James Lavelle

Global Underground: Romania (Global Underground)

As Mo' Wax label chief and main conspirator behind the intriguing UNKLE project, James Lavelle has already carved a successful path for himself as entrepreneur and producer. In between day jobs, though, it seems he can't shake his roots, which lie behind the decks on the dance floor. On the heels of his Barcelona mix from 2002, Lavelle doesn't stray too far from that mesmerizing template with this set from Dracula's homeland. With his double-CD statement of electro, tech-house, dub, and murky straight-beat sonics, Lavelle proves the adage: If you can't beat it, join it.

With the sophomore UNKLE record recently released, Lavelle takes full advantage by inserting numerous remixes of the album's choice cuts into Romania. Tracks like Medway's remix of "Invasion," featuring 3D from Massive Attack on vocals, show the vulnerability and flexibility the originals harnessed. The second disc is a more propulsive party mix, with Richie Hawtin opening doors to the likes of Photek, Chemical Brothers, and house legend Derrick Carter. But it's the first disc where the various James Lavelle personas enter the fray, from UNKLE's reconstructing of Queens of the Stone Age's "No One Knows" to onetime collaborator DJ Shadow's "GDMFSOB." Though not as eclectic, Lavelle has once again crafted an engaging, club-friendly release that's as incestuous as it is invigorating.

 
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