UNKLE ¦ Psyence Fiction
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|Studio album by|
|Released||24 August 1998 (1998-08-24)|
|Singles from Psyence Fiction|
Psyence Fiction is the debut studio album by British-American electronic music group Unkle, released on 24 August 1998 by Mo' Wax. The creation of the album was helmed by the duo of James Lavelle and DJ Shadow, with the former overseeing the album's themes and the latter handling musical composition. Psyence Fiction also features contributions from a varied cast of guest musicians recruited by Lavelle.
"Unreal" is an instrumental version of the song "Be There" (featuring Ian Brown), which was released a year later as a single. On some early pressings of the album, instrumental versions of "Guns Blazing" and "The Knock" were added as tracks 13 and 14. On some re-releases of the album, "Be There" was added as track 13. Some versions (mainly the Japanese release, but also the US promotional copy) contain the hidden track "Intro (optional)" as "track zero", which is actually the pre-gap (index 0) of track 1. This can be accessed by "rewinding" the first track on some CD players.
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Psyence Fiction was widely anticipated due to its high-profile cast of collaborators, with Shadow's involvement in particular leading to expectations that the album "would be a sort of Endtroducing..... Part II". It was ultimately released to mixed reviews, with many critics finding that the album failed to live up to pre-release hype. John Mulvey of NME wrote that Shadow's music "rarely gels with Lavelle's chosen singers or even comes to terms with the song (as opposed to groove) format of much of the material". Guardian writer Caroline Sullivan said that the album successfully sustains its "foreboding" mood, but added that "its strength is also its weakness: somewhere amid the sprawl of bad dreams it turns into nothing more than meandering tunes with spooky keyboards attached". The A.V. Club's Joshua Klein criticised Unkle's decision to eschew hip hop in favour of a "more conventional alt-rock outline", concluding that "Psyence Fiction can be chalked up as an ambitious failure; its principals can put it on their résumés, but cultural historians needn't put in their books." Critic Robert Christgau gave the album a one-star honorable mention, deeming it "Not beautiful (or weird) enough for its own beats".
Among positive reviews, Barry Walters of Spin wrote that DJ Shadow "frames suitably eloquent voices with chaotic but never overwhelming aural bricolage", calling Psyence Fiction "the illest soundclash since the last time a B-boy crashed a George Romero film festival and refused to turn off his boom-box". Writing in Rolling Stone, Lorraine Ali found the album to be "neither a lofty concept album nor the sonic equivalent of cinema", but concluded that "it is Shadow and Lavelle's striving for such greatness that makes UNKLE a compelling work in progress". Entertainment Weekly's David Browne wrote that despite the presence of filler, "the best bits... are like a soundtrack for a surreal, melancholy art film that exists in Shadow's and Lavelle's heads." Gareth Grundy of Select wrote that Shadow's production provides the album with coherence, and that when he and Lavelle "click... it hums with joie de vivre – the sound of a vision thrillingly realised".
Disillusioned with the project, DJ Shadow departed Unkle following Psyence Fiction's release and distanced himself from the album. Years later, James Lavelle opined that the album's hype ended up overshadowing its musical content, adding that he felt it was released at a time "when people wanted [him] to fail". Shadow would later soften his stance on Psyence Fiction, remarking in a 2010 interview that he viewed the album fondly despite it being "somehow flawed".
In June 2013, Unkle launched a Kickstarter campaign titled "URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY: 21 YEARS OF MO'WAX," part of which included a deluxe re-release compact disc of Psyence Fiction. The campaign raised over $51,000. As of late 2020, the Psyence Fiction album has not been released to the Kickstarter campaign contributors.
