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7408 days ago
"U.N.K.L.E. is the recording name originally employed by James Lavelle (b. Oxford, England) of leading UK hip-hop label, Mo'Wax Records, and american turntablist DJ Shadow (b. Josh Davis, 1972, Hayward, California, USA). Their Psyence Fiction set was released amid a blaze of hype and publicity in September 1998, debuting at number 4 on the UK album chart and establishing itself (for a brief time, at least) as the album to be listening to. Three years in the making, the album featured the talents of Richard Ashcroft of the Verve, Mike D of the Beastie Boys, Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Damon Gough aka Badly Drawn Boy. It embraced a range of styles from brooding, orchestrated trip-hop to breakbeat and rap. A brave project, it received mixed critical responses and was felt by some to have suffered from over-ambitiousness. The tour supporting the album caused some controversy when fans discovered that it did not feature any of the celebrity guests on the album or DJ Shadow, and was effectively a "James Lavelle Live With The Scratch Perverts" experience. A single, "Be There" was released in February 1999. It was a reworking of the track "Unreal" from the album and vocals were provided by Ian Brown (ex-Stone Roses). The single broke into the UK Top 10 and received excellent reviews, but by this point the main protagonists had returned to other projects.

Lavelle revived the U.N.K.L.E. name in 2003, and with DJ Shadow absent this time round he teamed up with new production collaborator Richard File to record Never, Never, Land. Guest artists on the album included Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Ian Brown, 3D of Massive Attack, and Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age."

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