In January 2021 UNKLE announced a new newsletter would be coming soon alongside an "UNKLE ARKHIVE SALE" The first issue arrived on January 29 2021 and makes mention of several releases for "later this month", which presumably means February. Following the main message there were several images with some text promoting various recent UNKLE releases.
Vol 1, Issue 1 - January 29 2021
Welcome to Original Headz, the new monthly Studio:UNKLE newsletter, about all things UNKLE related, where you will be the first to get news, updates and exclusive access.
Whilst we've found ourselves in and out of lockdowns, I’ve had the opportunity to go through my archive in more detail. During this process I've found a selection of UNKLE and Mo'Wax related items, which are on sale from today. These are the last remaining stocks I have of these products, and you have first access.
Already hitting the ground running this year with new single Exodus / Revisited, the next 12 months looks to be a productive year. This month we are dropping new remixes: Leila Moss' Atoms At Me and Japanese Television's Falling Spikes, as well as a new UNKLE single to be announced shortly from the first Ronin mixtape.
We have also been working over the last six months with All Purpose Studio, developing a new UNKLE website, which I'm very excited about. This will launch soon and will be a constantly evolving space, featuring new work as well as building an online archive where all of my work will eventually exist in one place.
Living In My Headphones will return later this month, and we will also continue to release new and retrospective DJ mixes on Mixcloud.
Studio:UNKLE will continue to release regular limited edition apparel, merch, collaborations and charity drops. We are constantly trying to push the levels of quality, as well as looking into new recycling techniques to be as green as possible. Over the next year we will continue to re-release archive and unreleased material, including the Surrender-All catalogue, as well as new remixes from The Road, and a series of new UNKLE records, starting with two Ronin mixtapes. One of these is more club orientated, in collaboration with Steven Weston, while the second is more after-hours, and was produced in collaboration with Miink. I'm really excited and will keep you posted as the projects unfold.
Your continued interest and support is extremely appreciated as we try and chart a new course and adapt in this unique and challenging time, where music and art is threatened due to the unimaginable change in our landscape. We are extremely grateful for your help.
Thank you and take care, James and all at Studio:UNKLE
The Arkhive sale is now open. As Original Headz subscribers, you are the first to know. The sale features a range of T-Shirts, Hoodies, Toys, Prints, Brochures, and Music from the UNKLE archives.
UNKLE kick off the year with a brand new track, featuring long-time collaborator and Mercury Prize nominee, ESKA.
With a year of cancelled touring, James found his way back to his DJ roots. He compiled a series of mixes inspired by his That's How It Is night, run with Gilles Peterson at London's Bar Rumba. The tracks played there, as well as at the Dusted sessions at the Blue Note, serve as the inspiration for this unique take on a classic.
Collaborating with West London multi-instrumentalist Miink on production, James delivers a track with the classic Mo' Wax soul, given a contemporary twist.
For the latest set of remixes of UNKLE's The Road: Parts I & II, James has enlisted the help of Kentucky-born LA-based producer Amtrac. Having met due to a mutual love of each other's work, James reached out to Amtrac, who set about crafting two unique takes on album opener Farewell.
James: "Really pleased to be sharing with you a new DJ mix for the dope Keinemusik crew. I haven't done a club mix for a while so I focused more on that tip, with old and new cuts from disco to techno, as well as my new remix of Ar.Mour (out now). The Ar.Mour Ronin Dub, which I did with Steven Weston (whom many of you will know from UNKLE:LIVE) is taken from the forthcoming Ronin mixtape project (details to come soon)."
Ronin studio sessions (James Lavelle, Steven Weston, Alex Thomas, Jack Leonard)... The Road Not Taken - coming soon.
Vol 1, Issue 2 - February 26 2021
Welcome to the second issue of Original Headz.
Tomorrow (Friday) sees the launch of the final chapter of the Arkhive Sale featuring a selection of Prints, Records and T-Shirts uncovered during the recent lockdowns. This is the last stock available of these items. As Original Headz subscribers, you once again have first access.
We realise that there were issues with the timings of our last sale for some of you, particularly those in the US. It can be difficult to manage sale times across the different time zones but we have taken on board your feedback. This sale will launch at the later time of 5pm UK time, exclusively to you - as subscribers, you are getting a 24 hours heads up of the on-sale time. Visit this link at 5pm UK tomorrow - you can use the links below to save a reminder to your calendar. The sale won't be advertised elsewhere until 8pm or later on Friday. We hope this works better for everyone.
