he fourth release of his young musical career, Simple Pleasures sees Enrico Wuttke bridging the gap between the simplicity of his debut record and the improvisational aspects of his second. Given You Nothing, the aforementioned debut album held an aura of childlike naivete to its piano timbres, making lumbering works like “Hell” sound as breezy and beautiful. The follow-up to this record, Helio changed the rules, evoking a dark undercurrent beneath the blissful innocence. More instruments and colors were heard on the record, showing the Wuttke was drifting into different territory as a songwriter.
With this third major full length, Flim takes elements from both to construct an ambiguous and disquieting full length that veers between quiet beauty and cutting restraint. The opener, “Hell III”, is a piano piece in the tradition of the previous “Hell” tracks, it moves along a wandering melodic line. A slight backing of chorused cluster tones, which hide beneath the weighty piano, later joins the piano to fill out the song. “A Mental State” again refers back to the simplicity of Given You Nothing, but along the way we encounter digital scrap heaps, pushing their way into the mix for a second at a time disrupting the flow. It’s the two sounds carefully clashing with one another, vying for supremacy of the album.
But instead of a winner, there remains an uneasy truce between the two, in which they carefully co-exist with one another. “In Schlingen” exhibits this, combining a sunny waltz tempo amid squalling horns that enter into the song midway through its running time. It’s a perfect mix, the two elements complementing each other effectively, with the piano always remaining the prominent fixture within the mix. Wuttke also offers up another horn supplemented piece in “Hard Boiling Paradise”, in which the horns appear to be unaffected by his production. Instead, the horn rolls freely, producing a favorable countermelody to the lead line introduced by the piano.
It should be no surprise that an album written between 2000 and 2003 should contain some thematic overlap between the intervening albums written. Instead, what is most surprising about Flim’s rise to prominence in the IDM community is his ability to produce an innovative and interesting product each time he releases a new disc. What separates Flim from the rest of the piano/keyboard driven pack of electronic musicians operating right now is his belief in the emotional and tonal weight of a single piano note. With the addition of a tasteful selection of accompanying instruments and an ever evolving palette of sounds to interest listeners, Wuttke should be around for a long time to come.