Bvdub - Where to Now
Despite only making his debut last year, San Francisco's Bvdub, AKA Brock van Wey, has quickly made his mark on the dub techno scene. One reason is the hard work he has put in during 2008 to release a slew of 12-inches and limited edition tracks on labels like Styrax and Quietus, but arguably the bigger reason is his unique take on the sound. While so much dub techno often seems shackled to the foundations of sub-aquatic echo and white noise hiss laid down by Basic Channel, van Wey steps effortlessly to the side and instead floods his tracks with sweeping emotional waves and big, partially arrhythmic kick drums that still manage to retain a dub aesthetic. His latest pair of singles on Styrax imprint Millions of Moments doesn't break with his distinctive sound, but rather crystallises it into pure downbeat bliss.
Although difficult to choose between the two, Where to Now just edges out its companion release Wish I Was Here with its plaintive emotional call and gentle build. Starting with several opening bars of moody ambience, "Where to Now" soon lurches forward with trademark heavy kick drums in an almost four-four beat that seems all the more desperate and searching for its non-repetition. Wave after wave of forlorn metallic chords then slowly condense, sliding glacially into one another with gathering momentum as further bass and drum elements slowly melt into the mix.
"Way Back When" is the converse of "Where to Now," working more from the rhythm than the ambience. It bursts straight in with an even more broken rhythm than the flip side, but marked out by a more conventional snare pattern. The steely, epic chords still thread and push their way through the mix, but there's less build here and a rare sense of optimism.
Sun / 7
A Where to Now [For Milo]
B Way Back When