In the years following the release of Psyence Fiction, the album's reputation has steadily improved. In a review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine found that Psyence Fiction, despite its musical flaws, "gains momentum on repeated listens" due to "Shadow's imagination and unpredictable highlights", which make for "a superstar project that doesn't play it safe and actually has its share of rich, rewarding music." Writing in The Vinyl Factory, Elliot Wilder expressed similar sentiments and noted that the album had "gained cult status for its chaotic collages and maverick collaborations", adding that it "feels today like the kind of crazy, alt-star-strewn mash fest that it is". Chris DeVille of Stereogum wrote that Psyence Fiction presaged "likeminded ecumenical collectives like Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School", and that "In terms of quality alone, it's worthy of remembering as one of the best albums of its era." In 2015, Fact named it the 45th best trip hop album of all time.
|1.||"Guns Blazing (Drums of Death Part 1)"||5:01|
|2.||"UNKLE Main Title Theme"||Davis||3:24|
|6.||"Getting Ahead in the Lucrative Field of Artist Management"||0:56|
|7.||"Nursery Rhyme / Breather"||4:45|
|9.||"The Knock (Drums of Death Part 2)"||3:58|
|11.||"Rabbit in Your Headlights"||6:20|
|13.||"Guns Blazing (Drums of Death Part 1)" (Instrumental)||Davis||4:00|
|14.||"The Knock (Drums of Death Part 2)" (Instrumental)||Davis||3:52|
- Sample credits
- "Bloodstain" contains samples of "Alone", performed by BeBe K'Roche.
- "Unreal" contains samples of "Birth", written by Jules Blattner and performed by The Jules Blattner Group, and "Pre-Dawn Retrospective Chant", written and performed by Steve Forman.
- "Celestial Annihilation" is based on the composition "Concerto for Strings and Beats" by Wil Malone.
- "Getting Ahead in the Lucrative Field of Artist Management" is an advert for the 1975 boardgame "Ball Buster", from Mego Corporation, though the name of the company at the end of the track has been reversed.
Credits for Psyence Fiction adapted from album liner notes.
Artwork and design
- "Guns Blazing (Drums of Death Part 1)" and "Nursery Rhyme / Breather" were mixed and recorded at The Record Plant in Hollywood, California.
- Vocals for "Guns Blazing (Drums of Death Part 1)" and "Rabbit in Your Headlights" were recorded at The Site in San Rafael, California.
All other mixing and recording took place in London, England.
- "UNKLE Main Title Theme", "Lonely Soul", "Celestial Annihilation" and "The Knock (Drums of Death Part 2)" were mixed at Metropolis.
- "Bloodstain" and "Chaos" were mixed at Rak Studios.
- Vocals for "Bloodstain" were recorded at The Strongroom.
- "Unreal" was mixed at Matrix.
- Vocals for "Lonely Soul" were recorded at Milo.
- Strings for "Lonely Soul" and "Celestial Annihilation" were recorded at CTS Studios.
- "Rabbit in Your Headlights" was mixed at The Strongroom.
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||15|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||22|
|Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)||60|
|French Albums (SNEP)||39|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||77|
|New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)||33|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||18|
|Scottish Albums (OCC)||7|
|UK Albums (OCC)||4|
|UK Independent Albums (OCC)||1|
|US Billboard 200||107|
|US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)||1|
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Psyence Fiction – UNKLE". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- Browne, David (12 October 1998). "Psyence Fiction". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- Sullivan, Caroline (28 August 1998). "UNKLE: Psyence Fiction (Mo' Wax)". The Guardian.
- Mulvey, John (19 August 1998). "UNKLE – Psyence Fiction". NME. Archived from the original on 15 June 2000. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Schreiber, Ryan. "UNKLE: Psyence Fiction". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 16 November 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- Maconie, Stuart (September 1998). "Unkle: Psyence Fiction". Q. No. 144. p. 93.
- Ali, Lorraine (17 September 1998). "U.N.K.L.E.: Psyence Fiction". Rolling Stone. No. 797. p. 128. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Ryan, Chris (2004). "UNKLE". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 837–38. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Grundy, Gareth (September 1998). "The rebel alliance". Select. No. 99. pp. 80–81.
