Funki Porcini ‘Fast Asleep’

  • RELEASED: July 2002
  • CAT No.: ZEN57/ ZENCD57 / ZENDV57
  • DESIGN: Openmind
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Martin LeSanto-Smith
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: The poster features behind the decks in the film ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and the same poster from that set used to hang behind the counter at Rat Records in Camberwell, only a short walk from where I live.
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY

James Braddell (aka Funki Porcini) is always fun to work with as his ideas are usually pretty leftfield. For this album he originally gave me an image of a shooting star over a tranquil night scene in the country, a sleeping cat curled in a ball and a line of Italian, the meaning of which, I still don’t know. I took the shooting star image and made a few versions for covers but nothing really stuck, the image was just too weak to work on it’s own. I also made a graphic of a ‘swarm’ of ‘zzzzzzzzz’s to denote being asleep which later wound up on the back cover and the curled up cat was perfect for the CD disc and record label. When we first discussed ideas for the cover James had mentioned that he would really like to have a girl asleep in a room of analogue kit somewhere but we immediately discounted this as it would take way too much money to set up and shoot.

After my initial efforts hadn’t amounted to anything I was happy with (I’d yet to show James anything) I decided that maybe the analogue bedroom idea wasn’t so un-doable after all. I drew a room with a forced perspective, looking down from a top corner and the words ‘Funki Porcini’ and ‘Fast Asleep’ across two walls as I’d decided to include the title in the image and have an otherwise graphic-less cover. Then I found as many retro analogue synth galleries online as I possibly could and downloaded countless images of Russian amplifiers, synths, speakers and other oddities for inclusion.

Fitting the various synth and hardware into the form of the letters was a long, laborious process and numerous pieces had to be cut, distorted and given fake shading so that they looked like three dimensional pieces. When the letters had been done I filled the remainder of the room with left over bits of kit and laid a carpet of a giant circuit board which, when made negative, looked more like an Indian rug. Other pieces of ‘furniture’ then had to be found such as a record player, lamp, clock and phone to make it look more like a real room. I also managed to find an image of a cat that fitted in perspective perfectly which was a link to the cat image James had given me earlier.

But what about the girl? My photographer friend, Martin Le Santo-Smith, came to the rescue and suggested his flatmate Christina would be perfect for the role. I printed out a nearly finished empty room image which he took away and set up a shoot in his living room in the Loughborough Junction flat they shared. While he was there he also shot a newspaper lying on the floor (I can’t remember whose idea this was but he was definitely meant to shoot it) The idea behind this was that I would include the line of Italian James had given me as the headline and also the shooting star image but I added a few other things, one being a picture of James I had taken on tour one night when he was ‘tired and emotional’. I also personalised some of the headlines…

When I presented it to James he liked it immediately and suggested that Ninja make meter square posters of the image with nothing else on them for promotion. It’s one of my favourite images that I’ve created, largely owing to the amount of the effort that I put into it – around 130 layers in Photoshop to achieve the finished article.