Drowning in Daylight is pure magic. Elasticated vocals appear like spectres out of time, submerging themselves in the depths of reverb and invincible levels of love. Echoing harmonies and repeating pulses of patient sound build and build, while a thin, eroding padding of distortion eats into an angelic harmony. Plenty of time is given to drift in a slow-burning sea of glistening ambient, as these four tracks are on average twenty minutes long.
bvdub‘s music is a taste of paradise in an alternate utopia, sticking to the mind with its adhesive beat-strands and melting harmonies until it becomes something like an intoxicating drug. You keep coming back for more and more. While it pulls you in until it becomes difficult to leave, his music is more immersion than vanilla escapism.
Brock Van Wey’s sound is housed in the halcyon 90’s rave scene of San Francisco. Back then, he was both a DJ and promoter, and while it may not be immediately apparent, the sound that once influenced him has remained in his heart despite the intervening years, staying there and still beating, throbbing in a delectable ambient haze. The slow rhythm has relinquished its youthful energy and dropped its blood pressure, but it isn’t a million miles away from those nightclubs of old.
In the early 2000’s, Van Wey left for China after he became disillusioned with the music, and a scene that was, sadly but perhaps inevitably, becoming more and more commercial. The rest, as they say, is history. The resulting reincarnation only strengthened his music.
Since returning, Van Wey has been prolific in the extreme. It’s hard not to give unfair promotion or coverage to an artist when a large number of quality albums have been released, and pretty much all of them are deserving of attention.
Prolificity can be a godsend for fans (2018’s A Different Definition of Love was entry number 30), but there are perfectly valid concerns when faced with a prolific artist. A new album is a guarantee, and the deluge of music can be a turn-off. While bvdub has a trademark sound and some predictable elements, the layers are different enough to feel fresh every single time, and it’s gorgeous. Quality control can become an issue, but it’s important to note that this isn’t the case with bvdub, as his music is of a consistently high standard.
As bvdub, Van Wey’s music is emotional and sympathetic, hitting all the right nerves and striking at the core of the heart, pulling the listener into a deeply emotional world of ambient sound that beats even harder than the heart it belongs to. The music is alive; everything links up and works together. The pads glisten with a host of golden harmonies, spawning beautiful patterns that come to resemble mandalas or dreamcatchers while a driving, thumping rhythm enters into the mix through the fire escape.
The acid days are over, but bvdub is able to hit rewind. Built on a deep-seated chord progression, the harmonies fizz like fresh Pepsi, descending like a waterfall of carbonated acid; the light drizzle of synth remembers the nights of long ago, the thumper-beats recollect those 3 am sets. His music is a natural high; the safer and more powerful drug of music. Elevating itself above the rest, bvdub can do no wrong. His passion for music seeps out of every note, is evidence of and is indicative of a high work rate and an endless need to create. We love to focus on upcoming artists, but it’s impossible to ignore an essential album from a star player. While much of it is gloopy, ever-evolving, and utterly sublime, the jet-lagged arpeggios on ‘Seas of Shores, Forever Sweeping’ stand out, and they encapsulate much of his music – never ending, never ceasing, forever sweeping, forever reaching. (James Catchpole)