Unkle

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Unkle

WHAT HAVE THESE ARTISTS GOT IN COMMON? MO WAX FOUNDER JAMES LAVELLE, DJ SHADOW, THOM YORKE, RICHARD ASHCROFT, MIKE D, AND UP AND COMING ARTISTS BADLY DRAWN BOY AND ALICE TEMPLE? THEY ALL FEATURE ON WHAT IS DESTINED TO BE THE YEAR’S MOST SIGNIFICANT AND EAGERLY- ANTICIPATED RELEASE, THIS SUMMER’S UNKLE ALBUM PROJECT, RELEASED ON 24TH AUGUST.

THE ALBUM WHICH ALSO INCLUDES CONTRIBUTIONS FROM WIL MALONE, ATLANTIQUE KHANH, KOOL G RAP – THE ORIGINAL NEW YORK HARDCORE RAPPER, AND EVEN METALLICA’S JASON NEWSTEAD, IS THE FULFILLMENT OF A LONG-HARBOURED DREAM FOR JAMES LAVELLE.

THE STORY BEGINS IN 1992 WHEN THE EIGHTEEN-YEAR OLD JAMES LAVELLE SET UP MO WAX RECORDS WITH 1,000 BORROWED FROM HIS BOSS AT HONEST JON’S RECORDS IN LONDON. AT THAT TIME, HE COULD SCARCELY HAVE ENVISAGED THAT SIX YEARS LATER, THE LABEL WOULD BE WORLD RENOWNED AS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AND PIONEERING STABLE OF YOUNG TALENT THE UK MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS EVER PRODUCED.

EVOLVING OUT OF THE JAZZ SCENE IN THE EARLY 90’S, THE COMPANY SOON STARTED TO BREAK NEW GROUND, GAINING A REPUTATION FOR FUSING MUSICAL GENRES THAT HAD PREVIOUSLY NOT BEEN MIXED. MO WAX ARTISTS FOUND THE ROOM TO BLEND ELEMENTS OF JAZZ, INSTRUMENTAL HIP HOP, ELECTRO, TECHNO AND DRUM & BASS ON ORIGINAL TRACKS AND REMIX WORK: IN SHORT, TO DISCOVER ROOM TO WORK OUTSIDE CATEGORISATION AND THE STYLES OF MUSIC THEY WERE KNOWN FOR. AS JAMES SAID,”I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BRING TOGETHER THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MUSIC THAT I’VE GROWN UP ON, TO INTERTWINE THEM TO CREATE SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE MY AGE CAN GET INTO”. IT IS THIS COLLISION OF STYLES THAT THE LABEL WENT ON TO REFINE AND DEVELOP. THE ARTIST ROSTER CURRENTLY INCLUDES ACTS AS VARIED AS ATTICA BLUES, ANDREA PARKER, DJ KRUSH, THE BRILLIANT DJ SHADOW, AND MONEY MARK WHOSE “PUSH THE BUTTON” ALBUM IS SET TO BE THE SOUNDTRACK OF THIS SUMMER. MO WAX HAS A CULTURE AND CACHE THAT IS UNIQUE IN POPULAR MUSIC.

JAMES LAVELLE IS ALSO AN ESTABLISHED ARTIST IN HIS OWN RIGHT, REMIXING SOME OF THE FINEST RECORDS AROUND INCLUDING RADIOHEAD’S”PLANET TELEX”, THE VERVE’S”BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY”, EDWYN COLLINS'”DOWNER”, BECK’S”WHERE IT’S AT” (WHICH WAS NAMED THE 2ND BEST REMIX OF THE YEAR BY NME IN 1996), JOHN SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION’S “BELL BOTTOMS” AND MASSIVE ATTACK’S”KARMACOMA” TO NAME A FEW. IN HIS CAPACITY AS A DJ, JAMES PLAYED SUPPORT ON BOTH THE VERVE AND RADIOHEAD’S 1997 UK TOURS. MEANWHILE HIS U.N.K.L.E COLLABORATOR DJ SHADOW PLAYED A LIVE SET OF HIS OWN TRACKS AS THE MAIN SUPPORT TO RADIOHEAD ON THE SAME TOUR.

