A Diet of Quiet

The astonishment one feels on learning of the success of the movement takes second place only to the astonishment that this success has been achieved almost without notice from the mainstream and the underground press alike. Nation-wide weeklies like the NME [New Musical Express] haven’t condescended as yet to feature a single band even vaguely affiliated to the movement, and the fanzines that spring up like mushrooms around any spasmodic “new genre” emptying of popular music’s overclogged bowels have found little nourishment in the only truly fresh development in the field since the earliest days of rap. So far only one or two of the bands on the very fringes of the movement have received any serious attention. Yet Dwaal, who by their own admission are one of the “baby” acts in Quiet, have sold nearly 20,000 of their debut album Slow Hearts in the eight months since its release; the really big boys like Morpheus and Dark could expect to shift this amount in the first week of release of their next albums. Tickets for tours by either of the last mentioned have been known to sell out within an hour of going on sale, and rumours of an imminent ocean-hop by Murmur, the Chicago band seen by many as the kings of Quiet, had the telephones at the offices of London’s GigWise booking agency tied up solid for nearly two days.

So, how has Quiet not merely got off the ground but got well on the way to the outer reaches of the Solar System without collecting a write-up or a review worthy of the name? Why do the names of the most important bands in the movement still mean nothing to the majority of music fans? Well, for a start, Quiet — in every sense — lives up to the name bestowed on by Hank O’Dowell, Murmur’s lead guitarist. To see how this is so, it’s necessary to take a look at its history.

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