|Album Rating: C+|
The style of the album walks the line of washed out, reverb heavy ambient. Short, soft rolls of ambient tapestry gently fold over themselves; permeated by equally fazed-out vocal samples that swell and sink with the music beneath them. This coupling is perfected in “Love,” where the vocals drift off just in time to be overwhelmed by the music surrounding them. The treatment of them as a whole flows beautifully, as well as being something very rarely seen in similar musical excursions. Likewise, the loops at the beginning of “Unite,” that slowly creep higher and higher are very well executed: it created a sense of anticipation as well as the relaxed giddiness that you’d expect. Cracks start to appear, however, in the joint between the two-part structure bvdub employs. After unanimously good starts, tracks will at some point escalate into something more loud and, some might say, engaging. This comes in many forms: from the simple addition of percussion and bass to string-led arpeggios, but the problem lies in the fact that the tracks are rarely ready for this change. For anyone paying close attention, the transition can be a little too sudden - which becomes a slightly larger issue when you consider that all but one of the tracks break the 10 minute mark relatively comfortably. It’s a shame, because the brief loss of immersion tarnishes what is otherwise an incredibly solid and enjoyable release.
Moving past this slightly, bvdub has succeeded in matching the tones he set out for himself. “Energy” is, of course, the most vibrant. Choosing to indulge itself in the extra drums and melody sooner than expected. “Beauty” is more bass driven: taking on the personality of a dance song while remaining slightly too uniform to actually dance to. One can’t help but feel, though, that with just a little more time Serenity could be something more than an exercise on mirroring themes. As is, the album strikes me as unfinished: with ideas left as threads and tracks sometimes clumsily glued together.