UNKLE - Psyence Fiction (1998)

This is the album that I can trace almost all of my favorite music back to ("back to which I can trace my favorite musics"? screw you grammar). The product of a collaboration between James Lavelle and the always-spectacular DJ Shadow, the album has everyone you could possibly like.

Kool G Rap? Check.
Mike D from the Beastie Boys? Check.
Thom Yorke? Yep.
Badly Drawn Boy? Absolutely.
Richard Ashcroft? Check.
Metallica's Jason Newsted? Plays the goddamn theremin!
Ian Brown? You know it!

And these are just the guest artists. The samples are all over the place--this is DJ Shadow we're talking about--and reinforce the almost cinematic Sci-Fi feel of the album. Lots of creepy vocal samples, Shadow's trademark dirty-ass drums, and old commercials give this album a lush soundscape.

And the music! Ah! After the swirl of samples in the intro (it's fucking ridiculous, look it up on wikipedia 'cause it's too long to put here), comes some killer gangsta rap, mellow trip-hop, hard-rock, ambient interludes, a string ensemble with beats, more hip-hop, and then a fucking Thom Yorke ballad (with a stellar video).

This album's a fucking trip, and the songs flow into each other so well, your brain can't help but create its own space-opera narrative.

6 Responses so far.

  1. Danger says:

    William. I remember this album from back in the day - although i myself was more a fan of the follow up that featured Josh Homme from the Queens of the Stone Age. It blew my mind how many awesome guest artists UNKLE managed to get for every damn album, but apparently they have a really nice game room next to their studio and would lure stars in with some killer fooseball moves. I assume.

    Sir - being a fan of UNKLE, Murderous Norweigian death metal and chiptune music, i emphatically suggest that you check out my band Countless Thousands. We've crunched the numbers and found that we are the mathematical midpoint between these three musical coordinates on the Great Graph of Rock. I'd like to humbly submit our album for the consideration of review by your fine publication, partly because i'm sure you'll dig it and also so i can put 'We Fucking Love Music' on our press kits. Hit me up at CountlessThousands@gmail.com if'n you're up for a healthy dose of what we call Enthusiastic Rock Music.


  2. Will says:

    Throw a mediafire link and I'd love to check it out.

    I'm not gonna lie, judging by your references, I'm intrigued.

  3. this is one of those albums that you listen from time to time and it tastes just like the first time. This is timeless. "Rabbit in your Headlights" is one of the most beautiful songs ever. Im gonna listen to it right now.

  4. Will says:


    Right?! I was cleaning out my attic and found this in a box I must've set aside in high school. This gem was lying on top, waiting for me to rediscover it.
    And yes, it felt just like the first time Shadow and Lavelle sent me into outer space.

  5. one of my all time fav albums. their whole discography is incredible. check out the latest one as well "Where Did The Night Fall"

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