Depressing stuff, but Van Wey's work has always had a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel quality. Every minor piano chord has a tinkling harp coming along (relatively) soon after to brighten things up. On his newest album, The Art of Dying Alone, this now includes the human voice more than ever before, even further underlining van Wey's humanistic bent. They never quite get to say anything intelligible. But that should come as no surprise really. In RA's interview with van Wey last year, he touched on the topic of imagined utopias. To have them say anything in particular would break the spell, and take away from what you think they might be singing.
Instead, they act like the bvdub standbys—the lulling pianos, the cumulus synths, the gently plucked guitars. Just another source of material to pile into the inexorable droning waves of sound. Those waves are reminiscent of some of Pop Ambient's original contributors—Markus Guentner, Ulf Lohmann, Dettinger—which take techno's belief in the power of repetition and maps it onto ambient's cooler sound palette. You can still hear traces of van Wey's beat-centric work in the pulsing momentum that is underlying much of Dying Alone.
It seems beside the point to describe in depth any of the tracks here. (Again, the spell.) But it's worth noting that van Wey clearly cuts the album in half—"To Finally Forget It All" and the title track provide a sort of closure. They're both around 20 minutes long, and rank among the producer's finest work to date, similar to the mammoth CD "single" To Live. "Finally" relentlessly pushes its gleaming elements forward, adding another unbearably emotional element every few minutes or so. "Dying Alone" comes in parts, climaxing in a beautiful mess of human voices. It's all essential material from one of the few artists working in this milieu that sounds relevant in 2010.