We also understand there were some issues with Russian and Singaporean shipping being unavailable last time; our warehouse has advised that this is now resolved.
We appreciate your support and are grateful for the feedback.
It's been a great start to the year especially with the recent release of Do Yourself Some Good, the new single (taken from the forthcoming Rōnin I record) which has had some amazing support from radio, in particular BBC 6Music and club DJs. We will be sharing more information later this month on the release of the mixtape, which I finally mastered last week with the amazing Matt Colton. I am very excited to get this out into the world and share it with you.
I’m currently working on the finishing touches to the 2nd part of Rōnin with Miink, which is going great and will follow later this spring.
With the new announcements here in the UK of a more optimistic year ahead, the spring starting to brighten our days and the prospect of performing this summer things seem to be looking more positive.
I wish you all well.
Love and thanks, James and all at Studio:UNKLE
The Arkhive Sale Part 2 will go live tomorrow Friday at 5pm UK time. The sale features a range of T-Shirts, Prints, and Records from the UNKLE archives.
The sale will go live here, and you can use the following links to add a reminder to your calendar - plus we'll send you an email at 5pm.
UNKLE return with the uplifting new track, 'Do Yourself Some Good'. The single is taken from the forthcoming mixtape, 'Rōnin I' set for a March 26th release on Studio:UNKLE.
James was inspired by his early DJ roots, playing at clubs like 'That’s How It Is', (which he ran with Gilles Peterson) and Dusted (at the Blue Note), the Mo' Wax Period, and his love of breaks, samples, Super Disco Breaks and edits. Experimenting with these influences to create something new, the track is rooted in the classic Mo' Wax spirit and given a contemporary twist through the use of modern production techniques. The track was produced with long-time UNKLE collaborator Steven Weston.
The track has been supported by Mary Anne Hobbs, Lauren Laverne, Shaun Keaveny, Jason Bentley, Laurent Garnier, Ross Allen, Bill Brewster, DJ Harvey, Ashley Beedle, Don Letts, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Warren and more.
Atoms At Me - [UNKLE Reconstruction] is a brand new remix for long-time UNKLE collaborator Liela Moss. Having first worked with UNKLE during the War Stories sessions, as part of her band The Duke Spirit, Liela has featured as a vocalist on every UNKLE album since, and regularly performed as part of UNKLE:Live. This remix is the first to be taken from her forthcoming album Who The Power (Reformed).
Following the release of their III EP in September of last year, psych-rock band Japanese Television have enlisted UNKLE to remix their track Falling Spikes, taken from the forthcoming EP III Remixed.
Living in my Headphones returns to Soho Radio from March 17th for its monthly residency. Tune in here.
Vol 1, Issue 3 - March 26 2021
Welcome to the third issue of Original Headz.
I'm pleased to announce that today sees the digital release of Rōnin I, the first of two forthcoming Rōnin mixtapes rooted in club culture. If you pre-ordered, check your inbox for your digital download code.
Rōnin was an idea that started in the first lockdown, where Steven Weston and I started doing some remixes for a new set we thought we would be playing later in the year. We had a busy schedule of touring planned, which was going to be based around a more dance-orientated show that had premiered at Fabric for their 20th-anniversary celebrations.
We assumed that summer shows would be postponed by a few months but as the lockdown continued and any hope of live shows disappeared, we decided to work on it as a mixtape series. This meant we could create an hour’s worth of new remixes for each mixtape and incorporate brand new tracks in the spirit of a new live show, but give it a proper release due to the circumstances.
The record is meant to be like a night out at a party or club from the beginning of the night to the end, or a new UNKLE:Sounds show. It’s the set I dream of playing out in a festival or club when we finally get to come together and dance again.
I’m currently in the studio finishing Rōnin II with Miink, which will follow later in the year.
New announcements about Rōnin merchandise will follow in April and new remixes are in the pipeline.
Wishing you all well.
Love and thanks, James and all at Studio:UNKLE
UNKLE's Rōnin I mixtape featuring the brand new singles 'If We Don't Make It' and 'Do Yourself Some Good', as well as seven brand new UNKLE remixes is out today digitally.