DJ SHADOW (BORN JOSH DAVIS) IS MO WAX’S BIGGEST- SELLING ARTIST, WITH THE RELEASE OF HIS CRITICALLY- ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM”ENDTRODUCING…” IN 1997, ACHIEVING GOLD STATUS IN THE UK AND FEATURING ON CHANNEL 4’S ALL TIME TOP 100 ALBUMS SHOW. THE ALBUM ENDED THE YEAR IN THE TOP 5 OF 1997 IN PUBLICATIONS AS VARIED AS THE INDEPENDENT, NME, MOJO AND THE FACE, GARNERING SUCH GLOWING COMMENTS AS:

“GENIUS IS A HIDEOUSLY ABUSED TERM, AND BELIEVE ME, I USE IT SPARINGLY. THIS IS GENIUS.” THE GUARDIAN

“A THING OF BEAUTY AND A JOY FOREVER”. MOJO

“ENDTRODUCING…ARRIVED, AND INSTRUMENTAL HIP HOP WAS GRANTED ITS WILDEST AND MOST MAJESTIC MOMENT…SOME CLAIM SAMPLING IS CREATIVE ROBBERY – AND SHADOW IS THE GREATEST THIEF WHO’S EVER LIVED.” NME END OF YEAR POLL.

WITH UNKLE, JAMES LAVELLE AND DJ SHADOW HAVE JOINED FORCES, AND BROUGHT TOGETHER AN ASTOUNDING ARRAY OF COLLABORATORS AND GUEST ARTISTS, TO CREATE WHAT IS ALREADY ONE OF THE MOST TALKED ABOUT AND EAGERLY-AWAITED RECORDS OF RECENT TIMES.

THE ORIGINAL INSPIRATION FOR UNKLE CAME WHEN JAMES LAVELLE BEGAN EXPERIMENTING IN THE STUDIO WITH TIM GOLDSWORTHY, AND KUDO FROM MAJOR FORCE,”THE TIME HAS COME” EP WAS THE RESULT. AT THIS STAGE UNKLE WAS LITTLE MORE THAN A SIDE PROJECT, A WAY FOR LAVELLE TO CREATIVELY EXPRESS HIMSELF IN THE STUDIO AND MAKE A TRACK FOR FUN THAT HAD ALL THE ELEMENTS IN IT THAT HE WANTED TO HEAR.”THE TIME HAS COME” EP REACHED NO 1 IN THE INDEPENDENT CHARTS AND STAYED THERE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS.

WORK ON THE UNKLE ALBUM HAS BEEN A LONG AND DRAWN OUT PROCESS, WITH ARTISTS CONTRIBUTING SONGS AND VOCALISTS BEING SOUGHT AFTER OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS.THE FINAL ROLL-CALL READS LIKE A MUSICAL WHO’S WHO OF THE NINETIES, WITH BOTH RICHARD ASHCROFT AND THOM YORKE RECORDING THEIR VOCALS FOR THE ALBUM BEFORE THE HUGE SUCCESS OF”URBAN HYMNS” AND”OK COMPUTER”.

THE UNKLE ALBUM HAS BEEN A TRUE LABOUR OF LOVE, WITH ARTISTS DISPERSED AROUND THE GLOBE AND ALL INVOLVED IN THEIR OWN MUSICAL CAREERS.

MEANWHILE, JAMES LAVELLE HIMSELF, CONTINUES TO RUN HIS OWN RECORD COMPANY AND IS ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN DISCOVERING NEW ACTS AND THE UNIQUE VISUAL PRESENTATION OF MO WAX.

THE UNKLE ALBUM HAS NOT BEEN AN EASY PROJECT TO COORDINATE. BUT, IN JAMES’ OWN WORDS

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