San Francisco artist Brock Van Wey aka bvdub has been making music nonstop lately, thankfully without ever sacrificing quantity for quality. As with some of his most recent (wonderful) releases, the 20-minute, minimal electronic symphonies of The First Day are mantras for the digital age, and absorb the listener completely into a world that feels and sounds like the future.
Despite its sweeping rhythms The First Day is, at its heart, a deeply existential work of art, and a meditative experience. The tribal rhythm of “Never in the prison of their stars”, and “While they dreamed we were there” put the listeners in a trance with the speed of a Shinkansen as the accompanying choir of robots sing about the glory of this brand new world, their heads spinning in a futile attempt to remain rational.
This is an album that appeals to our instincts, and makes our heads and bodies dance, and it does so slowly and gradually, immersing us first into a lake of light and electronic sounds that are so perfect you begin to wonder if the future could actually be so bright.
Every beat, every drum sound, every voice, repeats itself, multiplies until it transforms into something altogether new and majestic. Perhaps his inspiration has been the ever-changing experience of living in an emerging superpower like China, where futuristic cities are being built in one night and everything is moving so fast that no one ever has a minute to spare and contemplate the meaning of it all.
Listening to The First Day often feels like diving into a virtual world such as the one in Tron, a world where everything is so smooth and perfect, all you are left to do as a traveler is challenge yourself intellectually. In the album’s closing track “My Skies Cry Your Name” a reverberating rhythm ascends to a higher level of consciousness and ends leaving us exhausted, but with the peace of mind one has when experiencing beauty capable of renewing our faith in the cleansing and rejuvenating power of music. (John Kontos)