- In the UK, where both electronica and brash guitar rock are bigger chart-toppers than in the US, artists are a lot freer about mixing the two styles. Hence UNKLE, the project of James Lavelle and illbient hero DJ Shadow. The duo puts their sampling/looping expertise to work in the service of a project that blends the best of Britrock and electronica, without sacrificing the integrity of either style. Towards this end, they're assisted by some talented friends. Radiohead singer Thom Yorke cowrote and sings "Rabbit in Your Headlights," which takes his band's sound and runs a little further afield. The Verve's Richard Ashcroft is on hand for "Lonely Soul," which links syncopated drum loops, midtempo rock, and extended orchestral sections. PSYENCE FICTION is a fresh-sounding effort that pushes the boundaries of both rock and electronica in a way that will appeal to fans of both genres.
Rolling Stone (10/15/98, p.128) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...an accessible yet edgy blend of movie-soundtrack-style ambience, hip-hop experimentation, rock & roll reverb, maniacal drum breaks and turntable-synthesizer spasms....a complelling work in progress."
Spin (1/99, p.91) - Ranked #19 on Spin's list of "Top 20 Albums of '98."
Mixmag (1/99, p.49) - Included in Mixmag's "Ten Best Albums of 98" - "Beats by DJ Shadow. Star turns by Richard Ashcroft and Thom Yorke. Hype by James Lavelle..."
CMJ (1/11/99, pp.3-4) - "...this slow-cooking beat-noir masterpiece proved to be both cinematic in its scope and surreal in its detail, held together by a confident, futuristic aesthetic..."
The Source (10/98, p.166) - "...UNKLE use a mixture of samples and real musicians to build their fuzzy analog tableaux, giving this ad hoc collective considerable style-flexing muscle..."