The album will be released in a variety of formats including a deluxe limited edition splatter vinyl in a tip-on sleeve, as well as clear and transparent orange vinyl editions.
The album will be released in a variety of formats including a deluxe limited edition splatter vinyl in a tip-on sleeve, as well as clear and transparent orange vinyl editions. There’s also a deluxe 2CD edition in a tip-on sleeve, as well as a standard cd edition, and two cassette editions. 20 hand signed and numbered test pressings of the album have already sold out. Every order includes an exclusive signed postcard. Available to pre-order here now.
Track listing for Rōnin I:
- Ar.Mour (Rōnin Dub) [Feat. Miink]
- The Other Side (Rōnin Def Mix) [Feat. Tom Smith]
- On My Knees (Rōnin Def Mix) [Feat. Michael Kiwanuka]
- If We Don’t Make It (Rōnin Throwdown)
- Do Yourself Some Good (Rōnin Throwdown)
- Find An Outsider (Rōnin Reconstruction) [Feat. The Big Pink]
- Days and Nights / Reprise (Rōnin Re-Edit) [Feat. Dhani Harrison]
- Feel More / With Less (Rōnin Reconstruction) [Feat. Liela Moss]
- Catch Me When I Fall (Rōnin Vocal Mix) [Feat. Callum Finn]
On Wednesday, March 31st at 9pm GMT, UNKLE will join Tim Burgess for Tim's Twitter Listening Party, to discuss the album. Head to UNKLE's Twitter then to follow live.
Big thanks to Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC Radio 6 Music who has supported the Rōnin project from the beginning, and invited James to do a guest mix which airs today. Click to listen back here.
To celebrate the release of Rōnin I, UNKLE have made a free phone wallpaper. Simply save and upload to your device.
BAPE vs UNKLE. Return of the Original Headz. Released to commemorate the opening of the new BAPE London store. In collaboration 1995 to 2021. Available now at A BATHING APE® locations and BAPE.COM.
James returned to Soho Radio last week, after 6 months off, premiering new material, as well as the usual eclectic mix. Listen back over on the UNKLE Mixcloud.
Vol 1, Issue 4 - April 30 2021
Hey, Welcome to issue four of Original Headz.
The last month has been amazing, thanks to everybody's support on the Rōnin release.
Continuing on that theme, we have numerous new remixes coming out over the next few months. The first two are of Do Yourself Some Good. Demi Requismo's remix lands on the 7th of May, and the second by Lost Souls of Saturn follows later in the month.
I'm still in the studio putting the finishing touches to Rōnin 2 and working on other new music!
We also kicked off our first new merchandise drops of 2021 last week, and the last few tees are available on the Rōnin store. We will be doing a second more expansive drop on Friday 7th May at 5pm UK time - head to the Rōnin Store then when the products will go live. There are links below to add a reminder to your calendar.
I'm also really excited to launch phase one of our new website in collaboration with All Purpose Studios. This is a work in progress with phase two following in the next few months. See below for more information.
As things start opening up in the UK and with spring finally here, we are optimistic about the chance to hopefully get out and perform live later in the year. We look forward to being able to share more information as things develop.
Once again thanks for all of the support.
Love and thanks, James and all at Studio:UNKLE
Last chance to enter the competition to win a bundle from the UNKLE archives featuring rare and exclusive UNKLE merchandise, collaborations and test pressings.
Pre-order your physical copy by 11.59pm UK time today Friday 30th April 2021 to be in with a chance of winning. Five winners will picked at random and receive one of the following prize packages:
- Test Pressings of End Titles... Redux, UNKLE x Girls Of The Internet and a bonus Psyence Fiction 7"
- A sweater and tee from the recent UNKLE x BAPE capsule collection
- Five Studio:UNKLE T-shirts, including Summer series and Psyence Fiction merch
- Five Studio:UNKLE T-shirts, including War Stories and Camo prints
- Bundle of exclusive Studio:UNKLE stickers
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is pre-order a physical copy of Rōnin I from the UNKLE official Rōnin store by 11.59pm UK time tonight 30 April. If you've already ordered, you're already in the draw. Winners will be contacted by email next week.
