[sic] Magazine

bvdub – Born In Tokyo

This week came the announcement that Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympic games. I cannot escape the ridiculous thought of an Olympics purely for those with perfect vision (2020 – 20:20, get it?) No matter. Brock Van Wey has a vision but he isn’t playing games. A prolific artist, Born In Tokyo is his twentieth release and the creative spirit remains Olympian. As the name (and label) might suggest, bvdub is an electronic artist dealing in chilled, sophisticated IDM, the type more suited to 5AM than 2AM. I suppose Born In Tokyo has its roots in House music, which is not my genre of expertise to be totally honest, but if it isn’t the perfect soundtrack to the afterparty, then it certainly suits the taxi ride from club to lounge.

This is impressive stuff again from Van Wey. His last release, All Is Forgiven won me over but I think Born In Tokyo has the edge. As I understand it the inspiration for this album came from a visit to Japan earlier in the year. The result is an album of improved shape, (six tracks this time all of around the 12 minute mark) and sure footed confidence. If you haven’t heard bvdub previously, his music typically integrates sweeping piano melodies with crisp, satisfying percussive beats. The rhythm patterns really stand out. Added to this is a side order of swirling ambience with a sprinkling of soulful vocals to top things off.

I’ve included the track ‘Strong Again’ as it is the only one I could find from this new collection. It’s a pity, because it works less well in isolation than it does placed perfectly in third position on the record. You’ll get a sense of the beauty Van Wey is capable of but his strong suit has to be those rhythmic sequences and the standouts are probably on the albums opening pair. If, like me, you’re a lover of intros, this guy could be right up your alley. He excels at building each track, layering elements and going through the phases. Songs build to their satisfying, logical peak then take us gently back down again. Nothing jars, (the vocals are just the right side of chipmunk), nothing provokes or wrong foots the listener. It’s all warmth, safety and love here.

You hear about artists stretching themselves and working outside their comfort zone. It’s a modern cliché. bvdub is not doing this. Born In Tokyo is a comfort zone. Van Wey built it for us. Come inside.

[sic] review – All is Forgiven

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