Friday, November 23, 2012

Rabbit in Your Headlights

When electronica supergroup UNKLE came into existence in 1998, they were lauded as a hitherto unknown but innovative concept that pushed the boundaries of late-millennium rock like no other act. Their debut album, the grandly constructed and totally awesome ‘Psyence Fiction’, was a magnum opus that broke free of the strictures of preconceived, established contemporary genres; it was a singular project with no precedents. Much of the success of ‘Psyence Fiction’ could be credited to the far-reaching conceptual vision of James Lavelle (founder of revolutionary dance label Mo Wax), who unified all the seemingly disparate elements that comprised the bulk of the album, and the prodigious dexterity of progressive hip-hop genius DJ Shadow, who anchored the proceedings with his arsenal of futuristic and radical beats and underlays. Check out the paranoiac, unsettling ‘Rabbit in Your Headlights’, the lead single from ‘Psyence Fiction’, featuring the distinctive vocals of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, and abetted by a highly acclaimed, masterfully directed video clip by Jonathan Glazer that neatly encapsulated the pre-millennium tension that was so prevalent back in the day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Love of Richard Nixon

In 2004, self-styled Welsh 'generation terrorists' Manic Street Preachers made a surprising volte-face from being a bunch of young, livid, agit-prop neo-punks to a fairly respectable, ostensibly mature Brit-rockers, with this new sensibility embodying itself in the sober, level-headed 'Lifeblood'. 'Lifeblood' was noticeably shorn of the inflammatory guitar riffs and heated hollers of the past, instead opting for a more produced feel to the proceedings, with much of the intemperate rawness of the early records streamlined into a more efficient and economical veneer. Although the album was derided by some quarters as being too stolid and economical, it did highlight a hitherto unknown facet of the band, and it also paved the way for a more considered artistic outlook for the once-firebrand trio. Check out a live performance of the lead single from 'Lifeblood', the electronically enhanced and bitterly satirical 'The Love of Richard Nixon', on the venerable 'Later With Jools Holland' programme.