We'll be opening the pre-order for a second brand-new limited merch drop, next week on Friday 7th May at 5pm UK time.
This drop will feature a limited run of new Rōnin I designs. Use the links below to add a reminder to your calendar:
Apple Calendar | Google | Yahoo | Office 365 | Outlook
If We Don’t Make It (Rōnin Dub) is available to buy and stream now.
As premiered on James’s Friday Guest Mix for Mary Anne Hobbs on BBC Radio 6Music, and supported by Richard Dorfmeister, Sean Johnston, Bill Brewster, Richard Sen, Jagz Kooner and more.
We're pleased to reveal the new home page for phase one of our new website build, developed in collaboration with East London based All Purpose Studios.
UNKLE recently scored the music to a short film showcasing a new body of work by longtime collaborators and furniture designers Clarke & Reilly and directed by Alexa Karolinski, featuring David Cruz. The work was presented at 7000 Romaine, West Hollywood with the film premiering in AnOther Magazine.
This month's episode of James' Soho Radio show Living In My Headphones is available to listen back on the UNKLE Mixcloud now, featuring exclusives, remixes and the usual eclectic mix. Listen back on the UNKLE Mixcloud.
Vol 1, Issue 5 - May 29 2021
Hey, Welcome to issue five of Original Headz, and greetings from Florence, Italy.
After a year of lockdown I've finally managed to get out and work on a new soundtrack with my long term collaborator friends Planet Funk. We are working from a beautiful studio in Tuscany, surrounded by olive groves and amazing scenery. I am so happy and grateful to have this opportunity to finally travel and get some new inspiration after all that has happened over the last year and all that the world continues to go through.
I am pleased to say we have finally received Redux stock which is being sent out as we speak. As we have said before, it has been difficult with vinyl manufacturing of late - more on this below. We really appreciate your patience. We've put a lot of love and work into the package and design so we hope it has been worth the wait.
On another positive note, we have now received the test pressings for Rōnin 1 which sound absolutely amazing, so production is finally underway.
Congratulations to the five winners of our recent competition, all the prizes shipped last week so the winners should have these now or very soon. We'll be running more competitions over the coming months so watch this space.
Record Store Day (12th June) will see the release of three UNKLE related tracks on vinyl for the first time with various different labels.
First, the previously unreleased UNKLE Reconstruction of Texas and Wu Tang Clan's recent single 'HI' drops on yellow vinyl from BMG.
Second, Japanese Television's 3 (Remixed) will be released by Tip Top Recordings on neon green vinyl, featuring the UNKLE Reconstruction of 'Falling Spikes'.
And third, the Still Life remix of UNKLE's Heaven will be released as part of a 2LP compilation on Stella Polaris Music in the July RSD drop.
Visit recordstoreday.co.uk for a list of participating stores.
On the merchandise front, we've been experimenting working with some different printers in order to produce the best quality products possible. This is taking us a little longer than we had first hoped as these are the first orders we are doing with them, but stock is in production and this will be shipping soon.
Lastly, I have finished mixing Rōnin 2 and we're currently commissioning more remixes for Rōnin 1 which I'm excited to share with you over the coming months.
Again thanks so much for your continued support. We will continue to put as much love and creativity into the work whilst ironing out the issues (especially regarding production) as we navigate the hurdles of the current situation.
With love, James and all at Studio:UNKLE
Seth Troxler and Phil Moffa's Lost Souls of Saturn rework recent single Do Yourself Some Good, taking the track off into the realm of deep cosmic Techno, replete with swirling synths, skittering 909s and vocal samples that appear out of nowhere before reverberating off into the distance. The remixes are available to buy and stream now.
If We Don't Make It has been added to the BBC Radio 6 Music A-List. Thank you to all the fans and DJs for continuing to support the single.
The final drop of Rōnin I merchandise is available now on the Rōnin store. The collection includes tees, hoodies, totes and a limited edition collaboration with Ocean Bottle, available in Obsidian Black and Sun Orange.
The sale of each Ocean Bottle funds the collection of 11.4kg of plastic, equivalent to 1000 plastic bottles and invests in people-powered waste management. Head to the Ocean Bottle website to find out more.
The latest episode of James' Living In My Headphones show is available to listen back now on the Soho Radio Mixcloud.
