Chilled-out ambient funk from the Los Angeles artist.
As a producer whose music has always had plenty of melody, Riddick feels especially suited to Private Life II's pared-down approach. Harmony and layering have always been central to his sound, typically entwining with hyperactive basslines and drums. But when the drums are gone, these melodies are even easier to get lost in. Take "Gotta Get Thru It" and "Awaiting The Light," the album's standout tracks. Save for a hi-hat's gentle tick in "Gotta Get Thru It," both are percussion-free, putting all your attention on atmosphere and swirling harmonies. It's a sweet zone.
The other tracks recall the stoned sound of another California artist, SFV Acid. Like his fellow Los Angeles resident, Riddick uses syncopated claps and hi-hats to control the groove, which never moves ahead forcefully. Whenever there's a steady rhythm, the tracks have a lazy swagger, the drums never slapping as they do in Dâm-Funk's wider catalogue. But sometimes this leads to a meandering flow. "Conflicted Lovers," a blend of funk melodies and bleeps, gets too noodly, while the stop-start groove of "Stay" ends the album with a stutter.
At just 35 minutes long, Private Life II, could have used a few more extended ambient tracks like "Awaiting The Light," whose seven minutes bring the LP to a meditative state. At other points on the record, such as "Changes," the drums can distract from the zoned-out mood, which makes me more curious to hear a completely ambient Dâm-Funk record. Private Life II is stuck somewhere between ambient and chilled-out modern funk, terrain that Riddick's musicianship leaves him well equipped to handle. But as an LP that's not ambient enough to be fully immersive nor rhythmic enough to move your body, it might leave you wanting more.