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Unkle

Experimental hip-hop outfit UNKLE were one of the original artists releasing material through noted U.K. label Mo' Wax, which helped launch the instrumental, mid-'90s downtempo breakbeat revival eventually termed trip-hop. Though hardly the label's highest-profile group (at least until the long-delayed release of their debut LP in 1998), UNKLE's members included label head James Lavelle, who formed Mo' Wax while still in his teens as an antidote to the increasingly stale acid jazz/Northern soul scene. Stripping the music down to its barest of essentials -- bass, percussion, minimal samples, and heavy effects -- the Mo' Wax sound (best exemplified by the second Mo' Wax label comp, Headz, as well as its sequel, the two-part Headz II) quickly gained respectability and a large audience. Although not as prolific as other Mo' Wax artists such as DJs Shadow and Krush, UNKLE nonetheless played a crucial role in cementing Mo' Wax's early sound through their Time Has Come double EP, which featured remixes of the title track by Plaid, Portishead, and U2 producer Howie B.

The UNKLE trio was comprised of Lavelle, Tim Goldsworthy (a mate of Lavelle's since childhood), and producer Kudo, of seminal Japanese label Major Force (and a member of the on-again, off-again psychedelic beat crew Skylab). Previous to his entry into production, Lavelle, along with Goldsworthy, was deep into New York hip-hop and electro, the emerging late-'80s Sheffield bleep scene, the English acid jazz scene (which he covered as a columnist for Straight No Chaser magazine), and of course the acid house and techno explosions that were redefining the English counterculture at the time. The pair hooked up with third member Kudo through the growing rep of the latter's Love T.K.O. project, whose outbound interpretations of breakbeat and acid jazz drew Lavelle's ear. While Goldsworthy and Kudo remained more heavily involved in nuts 'n' bolts production (especially given the success of Mo' Wax, with the penning of an expansive partial ownership deal with A&M Records in 1996), Lavelle was heavily involved in the conceptual and organizational end, crafting beats and laying out vague sketches his partners then expanded into full-blown tracks.

Despite the scarcity of released material, UNKLE grew to wider acclaim during 1996 through remix projects for Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Tortoise. After Goldsworthy and Kudo were effectively replaced by Mo' Wax bill-payer DJ Shadow, the all-star LP Psyence Fiction finally appeared in 1998. It was a disappointment considering the advance hype, and DJ Shadow distanced himself from the collective. Lavelle, amid much work as a DJ, recruited singer/songwriter Richard File for the second UNKLE full-length, 2003's Never, Never, Land. Four years later, Lavelle and File returned with War Stories, including both collaborators from the past (Josh Homme) and new associates (Ian Astbury, Chris Goss) to contribute to the heaviest-sounding UNKLE release to date. File departed and was replaced with writer, producer, and longtime Mo' Wax associate Pablo Clements (of Psychonauts). A pair of odds 'n' ends collections, More Stories and End Titles...Stories for Film (both released in 2008), featured old and new material, including music from UNKLE's soundtrack to the documentary Odyssey in Rome. In 2009 the "Heavy Drug" single announced the coming of their organic and band-oriented 2010 album Where Did the Night Fall (Another Night Out). The duo's release schedule picked up once more with the 2013 release of an EP titled Trance Film. ~ Sean Cooper & John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

jamie2893
hmmm, sound like a couple of gay boys held U2 hostage and forced them to play as they sang.
I just found out about them really like them
No hip-hop on my Pandora. Not now, not ever.
Discovered Unkle while watching Push.
Psyence Fiction is one of my favourite albums of all time.
I like their rock stuff better, but these guys are definitely a breath of fresh air. They're one of my favorite bands that I've recently discovered by accident
Is it just me or does Invasion really remind you of massive attack's butterfly caught??
Mo' Wax! One of the finest labels out there for hip-hop, aside from Def Jux. Also I think it goes without saying that Unkle is the s**t.
older stuff is better but they still have juice
alenicoria
rarrr
alexinbrazil
stone roses do suck balls
Stone Roses suck balls
thattallbast a r d 4
I was lucky enough to see Shadow spin a 45 minute miniset ahead of the album release in the (now-defunct ) V i r g i n Megastore in Union Square in NYC...

/histper. Thx.
vergobret
Reminds me of the Stone Roses
I love UNKLE more then babies
The more I listen the more I like. Keys to the Kingdom on "War Stories" is an amazing piece of music.
Hold my hand remix!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! A A A A A A A A A A A A A A H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! S S S S S S S S S S S S O O O O O O O O O O O O O G O O D . NUff Sed
Sorry, I malfunctione d . S0RRY 1 M4LFUNCT10N3 D
:-) :-( :-| $-) >:-) w00t 0.0 yahoo! Roftl roftlol lol btw %-) fyi:-P :-?
One of the DJs is DJ Shadow!
ajmancilla67
Brand new to Unkle. I am a big fan of trance, good hip-hop and true music. I will be watching and listening for more from UNKLE
lavelle and assorted companies music under the name UNKLE has long been a love and influence of mine. i hope they keep at it despite never really becoming huge.
Love their "War Stories" album.
m_crooks9
James Lavelle is the man - UNKLE improved once DJ Shaddow left, check out "Edit Music for a Film" one of my favourites especially CD 2

PearsonTower s also has an excellent BBC sessions recording before their first album was released and before the BBC essentials mix recordings (which was actually released under the name "Big Brother is Watching")
great mellow s**t.
Heaven's made for you and me...
These guys deserve much more attention that they're getting.
u.n.k.l.e.'s bbc essential mix from earlier this decade is fantastic. if you can find a copy of it, you shouldn't let it slip through your fingers.
u.n.k.l.e. - damn, its no wonder the beastie boys, dj shadow & thom york produce with these guys.
forget very good, these are some of the highest quality songs i have ever listened too
very good

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