❉ The inimitable Brock Van Wey is at his most mellow and electronic here, writes Stuart Douglas.
“There’s a spectral feel to a lot of these tracks, with vocals just on the edge of understanding laid across distorted electronics which fade and phase, in and out of focus.”
As bvdub, Brock Van Wey has a long and impressive history as a composer of ambient and electronic music, stretching all the way from 2007’s Strength in Solitude LP via almost 50 albums to Days of Gold, his latest release on the quiet details label.
First, a word on quiet details itself. To quote its Bandcamp page, it is ‘a label with each release being an artist’s own unique interpretation of that phrase’, and having now heard the first three releases (this is the fourth), label boss Alex is doing a brilliant job in providing a platform for some gorgeous sounds.
Back to Van Wey, and it actually does him a bit of a disservice to label him as ‘merely’ an ambient musician, with the image that tends to conjure up of instrumental swells and elongated drones. At times his work in fact more closely aligns with the more experimental end of the back catalogues of the likes of MV & EE. Even when, as here, he’s at his most mellow and electronic, though, the music shows signs of his background in techno (though do not expect much by way of beats).
Ambient’s more typical wordless drone sound is replaced by treated vocals (as heard on album opener Days Inside of Love, which has an almost Cocteau Twins feel to it) or even straightforward, though muted, singing (most effectively on Days of Heaven and Earth and Days of Our Delusion, for instance). There’s a spectral feel to a lot of these tracks, with vocals just on the edge of understanding laid across distorted electronics which fade and phase, in and out of focus.
Melancholy and far distant, there are moments which bring to mind Basinski’s magisterial and desolate Disintegration Loops (this is, after all a man who has released tracks with titles like I Knew Happiness Once, This Place Has Only Known Sadness and The Art of Dying Alone), but a Basinski who allowed his tapes of Sade Adu to degrade over decades rather than those of random shortwave radio recordings.
Van Wey’s interpretation of quiet details is haunting, ghostlike and quite, quite beautiful. Another superb addition to a new and impressive series of releases from the label.
❉ ‘Days of Gold’ by bvdub was released May 17 2023 via quiet details, RRP £11.50. Click here to order via quiet details official page. Click here to order via bandcamp.
❉ Brock Van Wey: bvdub.org / bvdub.bandcamp.com / Facebook
❉ Stuart Douglas is an author, and editor and owner of the publisher Obverse Books. He has written four Sherlock Holmes novels and can be found on twitter at @stuartamdouglas
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