Jan 4, 2015

Sundaze 1501


Bvdub is an American electronic music producer originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 2007 he has released more than 40 albums and EPs under this name and other pseudonyms including his birth name, Brock Van Wey. Residing in Shaoxing, China, he produces ambient and ambient techno music that has received critical acclaim from the likes of online magazines Resident Advisor, Headphone Commute and Gridface. His first release as Brock Van Wey, White Clouds Drift On And On, was included in RA's Top 20 Albums of 2009.


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Brock was born in 1974 and grew up in Livermore near San Francisco. He was classically trained as a child and from the age of five he was taught violin and, later, piano. By age eleven he had composed his first piece of music for the trio of cello, violin and viola and had written several more pieces by his mid-teens. Feeling that he did not actually enjoy classical music (and preferring instead to "remix" the pieces he learned in his head) he eventually gave it up altogether. In the early 90s he heard, by chance, a deep house mix tape that would inspire him to pursue electronic music. He was soon performing as a deep house and ambient DJ and appearing regularly at raves in San Francisco, initially under his own name and later under the bvdub moniker. Van Wey composed his first electronic piece in 1993 - an industrial techno/classical track - that differed significantly in style to the music he would later produce.

In 2001, Brock moved to China, having become disillusioned with the scene in San Francisco and sought to make a fresh start in a country that had always held a fascination for him. He began work as a professor of English, teaching over 200 students. It was not until 2006 that he started to produce his own music after a friend spent time teaching him the finer details of various pieces of hardware and software. His first release as bvdub was Strength In Solitude LP in 2007, an album which comprises the first six tracks he created in the order that they were made.

In 2007 Van Wey founded the label Quietus Recordings in response to his friends' music being turned down by other record labels for being "too self-indulgent" or "too deep". Creating the label allowed bvdub and others to release their most personal compositions without fear of it being rejected. The label, in fact, encourages its artists to present only the music by which they would want to be remembered. To make each release as personal as possible, Van Wey takes the photos for the CD label and the cover art himself whilst listening to the music that the images are to accompany. The label has released bvdub's own recordings as well as productions by Quantec and Arc Of Doves.

After returning to China, following a period living once more in San Francisco, a mutual friend put Van Wey in touch with indie label Darla Records. A fruitful relationship blossomed that has seen bvdub release several albums on the label to date including 2011's Resistance Is Beautiful and 2012's Serenity.

The name bvdub was given to Brock by a colleague and is simply a shortening of his initials, BVW, rather than being intended to denote dub or dub techno music. Brock describes his own music as electronic, ambient and ambient techno (though prefers not to categorize it at all) and has stated that he has never produced anything he would associate with dub.

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Subtitled "Translation of Mørketid," Brock Van Wey's second album for the Glacial Movements label is a reinterpretation of an album by label head Alessandro Tedeschi. The music is exactly what you might expect from a label called Glacial Movements: ambient and more or less beatless, and tending to develop very, very slowly but with irresistible force. The album's opening track, "This Place Has Only Known Sadness," builds up a great density of layers over the course of 16 minutes; the layers include soft, hissy static, pseudo-choral vocals, organ chords, and eventually slow and deliberate percussion. "We Said Forever," on the other hand, is more richly musical, with a brief repetitive chord pattern that also gradually thickens and is surrounded by drones and wordless choirs; then suddenly the mood switches and becomes darker, more throbbing, with a beat that straddles house and dub. These two tracks pretty much set the pattern for the album: droning chords that shift like cloud banks; beats that vary from desultory to urgent ("Would It Be the Same"); glitches and dubwise touches that sometimes dance on the surface and sometimes mutter down below. Voices come in from time to time, but rarely say anything intelligible. The result is a listening experience by turns relaxing and unsettling, but always quite beautiful.

Bvdub - I Remember (translations of Morketid)  (flac 449mb)

01 This Place Has Only Known Sadness 16:08
02 We Said Forever 14:40
03 The Promise (Reprise) 14:40
04 Would It Be The Same 13:28
05 There Was Nothing But Beauty In My Heart 13:20
06 A Taste Of Your Own Medicine 6:25

Bvdub - I Remember (translations of Morketid)  (ogg  165mb)

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Bvdub has never been afraid to let his tracks wander, and on Resistance Is Beautiful, each of these 10+ minute tracks cover lots of ground. The initial layers of "What Happened to Us" (complete with an Indian vocal sample) eventually give themselves over to an near-industrial beat, while the near folksiness of the guitar that kicks off "Nothing Like You" continues in the background as ethnic chanting -- one of Van Wey's favorite musical tropes -- echoes above it. "Gone Tomorrow" goes into downtempo territory, while "This Is Why You'll Never Win" brings in lower bass tones and eventually a house beat. "Fall" ends the album with some light breaks over sped-up vocals bent into ethereal shapes. I'm not sure what Van Wey is trying to resist, but it does end up beautiful anyway.

Bvdub - Resistance Is Beautiful  (flac  502mb)

01 What Happened To Us 17:38
02 Nothing Like You 15:41
03 Gone Tomorrow 11:03
04 This Is Why You'll Never Win 14:26
05 Fall 17:17

Bvdub - Resistance Is Beautiful  (ogg 169mb)

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Misty-eyed ambient session pairing two lost souls in a melancholy marriage of blissed-out electronica. BVdub should need little introduction, his sighing ambience is beloved by many, from dub Techno boys to drone drones, while Ian Hawgood is a busy guy responsible for the Home Normal, Nomadic Kids Republic and Tokyo Droning labels, besides productions under his own name and the Koen Park alias, among others. On 'The Truth Hurts' it's hard to distinguish who does what, but no mither, you'll probably be too busy lost in ambient space to be bothered. The first track features vocal layers a la Cocteau Twins, washing around a vast space and anchored with super wide subs. 'Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Pretender' is like sinking into a deep shagpile carpet face-first. 'Lie In Lone' attempts something more subtle with tender acoustic guitars before it's soon subsumed by 20+ minutes of wooly, standing-on-a-mountaintop ambient tone washes. Again, 'Your Grand Finale (A Theater Of One)' loses itself in 24 mins of cloudy beatless ambience.

Bvdub & Ian Hawgood - The Truth Hurts (flac  399mb)

01 Nothing You Want Will Ever Come True 12:32
02 Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Pretender 12:16
03 Lie In Lone 24:32
04 Your Grand Finale (A Theater Of One) 24:00

Bvdub & Ian Hawgood - The Truth Hurts  (ogg 145mb)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Though I have come across Bvdub recordings many times before I have never heard any of them. Reading your post convinces me to give 'Resistance Is Beautiful' a try. Many thanks.