[30 June 2010]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Funki Porcini is one of the original NinjaTune crew. On is his fifth official studio album in 15 years, and his first since 2002’s chilled-out Fast Asleep. Fans were understandably excited when Porcini, real name James Braddell, self-released Plod, a collection of outtakes from what would become On, late in 2009. The album proper doesn’t disappoint, either. Over ten tracks, On ranges from the classic, sinister trip-hop of “This Ain’t the Way to Live”, to the abstract “Undermud”, to the playful “Robert Crumb’s Natural Gait” and the jazz of “The Magic Hands of Fernando Del Rey”. The approach is familiar, but the sounds are fresh, a bit less dense and a bit more analog than before.
Arguably the best parts of On, however, are the slower, more atmospheric, and quite pretty tracks inspired by ambient music and film noir. “Belisha Beacon” is reminiscent of the Future Sound of London’s classic “Papua New Guinea”, while “Waking Up” is the sunlit start of a great day. No radical makeover for Funki Porcini then, but none was needed. On is one of the year’s essential electronic/downtempo albums.