying layers fall away leaving room for new growth one starts to get the picture more fully. And though the mix may come off pixelated and quite awkward, it’s the most elemental workings that make their way, by force or otherwise, to the surface. It’s rough, it’s raw, it’s real – like nature’s wrath.