- Rotary Connection - Respect
- Kathleen Emery - Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
- Les DeMerle - A Day In The Life
- Preacher - Black Moses
- Ghetto Priest - Hercules
- Sisters Love - Gimme Your Love
- Willie Wright - Right On For The Darkness
- Wu-Lu - Times
- Jimmy Abney - Come Go With Me
- Little Simz - Introvert
- UNKLE and Michael Kiwanuka - On My Knees (Rōnin Def Mix)
- Tony Allen - My Own (Feat. Marlowe)
- Czarface, MF Doom, Del The Funky Homosapien - Jason and the Czargonauts
- A Tribe Called Quest - Footprints
- Madison McFerrin - Hindsight
- Sharada Shashidar - Messages
- Depart, Okuma - Reign (Okuma Remix)
- Lukas Lehmann - Juno Cuts A Caper
- Impérieux - Smooth Skinned Prince
- UNKLE - Do Yourself Some Good (Lost Souls of Saturn - Fathers Mix)
Once again we want to apologise for the delays in getting vinyl stock shipped.
On top of the issues with vinyl pressing generally, a late-stage problem with printing the numbering caused Redux to be delayed even further. That said, we are pleased to let you know that Redux finally made it through customs and has now landed at our UK warehouse where it is being prepared for dispatch to customers.
We hope it was worth the wait. We can't wait for you to receive it.
Test Pressings for Rōnin 1 have now arrived and sound great. This means the next stage of manufacturing can now take place. We are printing all artwork and packaging at the same factory, so CDs will be going out at the same time as vinyl. Current indications are that we are now 13 weeks away from when these will ship from the plant.
Thanks so much for bearing with us.
Vol 1, Issue 6 - June 25 2021
Hey, Welcome to issue six of Original Headz.
I'm thrilled to announce we'll be playing Terry Hall's home sessions at Coventry City of Culture in July. This will be our first show since the start of lockdown, especially for those who want to come together and dance into the night - something I've been dreaming of for a long time.
Since the last edition, I have been at home self-isolating, following on from a great trip to Italy. I was working on a soundtrack for a forthcoming Italian computer game set for release next year. I'll keep you posted with more details when I have them, plus some exciting news on the remix front later in July.
One of the benefits of lockdown is that I have had more time to go through my never-ending archive. Slowly going through everything in more detail has allowed me to create more individual archives based on projects and products, specific albums, Mo' Wax, exhibitions, toys, records, paintings - the list goes on.
So we thought it would be good to start sharing some of these amazing memories and historical artefacts and ephemera with you in a new feature called Urban Archeology, below.
Until next time, stay safe and hopefully we'll get some more nice weather!
With love, James and all at Studio:UNKLE
As promised on social media earlier this week, the new drop is now open here. This is a secret link especially for Original Headz subscribers.
This is the first brand new Mo' Wax drop in nearly two years. We decided to give it some love with a puff print and it features some of the classic slogans in Gio Estevez text.
If you're waiting on a merchandise order, t-shirts from Ronin drop 1 are on their way to you right now, and we're getting the parts from drop 2 together as well to ship in the near future.
UNKLE will be playing Terry Hall's Home Sessions as part of the Coventry City of Culture 2021 series, performing one of only two Midnight at the Ruins sessions. The show will take place on Friday 30th July in the beautiful and dramatic setting of the bombed ruins of Coventry Cathedral.
James Lavelle and Steven Weston will be performing a bespoke, site-specific AV show based around UNKLE's critically acclaimed Rōnin mixtape, which was recorded during the lockdown.
The show features exclusive edits and reworks of both classic and new UNKLE tracks, creating an unique journey through club culture.
Texas & Wu-Tang Clan - Hi (UNKLE Reconstruction) - OUT NOW.
"I've always had mad respect for both Texas and the Wu-Tang Clan. I've known Sharleen Spiteri for over 20 years, and I sold the first Wu Tang 12" the weekend it came out on import, when I worked at Honest Jon's Records.
Their records became a massive part of the soundtrack to my early trips to New York in the 90s, and the clubs where I DJ'd like That's How It Is and Dusted. With the remix, I was keen to work with a hip-hop vocal, and to try something new with old skool super disco breaks, combined with electronic production to take the track on a hip hop / club fused hedonistic trip."
