[sic] Magazine

Bvdub – All Is Forgiven

A cursory glance around the web reveals an almost universal love fest over Brock Van Wey’s (otherwise known as bvdub ) prolific musical output, particularly his current release All Is Forgiven . Personally, I hadn’t seen what the fuss was about. At least up until now. All Is Forgiven is currently number one at Darla mail-order. That’s some praise in itself. It is also another of those gargantuan records nominally containing only three discretely named tracks. Yet of course each of these are epic movements more aligned with the symphonic than the song. Tracks swirl and swell, constantly evolving around repeat motifs. It’s the kind of structure that’ll test the patience of many. Not only the remote control jocks but your normal, everyman listener too. However, a more serious, discerning audience will find plenty on offer, including hooks. You just have to let it flow.

All Is Forgiven is a shifting sea. A plaintive piano lament will emerge from a cloud of synth. Beats start up, but really kick in much much later. Loops are breathy and spacious, never droning. And it’s no wordless wonder either. Buried at the back are gospel/soul-boy vocals. At such moments bvdub bridges the gap between Moby and Burial . Not the most subtle of genre comparison points for me to draw, I’ll agree but terrific pegs for newcomers to hang their coats. Existing fans will attest to the fact that bvdub is his own man and he stands alone.

If All Is Forgiven has any problems then those ethnic vocals are at the heart of this. Often purely instrumental IDM or electronica albums cry out for the nuance only a singer can offer. Here, against a shifting background of evolving beats, the vocal coos and cries can become too repetitive themselves. This is most acutely felt on the albums third passage, the oddly titled ‘Peonies fall for Kings’ yet even that piece recovers to end the album on a high.

All Is Forgiven is a swirling, fully immersive experience – the musical equivalent of a long bath, rather than a quick shower getting ready to go out. I was surprised, shocked even, but in a nice way. Maybe you will be too. Worth investigating.

bvdub at n5MD