Bvdub: We Were the Sun

Perhaps the thing I love most about Brock Van Wey's Bvdub collection, We Were the Sun, is its sincerity. You won't find a trace of irony or cynicism in the album's epic dreamscaping—or even in its track titles, for that matter, with ones such as “Will You Know Where To Find Me,” “I Knew You Then,” and “Lest You Forget” conveying a sense of nostalgia and wistfulness that's so much a part of their musical contents. Van Wey stretches six immersive settings across a seventy-eight-minute running time, with only one clocking in at less than ten minutes. Such horizontal amplitude shouldn't be seen as a sign of gratuitous self-indulgence; rather the extended track times enable the music to blossom gradually and as a consequence work its entrancing magic even more potently on the listener.

In the majestic “It Mattered Once,” layers of choral exhalations, harp strums, and soulful ululations slowly swell into a gauzy swirl until the elements suddenly drop away, leaving only a solo voice and cresting waves to initiate the build all over again. “I Knew You Then” likewise makes a steady ascent until the precipice is reached, then collapses for a moment into quietude before shimmering sounds flood in from all directions and swell into a radiant totality. Van Wey builds up “Will You Know Where to Find Me” from the cell of a tiny acoustic guitar sample until the track grows into a gently blossoming starburst of semi-ecstatic voices and billowing chords. “Live to See the Day” wraps the listener in a serenading reverie of flutes, strings, keyboards, and acoustic guitars, while “Time Will Tell” and “Lest You Forget” soothe the listener with lulling cavalcades of vaporous ebb and flow and celestial voices. Rather more grandiose in style than Van Wey's recent White Clouds Drift On and On, We Were the Sun is nevertheless a natural complement to that Echospace [Detroit] opus.

December 2009