- As is often the case with Wen, a clue to his latest release can be found in the MC chatter he samples. A broken beat roller led by tangy synths, "Pace Myself" opens with a solemn voice declaring the arrival of "a new vibe." The producer's previous EP found him reworking familiar ideas; its followup, a long-germinating double pack on Soundman Chronicles, throws his sound wide open again. Wen's lightened his gloomy sound palette with bursts of melody, and the drum patterns have been loosened and pared back. The results lack the muscular intensity of his breakout records, but replace it with something subtler and almost as engaging.
"Arlington CT9" centres on a swooning, grimey melody, around which the beat operates mostly as punctuation. "She Giv"'s intricate bell-tone hook is almost like Four Tet—although, while Wen has toned down the drums, his sub-bass is suffocating as ever. "Lunar Tide Cycle" might be the best of the lot, its warped bassline weaving slickly around sparse percussion. Wen never releases the track's coiled energy, and this tension makes it all the more compelling.
Only the final two productions move closer to conventional Wen, and they come as a welcome change of pace by then. "Switch" is closest to the Wen of old, and its gaunt UK funky syncopations are proficiently executed, though probably the least enticing thing here. "Gravity Flux" makes good on its title: free-floating bass stabs and whipcrack snares form strange shapes in the air.
A1 Arlington CT9
A2 Pace Myself
B1 She Giv
C1 Lunar Tide Cycle
D1 Gravity Flux