James Lavelle

Global Underground: Romania #026

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One of the unfortunate side effects of James Lavelle's conversion from genre-crafting label head to superstar DJ is the fact that his once lauded UNKLE musical project has been sidelined, with its Never, Never, Land album being completely overlooked by both music press and fans. But never one to let the scene landscape dictate his terms, Lavelle simply plays his strongest hand, filling his second globetrotting DJ set for Global Underground with ten carnations of his UNKLE muse, either with production or remix credits. Everyone from rockers Queens of the Stone Age and South to shoegaze revivalist M83 and even previous UNKLE co-conspirator DJ Shadow get the re-rub. In addition, Lavelle utilizes his pro-tools DJ chops to handsomely edit down Plastikman, among others, meaning that there is virtually no piece on this double-disc set untouched by Lavelle's hand. And those that aren't molested are almost exclusively crafted by Lavelle's cadre of nu breaks-school affiliates, including Meat Katie and Dylan Rhymes. The result is a bloated albatross with more drag than lift, mostly due to the lack of diversity amongst the beats and techniques. As the man who once singularly represented trip-hop to an adoring public, it's easy to understand Lavelle's tendencies to champion a particular style. But most other artists have moved on to use a more multilateral approach. Perhaps Lavelle would do better with more diversification and less specification.

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