Beloved Bay Area weirdo/iconoclast Del The Funky Homosapien spent part of the downtime between 2000's Both Sides Of The Brain and his Definitive Jux debut studying music theory, but rather than leading to heady sonic exploration, Del's studies led him to rediscover simplicity. His new Eleventh Hour is radically unadorned, with rubbery boom-bap funk tracks, simple concepts, and few guests. This is brown-bag Del, uncomplex and uncut. Unfortunately, Del's self-produced beats sometimes blur the line between elegant simplicity and tedium.
Though he's edging into middle age, Del retains the mischievous air of a middle-school class clown. On "I'll Tell You," he even gives himself a muted laugh track for smartass lines like "In my book you're worth a listen / But then again it's a work of fiction." The lack of accoutrement makes the album's few sonic flourishes—like periodic bursts of Premier-style scratching—stand out in sharp relief. The best tracks deviate from the rigidly minimalist template: Hour peaks late with "Last Hurrah" and "I Got You," which find Del sharing tracks with KU and Ladybug Mecca, respectively. Del's commitment to following his own path is as admirable as ever, but sometimes less is ultimately less.