Bvdub – All Is Forgiven
Posted In: Brock Van Wey, bvdub, Bvdub - All Is Forgiven, Mick Buckingham, n5md
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In times of trouble, it’s totally natural for elements to change. Like your bedroom at your folks’ house, being given a secret overhaul, while away grafting. Or a cup, pinched from view, disposed at a mental health hospital. Scientific times of great significance occur all the time, as do weathering times of great contrast. Diagnostic counterbalance under-resulting (and unifying) from every conclusive supplication is an onion; being peeled back slowly by the accepting, dotting the trans-fusion of the work, like a dream diary inked with tears.
In troubled times, we also – at least me – are always able to (re)turn to tuning and tempering sound. As with my experiences, transcendental introspection comes naturally to Brock Van Wey, aka Bvdub. He’s a dextrous master now, from dozens of records, for-and-including: Home Normal, Nomadic Kids Republic and Darla. Coral reef deep-as-you-love layered artefacts. He’s the right artist on Fluid for me to introduce ‘revolvent retrospectivity’.
You see, when I hear Bvdub, I don’t hear paint drying. Rather, a fruit cocktail, laced with mint and thyme. Brock’s revolvent retrospectivity is to take an already established idea (of his own), and brandish it anew, bells, whistles et al. In this sense musicians counterweight their individual identities, and also admonish suggestions of sameness. But I’d only apply the revolvent retrospectivity concept to someone of equal calibre to Bvdub. His revolving, magnum-melt melodies curtail as diamonds in a soundstorm; untouched by dirt, simply supple and soft. They become diamels: pure oddities of purpose and his vision. The iconography of Bvdub also fits: a transluscent, elusive character who expounded a choice quote in his interview with Organic this year.
“I’m sick of hearing people call Ambient ‘sad sack music’” responded Brock, defiant to the end of all expectatorists. It’s equivalent of putting a bumper sticker on your car, saying “Don’t like melancholy music? Don’t listen”. A pro-life approach that also respects those depressed by sad music. Brock, saintly and mercifully to credit, tapers off woes, of sovereign male and female wisdom. A keystone in embracing feminist raunch while amassing it in multi-lathed stock and share of colour, synchrony (visual mixing with triplet vocal myriads) and timing.
Sonically, it builds cumulative and innate narcolepsy on every Bvdub release; mango chutney relished, both by audience, and the affluent antibacteriality of ethnicity ulti-culturalism. The musical effects are clear. Like a bubble, too, it depends on the context how it pops. On this 19 minute piece for vocals, synths, drum machine and piano, Brock is a submarine, combing through the waves, and he puts every porous rubric in, with no snap or crackle in love.
“I could not feel life more than this / Even if it’s far away” is such a beautiful vocal harmony on this record. At 6 minutes, stylistically, it would be crass comparing Bvdub to Burial without definition. Where Burial lets whole lyrical passages ghostwrite his tunes with beats, Brock collages them in surfeits that are pastoral and elegant. Indeed, Burial’s “Untrue” and Mogwai’s “Come On Die Young” are the first compatriots power-based, always, to this “All is Forgiven” compendium. Mogwai have the noise intensity and dynamics, while at last strand, Bvdub is able to foster in elements of Boards Of Canada’s “Dawn Chorus” to complete a sensational brew.
N5md are still relatively underground on the experimental frequencies radar, with brilliant label releases from Port-Royal (“Dying In Time”) and Bitcrush (“Epilogue In Waves”). Their interpartially soliptic title bank, for albums they produce, underpins them as one with a revolvent retrospectivity all theirs. Beats of drums are Dalek sharp; vocal passages soothe like sorbets; ordership is inconsequential. Nothing is rushed with their catalogue, and they exist to test your wallets’ resistance, fully deserved.
Some final words. I felt so grateful receiving this music from Fluid Radio HQ, as it influences my output as Foci’s Left in future, and second, the message behind the music couldn’t have come at a better moment. It reminded me again that “All Shall Be Well”, but as a fundamental extension, “All Is Forgiven”. “The reflective person feels a grief that the unreflective do not know”, wrote Immanuel Kant in Speculative Beginnings Of Human History, “a grief that can well lead to moral ruination: this is a discontentedness with the providence that governs the entire course of the world.” But Brock, whatever you do – don’t stop. You’re a candle in the dark that lights a thousand shadows.
- Mick Buckingham for Fluid Radio