(Big Dada)


One suspects that leaps in technology have been causing the old guard to accuse the young of weakening attention spans since at least the time of Gutenberg’s early printing press demos, but Ramsgate producer Owen Darby, aka WEN, is not so quick to pass judgement. His second album is a study in whether our flitting, scattershot modern habits may themselves in fact hold an elemental beauty.

This 12-track, 38-minute record, as its title suggests, is designed to say something about our pace of life. A pick’n’mix of assorted, attention-proof instrumental grime nuggets that Darby himself describes as “temporal pauses”, it is both a mutated musical incarnation of our eternal restlessness and a cry to resist the self-refilling intravenous drip of twitter feeds and targeted ads that keeps us treadmilling along. Darby has invoked another great diver into the psychology of time, the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, as an influence here, but ‘EPHEM:ERA’ is more inclined towards the darkness.

The tracks are brief samples of moods rather than full explorations: the zipping, spectral house of mirrors of ‘Curve:Relay’, the grime-house template of ‘Time II Think’ and the Hyperdub-esque urban milieu of ‘Rain’ are so different in mood that they could all spawn wildly different offspring albums of their own.

As an exercise in concision, then, ‘EPHEM:ERA’ is an enticing if occasionally frustrating listen. As a reflection of our changing listening habits, it hits scarily close to home.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £3 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£6 per month) and the rest of the world (£8 per month).

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.