Since releasing his first album of original material back in 2007 with Strength In Solitude, DJ/producer Brock Van Wey has been incredibly prolific: to date, he’s put out over 50 releases under the Bvdub moniker on nearly a dozen different labels. And while I haven’t heard them all, those I have listened to will certainly fit the bill if you’re looking for some euphoric, epic trance/techno music — you know, the sort of music you can imagine folks on Mediterranean islands bliss out to around 3am after a night in the clubs.
That being said, 2012’s Serenity is undoubtedly in a league of its own.
Originally released on Darla Records with a bonus disc titled Don’t Say You Know, Serenity doesn’t deviate too much from Bvdub’s general sonic aesthetic — on the surface, anyway. Soft ambient textures drift across the songs’ surfaces like clouds across a warm summer sky; angelic female voices sing mostly wordless snippets that nevertheless give the music a soulfulness; and while Bvdub’s beats aren’t mind-blowing, he knows how to employ them strategically for maximum effect.
That being said, those familiar elements coalesce on Serenity to a depth and degree that is unique to everything else I’ve heard from the man. The title track is worth the purchase price alone: for nearly twelve minutes, Bvdub weaves together loop after loop of ambient textures, angelic glossolalia, and shuffling dancehouse beats. The result is a shifting, shimmering soundscape that feels like it could go on forever without ever becoming stale, boring, or anything less than breathtaking.
The more I think about it, though, scratch what I said earlier about this being music club kids might listen to out on some sun-drenched island. While Bvdub’s music is certainly euphoric enough for such a setting, there’s a melancholy and intimacy on songs like “Energy” and “Strength” — and of course, the title track — that seems better suited for more introverted, contemplative activities than anything related to discothèques. Of course, you’ll find yourself nodding your head and/or moving your body to the rhythm, all the same.