- Wen has been conspicuously silent over the last few years. Hotly tipped artists usually fall over themselves to maintain steady release schedules, but Wen has taken a more patient route. Carve + Gaze reflects this measured approach. It sees him finding his own voice. It has epic moments, but it finds confidence in restraint. Wen's music was never particularly audacious, but Carve + Gaze sits even further back, with drums deployed in supportive roles rather taking the lead. This gives greater weight to the melodies and moods, which are amplified by the less-is-more approach.
On paper we're in grime territory, but the permutations of a track like "Plinkz" suggest something more. The rhythm suddenly moves to triplets in the middle section before a wide synth line introduces a new sense of space and a contrasting texture. The bass drops out and what sounds like scraps of paper flutter beneath dissonant synth notes, and we're dropped back into a straight rhythm. It's a deft detour that reflects Wen's movement away from established genres into his own field.
"Femme II" eschews kick drums for pounds of bass, bit-crushed hats and reams of effects, remaining tense by making the whole track seem like a breakdown. "Blips" is even more reduced, anchored by a single melodic line that passes through various synth patches, offering multiple perspectives on a central idea. "Cascade" is the most traditional and recognisably Wen track, but it matches the imposing yet melancholy mood of the EP while offering more immediate dance floor kicks. Carve + Gaze suggests Wen has entered a new stage of development.
A2 Femme II