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Trip Hop - Released August 24, 1998 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

James Lavelle and DJ Shadow are unequal partners in UNKLE, with the former providing the concept and the latter providing music, which naturally overshadows the concept, since the only clear concept -- apart from futuristic sound effects, video-game samples, and merging trip-hop with rock -- is collaborating with a variety of musicians, from superstars to cult favorites Kool G Rap, Alice Temple, and Mark Hollis (who provides uncredited piano on "Chaos"). Since Shadow's prime gift is for instrumentals, the prospect of him collaborating with vocalists is more intriguing than enticing, and Psyence Fiction is appropriately divided between brilliance and failed experiments. Shadow and Lavelle aren't breaking new territory here -- beneath the harder rock edge, full-fledged songs, and occasional melodicism, the album stays on the course Endtroducing... set. Shadow isn't given room to run wild with his soundscapes, and only a couple of cuts, such as the explosive opener, "Guns Blazing," equal the sonic collages of his debut. Initially, that may be a disappointment, but UNKLE gains momentum on repeated listens. Portions of the record still sound a little awkward -- Mike D's contribution suffers primarily from recycled Hello Nasty rhyme schemes -- yet those moments are overshadowed by Shadow's imagination and unpredictable highlights, such as Temple's chilly "Bloodstain" or Badly Drawn Boy's claustrophobic "Nursery Rhyme," as well as the masterstrokes fronted by Richard Ashcroft (a sweeping, neo-symphonic "Lonely Soul") and Thom Yorke (the moody "Rabbit in Your Headlights"). These moments might not add up to an overpowering record, but in some ways Psyence Fiction is something better -- a superstar project that doesn't play it safe and actually has its share of rich, rewarding music. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Electronic - Released March 29, 2019 | Songs For The Def

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Dance - Released March 26, 2021 | Spinnup

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Electronic - Released August 18, 2017 | Songs For The Def

A leading figure of 90s British electro, James Lavelle is reactivating his UNKLE machine (whose last album Where Did The Night Fall dates back to 2010) with an ambitious and widely protean album. An opus created in collaboration with an eclectic roster of guests. With The Road: Part 1, the founder of the Mo’Wax label produces a kind of real-fake apocalyptic soundtrack, as dark as Cormac McCarthy’s novel, from which it borrows the title. Compositions are at times slow paced and almost baneful, while at other points much livelier, like on the epic Looking For The Rain, carried by the underground baritone voice of the ever mysterious Mark Lanegan and wrapped in grandiose strings and impressive guitars. Liela Moss from the Duke Spirit, Eska, Mink, Elliott Power and Keaton Henson are among the other collaborators of this strange sound object… When compared with Psyence Fiction − UNKLE’s first album from 1998 produced with Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Mike D of the Beastie Boys, Ian Brown of the Stone Roses, Kool G Rap, Badly Drawn Boy and Richard Ashcroft of the Verve − The Road: Part 1 can appear confusing with its blend of trip hop, progressive rock, electro and film music. Confusing, but also undeniably intriguing. Enough to remind us that James Lavelle is a sound producer like no other… © MD/Qobuz
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Pop - Released September 22, 2003 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

When the first UNKLE full-length dropped in 1998, some electronica fans were hoping that the supergroup featuring Mo' Wax founder James Lavelle and production wunderkind DJ Shadow would become to electronic music what Radiohead had become to rock: an act with commercial clout, artistic importance, and the rapt attention of music critics everywhere. Psyence Fiction instead engaged only a small coterie of curious listeners interested in the concept of epic trip-hop -- or the parade of star collaborations. UNKLE full-length number two, Never, Never, Land, finds James Lavelle with a new conspirator, singer/songwriter Richard File, a talented writer whose blasted yet sweet vocals unfortunately recall Dirty Vegas as much as Thom Yorke. Lavelle's vision for music is still in wide focus, replete with sweeping strings, driving breakbeat passages, and tender balladry (from File) as well as raging, angsty metal (from guest vocalist Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age). Massive Attack's 3D gets another chance to excoriate Blair and Bush on "Invasion," while Ian Brown shambles through another guest appearance on "Reign." Lavelle's interests and themes haven't changed drastically from Psyence Fiction, and with fewer star guests (anonymous contributions from Jarvis Cocker, Brian Eno, and Graham Gouldman notwithstanding), Never, Never, Land is a work of intense drama but little importance. [The U.S. release, which followed a year after the British, included two bonus-track remixes.] © John Bush /TiVo
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Electronic - Released March 14, 2014 | Surrender All

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Pop/Rock - Released July 1, 2007 | Surrender All

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Electronic - Released December 14, 2018 | Songs For The Def

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Electronic - Released November 10, 2017 | Songs For The Def

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Electronic - Released May 9, 2010 | Surrender All

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Electronic - Released May 4, 2018 | Songs For The Def

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Electronic - Released February 11, 2021 | Spinnup

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Electronic - Released April 10, 2011 | Surrender All

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Electronic - Released July 7, 2008 | Surrender All

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Electronic - Released October 10, 2019 | Fabric Worldwide

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Electronic - Released June 9, 2014 | Surrender All

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Pop/Rock - Released June 17, 2007 | Surrender All

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Electronic - Released December 7, 2008 | Surrender All

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Electronic - Released April 10, 2011 | Surrender All

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Electronic - Released May 9, 2010 | Surrender All