Wolf Music play host to the first LP from Dutch producer-DJ Frits Wentink (a.k.a Steve Mensink). Known for his house and techno productions, Wentink – who has released with numerous outfits such as Heist Recordings, Fourth Wave and Triphouse under aliases including Felix Lenferink and Urkelle – has always been one to explore new sounds and boundaries. Live performance allows Wentink to feed his love for hardware, extending the canvas for more progressive and contemporary work. Rarely Pure, Never Simple is a spyhole into some of the influences of Wentinks’ music, a journey drawing elements from jazz and hip hop and, of course, deep house, while also experimenting with sound manipulation to striking effect.
A swaggering hip hop opener ‘There Now’ casually sets the scene. A worn tape, lo-fi effect which becomes a familiar sound quality is introduced right away as are the smooth vocals of Loes Jongerling who is also key fixture in the LP. Following on to ‘The Excitement Happens At Page 320’, Frits then gives us another taste of what to expect bringing up the pace for a more dancefloor orientated number. Reflecting the track name with outbreaks in thumping kicks there is a pleasing disjointed feel.
The autonomously titled ‘Wits Frentink’ serves as an interlude, slowing the pace back down with the rising and falling glissandi on an old 1960s-style piano sample. Gently easing into the absorbing title track ‘Rarely Pure, Never Simple’, a hip hop style beat graced again by vocals from Loes, which are given clarity of centre stage over shimmering Rhodes piano, vibrating bass and an ubiquitous crackle.
‘Glints’ is a house groove whose interior is that of an industrial estate. A catchy guitar hook backed by woozy synths and echoing vocals provide more than enough colour, however, and will keep you humming along until the very end. The rolling bassline adds to this standout moment of the LP, and is sure to get dancefloors jumping.
Another standout ‘Nevertheless’ sees the return of the hip hop influence, this time with a more chopped and screwed feel to it. Here, Loes shows off her incredible vocal capabilities with intricate harmonies and trilled ad lib lines. ‘The Circus’ continues the familiar pattern, another upbeat number to bring the heart rate back up before the eerily beautiful ‘Contempt’, of which you can check out an impressive live performance of its earlier version here.
‘Words to Fit’ is reminiscent of an early Flying Lotus, whilst ‘Everyone Knows’ comes across as a cool laid back cousin of Bashmore’s ‘Battle for Middle You‘. Finishing with twinkling ‘In Addition’ and the more techy ‘A Fistful of Sun’ in between the downright boggling ‘They Say’, Frits completes an accomplished LP which will surely see just as many plays in the home as on the floor, making this a must-have for your record collection.
Rarely Pure, Never Simple LP is available now via Wolf Music Recordings. Buy it from Juno and all other good record stores.