A Journal Of The Dark Arts
The prolific producer Bvdub chronicles the many aspects of distance, from his new home in China, for the excellent electronic label n5md.
Distance is a complicated subject. On one hand, it is ultimately shattering, if you are separated from what you love or desire, but on the other, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and sometimes you need a bit of distance, to properly see something or somebody.
On The History Of Distance, Brock Van Wey illustrates this empty space with stripped down beats, which are swathed in ethereal echoes and ghostly voices, in a way that is both chilly and warm and luscious.
Every track on THOD is a world unto itself, 3 out of the 4 clocking in at over 20 minutes. There’s a lot of twists, turns, bobs and weaves that can happen, in that amount of time – too many to detail. Each soundworld has its share of ambiance, as well as danceability. The analog pads – which brings to mind latter-day shoegaze acts like The Sight Below, as well as ambient masterpieces like Selected Ambient Works Volume II. The most impressive thing of The History Of Distance is how Van Wey combines the technological with the emotive, straddling the divide, and bringing the best of both worlds.
You get a sense of Bvdub’s hands on the faders, as beats are crept in, and left to ring out in the haze, in subtle movements, such as on the exquisite album opener “Everything Between You And Me”. The presence of the human voice, which appears, in some form or another in each track, further humanizes the abstraction, as voices sing in an ethereal, Jonsi-like glossolalia, that speaks in a language of hope and desire.
Bonus points for the breakbeats on the title track and album closer, which brings to mind recent Burial 2-step beat manglings. I am predicting more of a return of drum ‘n bass and jungle, in the coming year, where Bvdub will be recognized as prescient.
Bvdub has released 33 LPs since 2007. That alone is staggering enough, but many of them are damn good, and possibly essential, with The History Of Distance being a pinnacle. With producers able to put out solidly constructed, well mixed and produced records that quickly, is surely evidence that we are not living in the decadent times everyone seems to think we are.
This album resonates with the contemplative nature of the early winter chill, despite having come out in the summertime. It’s triply poignant for myself, as i require and appreciate distance, as a way to cultivate my craft, and often, just want to be left alone. Recently, i got what i wished for, and had a falling out with a dear friend, that has intimately introduced me to what space can feel like. It’s a double-edged sword, and Bvdub has provided my soundtrack for this complexity.
We’re rounding out 2014, and i’m doing a mad dash, to talk about as many notable releases i meant to get around to, earlier in the year. Anything you think people should desperately hear, or you’d like to get my thoughts on? Leave us a comment, or post on the FB Page!