MNSR Frites spends much of his time as part of the British collectives Granville Sessions and Moose Funk Squad. But he’s also been working away at a collection of solo material, some of which appears on his debut album, The River Wandle.
A set of chilled hip-hop funk, The River Wandle flows rather leisurely, never pushing forcefully to get a beat going. MNSR Frites procures a dreamy procession of sounds which nestle comfortably inside the grooves, filling out the rhythms with the minimal but lush shimmers of keyboard licks. The summery jazz of “Lungfish” recalls the heyday of Britain’s acid jazz movement and on the good-natured humour of single “Beigel”, the rapper makes a point of never allowing the urgency in his delivery to rise above the shudder of a breeze; these are tunes designed for summer’s lazy days. Evening nights are courted with the circular slips of a saxophone on the strolling “No Concept” and when the tempo does rise, such as on “Train Sleep” (the album’s signature track), the young Brit reminds us that hip-hop’s most vilified element of sampling can also be its most ingenious feature when done right.