On March 30th Warsaw-based bvdub (Brock Van Wey) impressively releases his 30th full-length recording on the Russian label, Dronarivm. A Different Definition of Love is made up of six lengthy tracks where the titles parenthetically wordplay and spell out the word, [forget]. So from the top it becomes an homage to relationships lost, forgotten, parted. It’s a soaring shoegaze/ambient affair, strumming so softly and sweetly with hushed harmonies. Flightless Flowers creates a floating ballet, with quiet layers of piano and a hiss that sounds like a cross between a flying gaggle of geese and children in a schoolyard at recess. On Oathless Oceans the strings are far more at the core, and the ambiance bolder harkening his A Careful Ecstasy and Ian Hawgood collaboration, The Truth Hurts. This recording continues on, taking its time, quizzically, and a bit calculating with a revitalized, stripped down new age style. It’s so breathy and voluminous.
Black sky hides your stars,
Fall from the heavens with might,
Silent you arrive.
Giants in your path,
Perish those who stand opposed,
Felled by love they know.
Empty spaces yearn,
To know once again,
A lost yesterday.
Through sun and sands dry,
Oceans drown hearts of steel stars,
This place remembers.
For now we know our two hearts,
No you, me, only us.
We fall together,
Pillars raise towers through sky,
We rise beyond all.
Perhaps the emotion encapsulated here might further benefit as more of a multimedia affair, given the associated poetry and extreme deep listening aspects of quietude, expanse and slowness. A Different Definition of Love has a warmth that would seem to contradict our harsh socio-political era. Its mantra is one of concealment and self-healing, a distancing from the constant good vs. evil to set-up its own camp, in solitude, off the grid. For this evocative reason Rainless Rivers seems to become the standout track here, it’s independent and retreating, introverted with slight religious overtones. Not in a churchy bell-driven way, but with a certain cinematic poise that rings out to be heard, and then takes a few awkward steps back. I’d imagine the riddle here would be the hollow left from many tears having already been shed. Gainless Gestures is a draining affair. Throughout there is a certain weariness like glaring headlights losing power, and faint, low-slung folk guitar overtures.
The final two tracks are storybook charming, seducing you with a garden of harmonic pitch and muted keys. In the final stretch a childlike dawdling finds its aural caress to stroke recollected memories, scenes stashed from the past. It’s a chasm that points to an optimistic light. And all this could go so cheesy wrong, but it doesn’t, somehow there’s a powerful balance between the overtly sublime frills and the groundedness commandeered through manipulated voices, ever-so-slight crackle/kiss and streaked synths that keep gliding onward. Now I’m imagining what a collaboration between bvdub and William Basinski might sound like….
Available in both CD format as well as via Bandcamp.