After a rollercoaster twenty-five year career as an artist, curator and tastemaker, James Lavelle returns with UNKLE’s fifth studio album: The Road: Part 1, out Friday August 18, a collection of fifteen new UNKLE tracks inspired by his curation of 2014’s Meltdown Festival at Southbank in London.
Lavelle has premiered the visuals for the latest single off the album, "Looking For The Rain", a call to arms in our turbulent modern world, written by long-time collaborator Mark Lanegan with string arrangements by Will Malone (Massive Attack, “Unfinished Symphony” and UNKLE's “Lonely Soul” amongst others). The video, by visual artist Doug Foster, was created by “filming a variety of subjects from nature, such as water, crystals and plants. The footage was composited in several stages to eventually form a moving tunnel of light that features synchronised repetition and bilateral symmetry.”
The Road: Part 1 is a collective creative venture by musicians including London folk-rock artist and poet Keaton Henson, Primal Scream’s Andrew Innes, The Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss, Lanegan, and ESKA. Lavelle also found new friends and collaborators in Queens of the Stone Age drummer Jon Theodore and Beck drummer Justin Stanley, who both make definitive contributions throughout the record.
Recorded in London and Los Angeles’ Pink Duck Studios, The Road: Part 1 is the product of a desire to create something fresh and innovative, that also celebrates the rich history of UNKLE, and showcases a new wave of talent such as Elliott Power, Mïnk and YSEÉ.
James Lavelle praises the role of collaboration at the core of the new project “I hadn’t made a record in a long time, and the incarnation of UNKLE had changed in that now, it was me on my own. For that reason, I wanted to make a record that I hadn’t been able to before, going back to the roots of where I came from, with a foot in modern London.”
The importance of the visual experience is also a central part of The Road: Part 1 and its story. Following the immense success of his critically acclaimed exhibition Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick last summer at London's Somerset House, Lavelle continued his collaborative relationship with esteemed artists throughout the creation of The Road: Part 1. This includes cinematic and thought-provoking official videos from artists and visionaries including Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones (“Cowboys or Indians”, “Sick Lullaby”); German filmmaker NobertSchroener “The Road”); and many more to be revealed.
The official video for the album’s title track “The Road”, directed by Schoerner, the collaboration follows from Schoerner’s involvement with Lavelle’s Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick exhibition. The footage was filmed by using a drone to explore the stark American wilderness, creating a film that Schoerner explains “describes the ever present conflict between natural landscape and human progress.”
UNKLE The Road: Part 1
1. Iter I: Have You Looked at Yourself
2. Farewell (feat. YSÉE, ESKA, Elliott Power, Keaton Henson, Liela Moss, Mïnk, Dhani Harrison & Steven Young)
3. Looking For The Rain (feat. Mark Lanegan & Eska)
4. Cowboys or Indians (feat. Elliott Power, MÏNK & YSÉE)
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