“A decades-long disciple of Haruki Murakami, Brock Van Wey, better known as bvdub, has more than once melded the ideas of Murakami’s magical realism and its underlying teachings on loneliness, isolation, and the human condition into the fabric of his own work.
In a time, place, and set of circumstances that saw the hallucinatory set of events in Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore overlap Van Wey’s own already oft-chimerical “reality,” art and life traversed beyond imitation, their lines disappearing altogether. A time when life spun cruelly and beautifully out of control. A chaos which demanded as much stoic apathy as righteous, magnificent wrath. This is the story of that time and place.“
Some music is created purely for the enjoyment of it without anything cerebral attached to it. A banger is a banger because the intention was to create something to dance to and a thirty second power violence piece is one that is created to release some form of tension. Whether either piece has an intention related to the feelings of it’s creator is up for debate, but one thing that is not up for debate are the intentions behind the music of Brock Van Wey. Clearly now with such an established background and a deep discography coupled with a healthy following, Van Wey could easily merely crank out the releases in a particular style. This however is not his style. Everything (and I am generalising here as I haven’t heard every last thing he has released) has a reason or a purpose.
According to the above press quote Van Wey is a follower of the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and in particular his novel “Kafta On The Shore” whose main protagonist is on a quest of sorts to find his estranged mother and sister. The book is known to have a multilayered interrelated plot, mixing in various styles of writing with hints to popular culture, magical realism, suspense and other themes, some of which are hallmarks of the author. One of the factors I presume is for Van Wey’s fascination with Murakami is the writers own introverted personality coupled with a love for music – Jazz and Classical in particular (previously he was a record store clerk and open a Jazz cafe), not to mention his love for felines. It would appear there are a lot of similarities between these two artists in both their personalities, artistic work and how they view the world at large.
“Wrath & Apathy” features three long tracks with the title track, “Ghosts & Stone” and “Green & Blue” all clocking in at between 18:32 and 20:17, alongside the short excerpt piece “Fight & Flight”. Listeners of Van Wey’s works will have become now accustomed to the long form pieces that he creates. With this album he explores a variety of musical territories on each track, which the lengths enable him to push the boundaries. The title track feels like on the whole a prog – electronic piece, one which evolves out of electronic dubbiness. The piece builds upon itself which assists with the feeling that it is set on one particular aspect or event that has been re-lived. From scattershot electronics, occasional percussive motifs, swirling ambience and synth pads, Van Wey starts the album off in a different way that you have expected.
“Ghosts & Stone” removes all the intensity of the opening piece and focuses on a calmer if not less denser soundscape. Glistening sounds, snatches of vocals, beds of synth and floating ambience are all hallmarks of the opening six minutes before the beats start to kick in and take the piece into a different trajectory. The middle section of the track returns somewhat to the subdued opening while unveiling a sound that sound feels like harp strings cascading across a swirling base. The moments that are underpinned by beats are those which work best for me as they give the piece a focal point and bring together all the elements. “Green & Blue” slots in nicely between the styles of the opening pieces by mixing the ambient qualities of “Ghosts & Stone” and the noisier aspects of “Wrath & Apathy” while increasing the intensity / presence and approaching a post rock like structure. At times I expected it to fully explore a beat driven landscape, but instead the focus is one of more textural soundscapes exploring layers and melody while experimenting with cut up and manipulated vocals/dialogue.
“Fight & Flight (Excerpt)” is a concentrated take on Van Wey’s oeuvre with the blend of Ambient, Electronica and Dub Techno that you can expect to hear. Rather than slowly inch into the piece as on the other tracks, the opening minute establishes the mood before the beats and swirling soundscapes take the piece into an elevated state, one which can help but soar into the listener’s ears and captivate them. I suspect that the album contains a full version of the track as the label’s page for the release mentions “Like most of Van Wey’s recent n5MD works, comes in the form of four spaciously captivating and deeply immersive long-form journeys.” so I would be curious to see if this is the case and what this excerpt is representative of.
Having not read the works of Murakami I can only base my understanding by comparing wjat I have read about his works and by what I have heard via this release. The book has a concept of metaphysics which in it’s simplest essence is about questioning the nature of the mind. The book also has two distinct but interrelated plot lines. With Van Wey’s music and the interviews I have read with him I can clearly see where the metaphysical concept comes into his life as it feels he is in some essence ‘stateless” and looking for a place that feel like ‘home’. With the music you can hear the dichotomy of influences and sound within the pieces. n5MD will be releasing Wrath and Apathy on September 18th on limited edition double Coke bottle clear LP and digipak compact disc as well as Digital.