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Album Review

One of the earliest in Ninja Tune's stable of ambient breakbeat acts, James Bradell's Funki Porcini project slowed considerably during the 2000s, and he admits as much in the liner notes to 2010's On: "Obviously with the freeness of music it became dubious if it would support a family, and as a result I have had to resort to more practical and sordid ways of making a living." Consequently, On is a collection of recordings from the 2000s that Bradell had worked on only fitfully, but his deft touch is still intact. Ambient breakbeat tended to be an easily created and easily dismissed style of music (Bradell admits most of his early recordings put him to sleep), but its best practitioners understood how to create a mood much like a DJ would, whether the emphasis was dancing or relaxing. Bradell understands this also, opening with the beatless and beatific "Moog River," and waiting until well into the second track to introduce any rhythmic percussion. His tools are similar to what he used in the mid-'90s — warm analog keys, a full kit of percussion samples that usually sound more live than programmed, and somber melodies that shift only slightly and slowly — but also acoustic piano as well. The ambience here is enlightening, and for any ambient fans who remember fondly the heady days of 9 Lazy 9 and Hed Phone Sex, On will be similar and delightful company.

Biography

Born: Oxfordshire, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Funki Porcini is artist and DJ James Braddell, whose swirling mixtures of downtempo breaks, smooth ambience, and disjointed drum'n'bass helped put the Coldcut-owned, South London-based Ninja Tune label on the map. The first single from his 1995 Ninja debut Hed Phone Sex, "Long Road" (with a B-side, "Poseathon," littered with Bongwater samples), was featured on a number of compilations cashing in on the fashionability of "trip-hop," but Porcini's brand of laid-back, atmospheric breakbeat is less gimmicky...
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On, Funki Porcini
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