- Walters, Barry (November 1998). "UNKLE: Psyence Fiction". Spin. Vol. 14 no. 11. pp. 117–18. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- "The men from UNKLE". The Age. 3 October 2003. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Wilder, Eliot (24 August 2018). "20 years of UNKLE's Psyence Fiction". The Vinyl Factory. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Klein, Joshua (29 March 2002). "UNKLE: Psyence Fiction". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Christgau, Robert (2000). "Unkle: Psyence Fiction". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Cooper, Sean. "UNKLE (Biography)". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Werde, Bill (June 2002). "The Shadow Knows". CMJ New Music Monthly. No. 102. pp. 32–39. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Doran, John (18 October 2010). "Megadef: DJ Shadow Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- DeVille, Chris (24 August 2018). "Psyence Fiction Turns 20". Stereogum. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Twells, John; Fintoni, Laurent (30 July 2015). "The 50 best trip-hop albums of all time". Fact. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Psyence Fiction (liner notes). Unkle. Mo' Wax. 1998. MW085CD.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Ball Buster advert".
- McGee, Alan (9 April 2008). "Wherefore art thou Mark Hollis?". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- "Australiancharts.com – Unkle – Psyence Fiction". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Ultratop.be – Unkle – Psyence Fiction" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Unkle – Psyence Fiction" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Lescharts.com – Unkle – Psyence Fiction". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Unkle – Psyence Fiction" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Charts.nz – Unkle – Psyence Fiction". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – Unkle – Psyence Fiction". Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Unkle Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Unkle Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
Veröffentlichungen von UNKLE die im OTRS erhältlich sind/waren:
Psyence Fiction ¦ Live On The Road: Koko
UNKLE auf Wikipedia (oder andere Quellen):
Unkle in concert at Somerset House in London in 2008.
|Also known as||UNKLE Sounds|
|Genres||Electronica, trip hop, alternative rock|
|Labels||Mo' Wax, Global Underground, Surrender-All, Songs for the Def|
|Associated acts||Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age, Ian Brown, Mark Hollis, South, Badly Drawn Boy, Mike D, Beastie Boys, Lupe Fiasco, Richard Ashcroft, The Verve, The Duke Spirit, Autolux, Oasis, Gavin Clark, Cattle Decapitation, Robert Del Naja, Ian Astbury, Massive Attack, The Stone Roses, Alice Temple, Kool G Rap, Thom Yorke, Radiohead, The Black Angels, John Debney, Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park, Elliott Power, Tom Smith, Keaton Henson, Mark Lanegan|
|Past members||DJ Shadow|
Unkle (often stylised as U.N.K.L.E. or UNKLE, occasionally known as UNKLE Sounds) are a British musical outfit founded in 1992 by James Lavelle. Originally categorised as trip hop, the group once included producer DJ Shadow and have employed a variety of guest artists and producers.
First incarnation (1992–1996)
The first release credited to the 'Men from U.N.K.L.E' was a remix for United Future Organization, included on their 1992 Loud Minority single. Lavelle and Goldsworthy were joined by Masayuki Kudo and Toshio Nakanishi of the Japanese hip hop crew Major Force (later Major Force West).
Second incarnation (1997–1999)
Lavelle drafted in DJ Shadow to work on the debut album, and essentially discarded all previously recorded material. Lavelle and Shadow released Psyence Fiction in 1998 to a mixed critical response. The album included collaborations with an all-star lineup including Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Mark Hollis (Talk Talk), Mike D (Beastie Boys), Kool G Rap, Jason Newsted (Metallica), Badly Drawn Boy and Richard Ashcroft (The Verve). The album was mixed by Shadow's long-time collaborator, producer Jim Abbiss.
Shadow left the group after touring Psyence Fiction and was replaced by turntablist group the Scratch Perverts, who deconstructed the album and performed it live on turntables in 1999. Also in 1999, former producer Rich File remixed the track "Unreal", adding vocals by Ian Brown, and the resulting track was released as the single "Be There".
On 1 February 1999, Lavelle and the Scratch Perverts appeared on the Radio 1 program The Breezeblock, utilising "5 turntables". The set was largely based on tracks from Psyence Fiction, with some of them reworked live by Lavelle for the live performance. The Scratch Perverts' contribution consisted of scratching over the top of the Unkle tracks, a deconstructed version of "Be There", and some solo interludes.
