Serenity by Bvdub (Review)

Bvdub’s music is euphoric enough for any discothèque but its true appeal lies in its moody, contemplative aspect.
Serenity, Bvdub

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.

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