[sic] Magazine

bvdub – Yours Are Stories Of Sadness

bvdub is the solo project of San Francisco-based Brock Van Wey. He has produced some 28 albums to date under the name bvdub, and he also records under his own name as well as the aliases of Earth House Hold and East of Oceans.

The music typically is ambient. You almost melt into it – it’s very deep, very lush and very beautiful. The 19 tracks herein take the listener on a journey during which – just for a few moments – you’re mentally transported somewhere else entirely.

This album differs markedly from previous bvdub albums in that the tracks all come in at between 3 and 4 minutes. So what? Well, you’d need to listen to previous releases to understand that rarely does a bvdub track come in at less than quarter of an hour, let alone 5 minutes. This is important, because he’s focused on getting straight to the beating heart of a track rather than the normal route of commencing with an idea and then taking that idea on a journey, building the track over time, adding multiple layers and molding the track into something different.

You might describe the 19 pieces as fragments, pieces of something else, perhaps. You may even imagine moments of your own experiences within the music. During ‘06’, I was transported to the first time I watched ‘Lost In Translation’, the movie starring Bill Murray & Scarlett Johansson – and then further back still – during my own visits to the Far East. That ‘06’ takes me directly to the Far East is not so far away from the truth, for Van Wey travelled to China in 2001 to commence a self-imposed exile. The music makes complete sense in the confines of China, Hong Kong or Singapore – in the same way that Murray & Johansson interact throughout the movie – sometimes without any need for vocal communication. Put simply, it ‘fits’.

‘09’ encapsulates everything I like about bvdub. It attracts an emotional intensity, which is quite subconscious. It promotes feelings of love, missed opportunities, something said or not said, or simply a period of complete happiness. The album is almost completely reflective – a series of visual images which you alone are invited to imagine. A retelling of stories so personal that nobody can be invited in. Extremely delicate, it’s almost as if bvdub dares you to imagine something more beautiful or less powerful.

To glimpse into the future – just for the briefest moment – listen to ‘14’. It combines optimism with the ultimate happiness.

If ever there was the ability to peer into the fragile mind of an ambient pioneer, it’s this album. It offers rare insights into his music which other albums in his extensive back catalogue can only allude to.

Find Out More

Born In Tokyo – review