Not only do n5MD cultivate the best musicians from obscurity but they also have knack for bringing in some top artists too. In this instance, it’s the legendary bvdub. A marriage made in heaven; one of my most favourite producers of all time and lets be honest, one of the best labels out there at the moment.
Brock’s first imprint on the label comes in the form of three track release and in typical bvdub fashion, each track is of the ‘extended’ type, with the nineteen minute ‘All Is Forgiven’ being the shortest. For those familiar with Brock’s work, this will come as no surprise, and as with most of his releases, it’s only the subtle differences and themes which can differentiate an entire album.
If i had to try and describe the differences between ‘All Is Forgiven’ and the rest of bvdub’s work i’d find it very hard. I also find it hard to explain how a 30 minute track can keep me so engrossed for so long. It just does, and that’s why I love Brock’s work.
The title track, ‘All Is Forgiven’ pays a lot of attention in bringing non-electronic elements to the forefront. The vocal plays a very big part and guides us over the nineteen minutes. Previously, bvdub liked to use the vocal as another immersed layer but this one works wonders alongside a decayed beat – something that Brock seems to be focusing on a lot lately, and is even complemented by a secondary wispy vocal some eleven minutes in.
‘Today He Felt Life’ begins with a beautiful piano that you believe is going to be the synonymous loop throughout, but this is merely the introduction, as a soaring synth soon takes centre stage. A quarter of the way in, and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was one of the best balearic downtempo tunes you’ve heard in quite a while – a gentle drumming pattern, enveloped by two or three distant vocals that would sink any sunset. Then it disappears, and Brock focuses on playing with the beats, bass and again a neat drum pattern. Over the thirty minutes, the combinations change, some focusing on the vocals, and some on the dense process drums, and before you know it, the thirty minutes is up and the piano is back, playing you out like the end of a film score.
‘Peonies For Kings’ takes much the same structure as the previous but seems to focus on a big introduction which features some big breakbeat-esque drums overlaying a typical vocal atmosphere. After seven minutes, this is broken by a euphoric textured synth that wouldn’t look out of place in a trance production if the levels were pitched higher, and then (and I think this is a first) a male vocal that sounds like it’s been stripped out of a US Soulful House track. It was unexpected, and if the track would’ve ended there I’m not sure if i would have liked it, but in typical bvdub style – this was just the beginning. Brock’s drumming patterns are becoming a favourite part of his productions for me, and again they are soon centre of attention in this track too, with the vocal taking a back seat.
It was an album that epitomises the bvdub sound, but as with every single one of his releases, it was different. Small changes in vocals, more intense drums, and different instruments being brought into the foreground across a mesmerising three, long productions. Thirty minutes that you’d be forgiven thinking were just six minutes long – time flies when you’re lost.
1.) All is forgiven (19:02)
2.) Today he felt life (31:29)
3.) Peonies fall for kings (26:50)
All Is Forgiven is available November 20th from n5MD.You can preview the entire album over on the n5MD site