Third incarnation (2000–2007)
In 2001, Lavelle and File resurfaced as Unklesounds, with a DJ mix created for Japanese radio entitled Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats? This highlighted a new, more electronic direction the group had taken, and featured a number of tracks from Psyence Fiction, remixed in a techy breakbeat style.
Rich File co-produced, played and sang on the second album, Never, Never, Land, released in 2003. The album again featured a number of high-profile contributors, including Ian Brown, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Robert Del Naja (Massive Attack) and Mani (The Stone Roses, Primal Scream) among others.
Lavelle and File continued releasing mixes as Unklesounds. The mix album Edit Music for a Film: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Reconstruction, featuring movie samples and tracks from film soundtracks, was created for the After Dark 2004 event at the ICA London. A single CD version was handed out at the event, and it was released officially as an extended two disc set in 2005. The group recorded music for a short film titled The Seed directed by Joe Hahn alongside John Debney and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park.
In September 2006, Global Underground released Self Defence: Never, Never, Land Reconstructed and Bonus Beats, a 4-CD box set of remixes and bonus tracks from the Never, Never, Land sessions, including tracks previously only available on the original DVD release of the album. It also contained remixes of a track mooted for their next album, featuring Ian Astbury of The Cult, titled "Burn My Shadow".
War Stories, the third album from Unkle, was released in summer 2007. The album again featured a number of guests including Josh Homme, Gavin Clark, Robert Del Naja, Ian Astbury, The Duke Spirit, Autolux and Neil Davidge. Following the release of the single "Hold My Hand", Pablo Clements (of The Psychonauts) became an Unkle member.
Fourth incarnation (2008–present)
In January 2008 Unkle released More Stories, containing a mix of B-sides, remixes, unreleased War Stories session tracks, and music composed for the film Odyssey in Rome. The same month, Rich File announced he was leaving Unkle after 10 years' collaboration to pursue work with his new band, We Fell to Earth. In March the Lazarides Gallery in London showcased War Paint, an exhibition of artworks inspired by the recent Unkle album War Stories, with works from Robert Del Naja, Warren du Preez, Nick Thornton Jones, Will Bankhead and Ben Drury. Unkle began touring the UK with Zoot Woman and Sebastian and Mr. Flash from the French electro record label Ed Banger Records. The concert, set across four acts, featured live performances from past Unkle contributors including Badly Drawn Boy, Liela Moss from The Duke Spirit, Gavin Clark and Joel Cadbury from South.
Unkle's fourth full album titled End Titles... Stories for Film was released in July 2008. It includes collaborations with Chris Goss, Black Mountain, Philip Sheppard, Dave Bateman, Joel Cadbury, and James Griffith (Lake Trout). The album is described in the sleeve notes by Lavelle as "not a new album in the usual sense, but new music that has been inspired by the moving image." As such, it can be considered a companion piece both to War Stories but also to the earlier Unklesounds mix, Edit Music for a Film.
14 December 2008 saw the digital release of End Titles... Redux, an album that was released the following day in a limited pressing of 3000 CDs available from official Unkle stores. This release features seven re-interpreted tracks from the album End Titles... Stories for Film plus 2 never-before-released tracks, "When Once It Was" and "A Perfect Storm". The exclusive package is a 6-panel soft-pack with a 12-page booklet with images by Robert Del Naja.
Upon the release of the single "Heavy Drug (Surrender Sounds Mix)" in August 2009, Unkle disclosed they had already begun recording their next studio album, Where Did the Night Fall, which was released in May 2010. This also included an all-star cast of performers including: Mark Lanegan, Nick Cave, The Black Angels, Sleepy Sun, and Katrina Ford, as well as ELLE J and Gavin Clark. The album is also available as a digital download from Unkle's site.
It was announced on 18 April 2011 that Unkle would headline the Dance Stage at the Reading and Leeds Festivals. They would be performing a world-exclusive audio-visual DJ set at the festivals, playing songs from their back catalogue alongside remixes of other artists' songs as well as Unkle's own material. They would be performing under the name UNKLE Sounds.
