Thursday, 2 February 2012
Review: Bvdub - I Remember
Bvdub is prolific. That's the first thing you can say about this guy. He released something like 10 albums in 2011, which is absolutely ridiculous, and this is the only one of them available on Spotify. That's probably just as well, because Bvdub perfectly exemplifies my oft-stated theory that pleasant droney laptop ambient is seriously easy music to make. I haven't heard his other albums, but this one doesn't sound too different to last year's The Art Of Dying Alone, the only other Bvdub album I've heard. In fact, with one notable exception, it sounds almost identical. Now, he's obviously had a vast splurge of other music out this year so it's impossible for me to definitively state things about his overall sound and technique, but everything I've read online says these other albums are all pretty similar too.
I Remember is a lot of ultra-long, ultra-repetitive, loopy and droney pleasant laptop ambient. Sound familiar? Bvdub's one speciality seems to be in notably angelic, ethereal, transcendental sounds - he loves densely layered choral samples and other angelic light sounds, even though the overall mood of both the albums I've heard are extremely sombre. The Art Of Dying Alone was, obviously, an album about death, which explained the eerie transcendental sound and melancholic mood. I Remember isn't obviously themed around anything, but the musical content is pretty much the same, and the track titles are all pretty downbeat. Most of his albums appear to be pretty miserable, looking at Discogs. Brock Van Wey is clearly a bit of an emotional bastard, it seems. Cheer up man! Then maybe you'll stop remaking the same bloody record.
The one track that stands out from all this achingly beautiful but overall very samey sadness is We Promised, simply because halfway through you start to notice a distant techno throb behind all the choral tears-of-angels shit. Bvdub does also do a lot of dub techno (hence his name) and this track is the one thing I've heard from him so far that fuses his ambient and techno sounds together in this way. He's probably done this loads of times on other albums, because the idea appears here almost at random - halfway through the second track and never again on the album. Still, it impressed me because it's such an obvious fusion and yet it still works really well.
So yeah... yet another pleasant ambient album that probably isn't getting into the end of year list. Last year I put The Art Of Dying Alone in, because I was still fairly new to the world of blogbient, but you can't repeat the same trick and just throw a dub techno beat in at one point and expect me not to get a bit weary of the formula. The best stuff this guy has made is still his collaborative EP with ASC from this year, which was absolutely awesome.
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 7/10