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Bvdub, "The Art of Dying Alone"

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cover image Dying is an art, and like any other one can do it with grace or go down kicking, screaming, all the while leaving a big mess behind that future generations have to clean up. This album is supple and sexy as death itself. There is no fear in these pieces. They convey the final breaths of a human as being elegnant and peaceful. This music displaces the anxiety many people feel about death. Doing so is a service to the world.

Glacial Movements

The Art of Dying Alone - Bvdub

Electronic music is a wide open field and some of the territories are contested. There are many different areas and modes of activity and anyone who can run a field recording through a couple of filters and slap a few different sounds together is potentially an artist. Luckily for those who listen closely shoddy work is easily spotted. It is also simple to know the difference between clinical music that is more apt to be used for self-induced psychic surgery than that which conveys the full range and expression of human emotion. Sometimes I’m more inclined to listen to music whose theoretical underpinnings bring as much or more enjoyment than the actual piece itself. At other times I just want to tap into the raw nerve of human experience. The output of Brock van Way easily falls into this second, non-pretentious category as he creates gorgeous ambient sound worlds that are accessible, welcoming and a joy to inhabit.

Inhabit is an apt word to describe these songs. They create a cacoon and cushion of calm. Taking a break from the 21st century's frenetic pace to collect oneself is easy to do while this soundtrack is playing. It is musical medication for attention deficit disorder. It gives a person the space necessary to contemplate life from the vantage point of someone who is about to move beyond life, which holds tremendous value. Questions of purpose begin to percolate. Have I frittered away all my time chasing empty illusions? Is there something more I could have done, someone's life I could have improved, a contribution only I could have made, that I failed to? Did I express love in my relationships? Will I approach death full of regrets or with grace knowing I gave my all? There are so many people who are averse to even talking about dying and these songs create a context to open up the conversation. Contemplating death can be a powerful kick in the pants for those with no direction. I can’t count on the Singularity. My time here is limited. I should create something beautiful.

These are the types of thoughts that spin around in my head as I listen to the warm electronic textures of altered and layered voices so prevalent throughout the six long songs. The vocal elements of this disc are my favorite aspect of this recording, though the smooth curves of synth, the repetitious pulsings of delicate piano, the minimal and softly understated percussion elements that give it just enough of a beat all work in harmony together. The longest track, "To Finally Forget It All," at nearly 22 minutes creates a luxuriant atmosphere. I don’t know how Brock does it, but there are several female voices, simpering, cooing, calling out. I can’t help but think that a choir of angels or the voices of my ancestors are calling out to me from the other side, ready to greet me when my time comes.

There is a great continuity between each song. Each builds on the beauty of the previous and as a listener I sail right along. On "No More Reason Not To Fall" a looped string section fragment forms the kernel around which the voices kaleidoscopically revolve. A rattle or brushed snare drum trickles in the background. A dissonant element gradually comes to fore giving the piece an abundant sense of gravity and urgency. Things are peaceful again with fluid acoustic guitar inflections on the next song. The title track closes the album with another epic long player. The sounds cascade reminding me of water falls, the roar of the ocean surf crashing against a slew of granite rocks. But the tide goes back out in the end, leaving with a sprinkling of piano and a lulling mellow drone.

With The Art of Dying Alone Glacial Movements have released their warmest and most inviting CD yet. This electronic music warms hearts and melts ice.

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Last Updated on Monday, 25 October 2010 01:13  


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