This post was originally published on this site

With his trailblazing record label Mo’Wax, James Lavelle brought all manner of groundbreaking music and street culture to a worldwide audience. The brilliant must watch 2018 documentary The Man From Mo’Wax tells the story of the visionary Lavelle and Mo’Wax and the trials and tribulations that the label went through and is a fascinating watch. Despite portraying all manner of music business drama and ups and downs, The Man From Mo’Wax demonstrated exactly why Mo’Wax was so forward-thinking and highly thought of as a record label and this is because of the music it released (with releases like the Headz series and artists like DR OCTAGON, DJ KRUSH, DJ ASSAULT and BLACKALICIOUS all releasing music on the label as well as the seminal Endtroducing by DJ SHADOW and his UNKLE project which initially paired Lavelle and Shadow for the sprawling Psyence Fiction album).

While Mo’Wax‘s musical reputation and vision has remained intact, the label has been inactive for a long time now. James Lavelle, however, has continued to make vital music as UNKLE (with a number of collaborators over the years including Josh Homme, Richard Ashcroft, Thom Yorke, MASSIVE ATTACK and the much missed Mark Lanegan) and has thankfully returned with the sequel to last year’s Rōnin I album in simply glorious fashion.

While the first Rōnin album was described by Lavelle as a DJ set in a club, this second volume is seen as a post club soundscape and it is a powerful, blissful and vibrant listening experience. The hazy beats that have become a staple of Lavelle and UNKLE‘s music over the years are here in full effect and the overall effect is both euphoric and at times haunting, but never anything other than completely compelling and thoroughly passionate.

The overall feel of Rōnin II harks back to the early UNKLE output, but far from being some sort of throwback it has its own unique vibe. It acts like a more chilled out counterpart to the first Rōnin volume and captures a post club experience in sonic form perfectly. This isn’t a collection of music that you can just dip in and out of, it needs to be listened to in its entirety and let the atmosphere completely consume you with its epic nature and this is a joyous thing indeed.

As with much of Lavelle‘s work, there is a big cinematic vibe going on (especially on tracks like Exodus (Rōnin / Revisited) and Looking For The Rain (Rōnin Reconstruction) which perfectly capture and elevate the mood of the piece) and it just enhances the massive feel of how Rōnin II sounds.

UNKLE have always captured a certain vibe with their music and Rōnin II is no exception, but the music on show here simply elevates this vibe to another level and sounds sublime throughout.  Rōnin II is not a mere collection of music, it is a sublime soundscape and one that captures so many feelings perfectly. Put this on and let it envelope your mind and your soul constantly and consistently.

Rating: 9/10

Ronin II - Unkle

Rōnin II is out now via Studio:UNKLE.

Like UNKLE on Facebook.

The post ALBUM REVIEW: Rōnin II – UNKLE appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

You May Also Like