Artist: James Lavelle
Title: Global Underground: 026 - Romania
Label: Global Underground
By: Simon Jones | 14 April 2004
  1. Beauty And... Intro
  2. Queens Of The Stone Age - No One Knows (UNKLE Reconstruction)
  3. UNKLE - In A State (Album Version)
  4. PFN - Flow (False Prophet Mix)
  5. UNKLE - Eye For An Eye (Silencer Mix)
  6. Meat Katie - K Hole
  7. UNKLE - Have You Passed Through This Night (Eye For An Eye UNKLE Variation)
  8. DJ Shadow Feat Roots Manuva - GDMFSOB (UNKLE Uncensored Mix)
  9. UNKLE - Reign (Album Version)
  10. Meat Katie & Elite Force - Ju-Ju (Hum Mix)
  11. Meat Katie & Dylan Rhymes - Dita Beater
  12. Santos - Sabot (Evil 9 Mix)
  13. South - Colours In Waves (UNKLE Reconstruction)
  14. M83 - Run Into Flowers (UNKLE Re-Prise)
    C'hantel - The Realm (Acapella)

James Lavelle "Global Underground: 026 - Romania"James Lavelle "Global Underground: 026 - Romania"

Out Now on Global Underground

Before I start, I will admit that over the past few months, the Global Underground compilations haven't really grabbed my attention like they used to. For what reason that might be I have no idea. Being someone who is obsessed with music as I am, I'm always looking for new sounds or new talent or something that inspires me, and last few editions of this series have failed to ignite that same interest. Perhaps it's the fact that the whole idea of what a DJ is and what they do is changing, or perhaps it's the fact there are many artists who write lots of material but don't really push the boundaries too much, but whatever has gone on in the past I'll put to one side for now as I sit down with this copy of the latest Global Underground, the 26th in the series, as James Lavelle lands on my desk via Romania.

This is James' second compilation for the series, with his first from Barcelona having received mixed actions across the board. This album aims to change that, but as we move through one of James unique intros and into the cd proper, the apprehension grows, as Unkle reconstruction meets Unkle production, with the Queens Of The Stone Age leading us 'In A State'. That being said, the tracks just seem to be placed together rather than layered or mixed, so the only state so far is one of disarray. The groove may roll and the beats may rock, but each time any semblance of order occurs thanks to tracks from Santos and the eclectic rock of french duo M83, it gets tarnished or ruined by the shoddy mixing and lack of innovation. Whilst as a producer you cannot fault James Lavelle, this compilation so far has left me stone cold and the heavy bias towards his own Unkle project and the work of one Meat Katie has so far proved to be this album's downfall.

Moving on to the second disc and we start off with the consistently excellent Ritchie Hawtin who's Plastikman track 'Ask Yourself' is a fine opener for this disc, but again lacklustre programming is only saved by some great tracks, notably Peace Division's recent single 'No More Subliminal Shit' (maybe there's a hidden message there) and the superb Ewan Pearson Dub of Chemical Brothers 'Golden Path', not to mention Medway's moody interpretation of Unkle's 'Invasion', with that unmistakable bass of his complimenting Richard File's vocals perfectly. However, from the beginning the mix picks up at Meat Katie's collaboration with Lee Coombs entitled 'Import', it goes off the boil slightly, ending at a finale that sees the man like Sasha edit Italian Alex Dolby's 'Psiko Garden', enhancing the bassline into a floor teasing serpent, and his remix of the Unkle's own 'In A State' being not only a great track for the last moment of a set, but finishing the cd in a fairly upbeat manner, but it all comes too late in the day, and whilst the second disc redeems itself over the poor first, it cannot change the fact that this is a decidedly poor showing from one of the world's leading compilation brands.

One can only speculate as to what the future holds for Global Underground, though with the development of artists via it's singles label and the return of Sasha to the fold for a new series which could change the idea behind mix compilations as we know them, there at least seems to be a slight of light at the end of this darkening tunnel.

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