On 27 February 2014, the "God of Light (Original Game Soundtrack)" single was published on iTunes, with two songs from the God of Light game by Playmous and EON. The in-game credits list "Music composed by: UNKLE / James Lavelle / Charlie May."
On 15 July 2016 UNKLE released the single "Cowboys or Indians", which featured artists Ysée, Mink, and Elliott Power. Pitchfork Media reported UNKLE would release an album that same year. In January 2017 UNKLE announced the pending release of the album The Road, which will be preceded by the single "Sick Lullaby" to be released in mid February 2017. It coincides with an exhibition at the Lazarides gallery in London.
Since 2016, UNKLE had returned to touring as a live collective after 4 years of performing DJ sets - with the exception of Matthew Puffett
- James Lavelle - keyboards, programming, mixing, percussion
- Steve Weston - engineering, visuals
- Jack Leonard - lead vocals, bass
- Liela Moss (The Duke Spirit) - vocals
- Keeling Lee (Groove Armada, Way Out West) - guitar
- Alex Thomas (Squarepusher, Air) - drums
- Psyence Fiction (1998)
- Never, Never, Land (2003)
- War Stories (2007)
- End Titles... Stories for Film (2008)
- Where Did the Night Fall (2010)
- The Road: Part I (2017)
- The Road: Part II (Lost Highway) (2019)
|Albums||Appearances in media|
|Songs||Appearances in media|
|Sunna - I'm Not Trading (UNKLE - In Utero)|
|Safe in Mind (Please Take This Gun from Out My Face)|
|Eye for an Eye|
|Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows (UNKLE Remix)|
|Leap of Faith|
|Keys to the Kingdom|
|Price You Pay|
|Burn My Shadow|
|Hold My Hand|
|Mayday (featuring The Duke Spirit)|
|Broken (featuring Gavin Clark)|
|Awake the Unkind|
|Trouble in Paradise (Variation on a Theme)|
|With You in My Head (featuring The Black Angels)|
|Ian Brown - F.E.A.R. (UNKLE Remix)|
|Heavy Drug (Surrender Sounds Mix)|
|When Things Explode|
|Money and Run (featuring Nick Cave)|
|Into the Light|
|Out of the Light|
|The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (feat. Keaton Henson)|
|Looking for the Rain (feat. Mark Lanegan, ESKA)|
|Robert Plant - The Enchanter (Unkle Reconstruction)||Appears in Mighty ReArrenger remastered version|
- 2008 Unkle Live – UK Tour Stories
- 2008 Creamfields Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- "United Future Organization - Loud Minority". Discogs. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- "1999-02-01 - UNKLE vs Scratch Perverts - Breezeblock - Headline Set". MixesDB − The database for mixes. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- The Seed (2008) IMDb
- "Noize Makes Enemies.co.uk - File leaves Unkle". noizemakesenemies.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- "War Paint at Lazarides Gallery" (PDF). lazinc.com. Retrieved 5 April 2018.[permanent dead link]
- "DJ James Lavelle/UNKLE | Shop the DJ James Lavelle/UNKLE Official Store". DJ James Lavelle/UNKLE | Shop the DJ James Lavelle/UNKLE Official Store. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- "Leeds Festival News | News and Announcements for 2012". Leedsfestival.com. 24 April 2012. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "Leeds Festival Line Up | Official 2012 Line Up". Leedsfestival.com. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- "God of Light is available for download today". Playmous. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- "UNKLE and Keaton Henson release stunning new track 'Sick Lullaby' on vinyl". thevinylfactory.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "25 years of UNKLE traced in immersive exhibition". thevinylfactory.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Bowe, Miles (31 March 2017). "UNKLE unveil new album The Road Pt. 1". Fact. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- UNKLE to perform Euro 2008 theme BBC Press Office, 30 May 2008
- "God of Light (Original Game Soundtrack) - Single". iTunes. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
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