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Bvdub

Brock van Wey produces deeply emotional ambient and techno at an astonishing rate, mainly under the alias bvdub. Actively releasing music since 2007, he's achieved cult status for his output, which generally takes the form of lengthy pieces filled with layers of rolling, cloudy synths and sorrowful vocal samples, sometimes with hazy post-rock guitars or dubby echo effects. He's released several dozen albums on labels like Darla, n5MD, Glacial Movements, and Apollo, with some of his most cherished works including the isolated ambience of The Art of Dying Alone (2010), the heavy-hearted techno of A Careful Ecstasy (2013), and the patient drones of Epilogues for the End of the Sky (2017). The environmentally conscious Ten Times the World Lied appeared in 2020, and 2022's Violet Opposition added a distorted edge to the bvdub sound. Van Wey also releases drum'n'bass as East of Oceans and deep house as Earth House Hold. Born in 1974 in Livermore, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area, van Wey was classically trained in violin and piano as a child. In the early '90s, he had an epiphany upon hearing deep house for the first time and decided to pursue electronic music as a career. He soon became a fixture on the Bay Area rave scene as a DJ and promoter; however, after a decade he had become disillusioned with the scene and decided to make a completely fresh start. Moving to China in 2001, he settled in the eastern city of Shaoxing and made a living teaching English, but he returned to music a few years later. Learning the rudiments of electronic music production from a friend, van Wey released his first album as bvdub, Strength in Solitude, in 2007 through the German netlabel 2600. It laid the blueprint for what would become his signature sound: lush, deep, melancholy ambient, rhythmic but often beatless, consisting of densely layered synth sounds and regularly featuring looped piano melodies and female vocal samples. That year, he also launched his own label, Quietus, through which he released several of his albums. Quickly achieving acclaim for the deeply personal and emotional nature of his music, he began to record at a prolific rate. His earliest full-lengths were only issued as digital albums or CD-Rs, while labels such as Styrax Records and Millions of Moments released vinyl singles and EPs of his techno tracks. White Clouds Drift On and On, his first album under his given name, was issued by dub-techno label Echospace in 2009, and was named one of the Top 20 albums of the year by Resident Advisor. The Art of Dying Alone appeared on Glacial Movements in 2010, and his first vinyl full-length, A Silent Reign, was released by Styrax the same year. 2011 was one of bvdub's most prolific years, with no fewer than eight full-lengths issued, including his first releases on Darla (Resistance Is Beautiful) and Home Normal (Tribes at the Temple of Silence), as well as the Ian Hawgood collaboration The Truth Hurts (on Nomadic Kids Republic). He worked with Loscil, another highly regarded ambient artist, on the 2013 release Erebus. Home, van Wey's second Echospace issued under his own name, appeared in 2014. Albums as bvdub continued to surface on the aforementioned labels as well as AY and Sound in Silence. Heartless was released by n5MD in 2017, and Epilogues for the End of the Sky came out on Glacial Movements the same year. In 2018, Moscow's Dronarivm put out A Different Definition of Love, and R&S' ambient sublabel Apollo issued Drowning in Daylight. Explosions in Slow Motion appeared on n5MD in 2019, and the beatless, instrumental full-length Ten Times the World Lied was released by Glacial Movements in 2020. Burn Back Time, Wrath & Apathy, and 101 Rooms also appeared that year. In 2021, bvdub's double-album Hard Times, Hard Hearts was released by AY, and Measures of a Greater Mercy was self-issued. The 2022 n5MD full-length Violet Opposition had more of a gritty, shoegaze-influenced sound than van Wey's past releases.
© John D. Buchanan & Paul Simpson /TiVo
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