Somnambule - Writing About Music

Bogdan Raczynski ~ renegade platinum mega dance attack party: don the plates

Trademark singsong, trademark skittering beats eaten away by corrosive alien juice; plundered by low flying attack-casiotones, agitated voices echo the hectic affect perpetrated by all those wondrous pirate jungle stations shouting out from points north, east, south west, winking up and out in the darkness of the city’s night, hunted by radio authorities to regulate and extinguish. Bogdan’s drill’n’bass - forged by Aphex and Squarepusher and uZiq and others – is the critically derided bastard grandchild of all that early 90s glory. I’ve sympathised with the derision until now, but I’ve got this cd for review so I stick my headphones on and I’m listening and I’m thinking this is great, gives me a rush, the abrasion of the clattery, screechy beats and the clattery, screechy synths; maybe it’s drum’n’bass taken to its logical conclusion, or one possible conclusion anyway (though one key thing that got lost on the way was the bass). Whatever, this is infantile music (1. showing a lack of maturity 2. relating to infants or infancy 3. in the earliest stage of erosion) – all nice definitions surely - where infantile is a kid’s sheer pleasure in the the touch of different things (those early years toys where each surface is a different fabric like velvet, corduroy, fake fur, denim - this is really tactile music, makes me want to be up and jigging around like Bill and Ben. You could alter the age group and draw the obvious parallels with the adrenalin rush of your favourite game on your gameboy, the latest arcade rumbler, whatever’s included on your mobile phone’s operating system. There’s nothing real about Don The Plates and that’s much of the fun of it. Pure, exhilarating escapism. That third definition, the one about erosion ties into the appearance of drill’n’bass after the peak of drum’n’bass (itself looked down upon as a pretentious dilution of ideal jungle in its supposedly exemplary raw state). Bogdan and his cohort may be a symptom of the moral decay of a once mighty civilization, fiddling while [London] burns, laughing at their own ka ka and trying to eat crisps with a knife and fork (as the cover appears to illustrate).

Dysfunctional, immature, juvenile? Bring it on.

PS for Bogdan experts this is a mid-priced release gathering bits from Drum And Bass Classixx, I Will Eat Your Children Too and some other new tracks.
Colin Buttimer
July 2003
Published by the BBC