Beloved in the concrete court of Norman is bvdub, the heartbreaking ambient techno artist responsible for a slew of the loveliest releases. Real name Brock Van Wey, his work is both harnessing and expansive, bringing the listener close while scoping out big natural landscapes (check that one on the front cover). Heartless is the twenty-ninth record in this project, if you can believe it, and is purposed to sound a little huger in its layers.
8/10 Ant Staff review, 14 September 2017
Despite the fact that Brock Van Wey has released some 30 albums as bvdub, ‘Heartless’ is apparently the first to be pressed onto vinyl. n5MD have broken the tradition of CD/digital only releases, so if you’ve longed for some bvdub wax, then now’s your time. Although digital formats are clearly the best vehicle for his music. I mean who wants to move, or even can move listening to bvdub - let alone get up and flip over a record. If you’re not horizontal, you’re doing it all wrong because this guy dispenses tranquillisers by the dozen. I’ve read criticism in the past that he makes too many records that sound the same, but if you actually listen they really don’t - he has his own signature sound and it’s true he doesn’t really shift dramatically from that, and I really respect that about his music - the way he bloody-mindedly explores and pursues things within the confines of that cavernous, infinitely textured and nuanced sound. Scattered across this particular album are traces of piano and guitar that emerge from the mix and there are vocals in there too that are so heavily swamped in effects, at times they just blur into the whole texture of the tracks. As you would expect, there’s emotion just rammed and bursting out of ‘Heartless’ with an unrivalled level of intensity within this sort of music. ‘Faceless’ for example sounds like your entire Shoegaze collection playing all at once, creating a dense wall of hypnotic, heavenly sound that’s so intense it feels like it could just erupt and burst into flames. Power-ambient is alive well.
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