Episode XXXV of Soho Radio’s Living In My Headphones is available to stream on Mixcloud now.
- RAMP - Everybody Loves The Sunshine
- Adriano Celentano - L'Unica Chance
- Nuova Compagnia Di Canto Popolare - II° Coro Delle Lavandaie
- Serge Gainsbourg - Bonnie And Clyde (Herbert's Fred & Ginger Remix)
- Quantic - I Won't Fade Away (feat. Alice Russell)
- Not Waving - Last Time Leaving Home Part 2 (feat. Mark Lanegan)
- Martina Topley-Bird - Pure Heart
- The Avalanches - Tonight May Have To Last Me All My Life (MF DOOM Remix)
- Jay Electronica - Exhibit C
- Jungle - Talk About It
- Prequel - I Said I Wasn't Gonna Fall In Love No More
- Steven Weston - The Solent
- Abel Ray - Saudade
- Impérieux - Still Minus
- Rampa - The Church
- Sueño Latino – Sueño Latino (Paradise Mix)
The celebrated DJ mix "Do Androids Dream of Electric Beats" will be uploaded to Mixcloud tomorrow. Follow us there to hear it.
Welcome to the first instalment of Urban Archeology! This is a new feature exclusive to Original Headz, where James will share artefacts and ephemera from both the UNKLE/Mo' Wax archives and his own personal history.
"I've been going through DAT tapes in the last week, and I stumbled upon the first DJ Shadow release 'In/Flux' and 'Hindsight', which brought back floods of memories as it was such an important moment in mine and Mo' Wax's history.
I first discovered Shadow on a trip to LA where I was DJing at Delicious Vinyl's Brass club-night. I was given a 12-inch promo by Zimbabwe Legit on the late Dave Funkenklein's label Hollywood Basic, featuring an unreleased remix sampling Loran's Dance on the B-side. The track (DJ Shadow Legitimate Mix) was truly mind-blowing. This unique cut-and-paste sampling remix, which had pretty much nothing to do with the original, was like a record I'd always wanted to hear!
I then started playing it religiously at That’s How It Is at Bar Rumba as a part of my early-night DJ sets. Here, I was starting to forge a new beat-head sound from all these obscure and underground records I was discovering and collecting. The club was the perfect environment for this new sonic journey, which became the foundation of the Mo' Wax sound, and later became known as trip-hop.
I had tracked DJ Shadow's number down from my friend Albee who worked at Tommy Boy Records in New York. He had worked with Josh and thought we would get on well due to our love of collecting records, and having a different more open-minded hip hop approach. This was at a time when hip hop was very New York-driven, and not so accepting of outside, more alternative influences.
I called Shadow that night and we instantly hit it off, talking for hours about samples, international hip hop records from the UK, Tokyo and beyond, the unreleased Ultra Magnetic MCs and Hijack albums and rare records.
I explained about my new record company Mo' Wax, and how I loved his remix, and would he be interested in making music like that for me. This took him by surprise because at the time there were a lot of New York big beat-style hip hop breaks records coming out, like Kenny Dope, and that's what people expected and wanted him to make rather than appreciating the direction he had been trying out.
Even more to his surprise, I asked him to go deeper and explore that world further, and he agreed and the result of that first conversation was this DAT arriving a few months later at the first Mo' Wax office. We shared the office with Rene Gelston of Black Market Records, Fraser Cooke who was selling Pervert clothing, and music journalist Tony Farsides on the Lillie Road in Fulham.
In the office we had a central sound system, and I remember sitting down on my own that evening and listening to The 8th Wonder hand-drawn DAT of two proposed tracks for our first release.
It was a moment I'll never forget, hearing those two mind-blowing pieces of music. If you're ever lucky enough to truly experience magic, that's what happened that evening. It was like hearing something I wished for my whole life - the perfect soundtrack to my world - something truly extraordinary. There is no feeling quite like it in music.
I recall then cutting it on to acetate and playing it for the first time at That's How It Is, at peak time, and again it was one of those moments when everything freezes; everybody in the club connects on a track. There's no energy quite like it. Gilles Peterson ran over shouting at me, "What the fuck is this!" It was a moment when I knew something special was about to happen - a new sound was in town and things would never be the same again."