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Funky Porcini: Fast Asleep

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if you like this you'll like: St Germain, some Kid Koala, Ninja Tune’s Xen Cuts collection.

REVIEW: Funky Porcini: Fast Asleep
5.19.2003 by Michael Schwartz

Funky Porcini: Fast Asleep [Ninja Tune, 2003]

Three words? smooth and mellow

According to his bio, Funki Porcini (a.k.a. James Bradell) is quite the globetrotter. Born in London, he's spent time in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Germany and Italy. His fourth full-length release, Fast Asleep, is an urban album that shows the influence of his travels to these and other cities: we can hear the autobahn and the highways of LA; the clubs of London and Berlin; even the subways of Tokyo.

First off, this album is an immediate contender for best cover art of the year. [It needs to be seen in full, high-res glory to be appreciated, methinks. --Ed.] Better still, once you get past the cover's visually hypnotizing effect, the disc in the stereo will not let you down. Like many other releases from Ninja Tune, Funki Porcini has an easy-going, sometimes-haunting flow. If St Germain is the stuff that sends you out for the night, if it puts the swivel into your hips and the tap into your toes, then Funki Porcini is what will bring you home safely. It's for when you've spent a little too long at the club, poured a little too much booze into your gut, been the victim of a lame-o DJ's sadistic tendencies. When too much top-40 plaque has turned your joints numb to Hipping and Hopping, then it's time for Funki. Not to say that this will put you to sleep, but it certainly won't hurt your already fragile head.

The songs of Fast Asleep alternate between floating, atmospheric tracks, (like the opener, "What Are You Looking At?"), and jazzier chill grooves like "We're Out Of Here." In between is the recurring theme of distorted vocals over cloudy pastel sound. These 'non-tracks' act as transitions between the more solid songs. The true songs (both the atmospheric and the jazzy ones) are the real highlights of this album. A few stand out more than others, such as the slouching stomp of "50,000 Ft Freefall" and the soothing dusk waves of "Offshore Birmingham." At times reminiscent of Kid Koala and at others of St Germain, Fast Asleep as an album certainly lives up to its press release tagline: "a super somnambulance of sounds for the sleepy." Super indeed.

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