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About Hint

b. Jonathan James, 1981, England. Sussex, England-based musician Hints debut album, released in 2003, reportedly derived its name from the place and circumstance in which it was recorded. Portakabin Fevers beguiling juxtaposition of hip-hop, funk, electronica, folk and soul was incubated and recorded in a mobile home by James using his computer, guitar, bass and keyboards. From his solitary confinement, James created a subtle and unobtrusive album that drew comparison with the Beach Boys, Beta Band, Lemon Jelly, and, perhaps most pertinently, early Badly Drawn Boy. Initially releasing music via Leicesters Deep Water Recordings (for whom he recorded the Beau Selector EP), James signed to the Bristol-based Hombre imprint (in collaboration with Ninja Tune Records), issuing four charming EPs ahead of his album. While vaguely working to a typical Ninja Tune blueprint, Hints delightful creation eschewed many of the clichés of down-tempo hip-hop. Rather, James claimed to make the sounds of what he saw when he looked outside the window in his rural retreat. Delightfully, such pastoral influences distanced Hints pretty recordings from those of many of his down-tempo hip-hop peers. Portakabin Fever was accompanied by a cartoon booklet, in which Hint was depicted fishing in the (imagined) swamp outside his Portakabin. Curiously, the cartoon (by graphic artist Will Barras) prompted a comic strip loosely based on James lifestyle that was serialised in Japanese magazine, Plus 81.


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