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Since its 1992 inception, UNKLE has been the primary musical outlet of James Lavelle. The co-founder of Mo' Wax, one of the most consequential English independent labels of the '90s, Lavelle and a carousel of collaborators have indulged in styles ranging from sample-based hip-hop to downcast stoner rock. The Top Five U.K. hit Psyence Fiction (1998), the debut UNKLE album, was shaped by temporary partner DJ Shadow, but its diversions pointed the way toward the progressively band-oriented albums that followed. Involving recurring roles for subterranean rockers including Josh Homme, Chris Goss, and Mark Lanegan, sprawling albums such as Never, Never Land (2003), Where Did the Night Fall (2010), and a two-part series titled The Road (2017 and 2019) have ensured that Lavelle won't be known simply as a trip-hop catalyst.

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