Today, UNKLE drop ‘The Way Back Home’, the first track taken from ‘Rōnin II’, the second in the two-part mixtape project. Following the release of the highly acclaimed ‘Rōnin I’ in March 2021 (which featured the BBC Radio 6Music A-list singles ‘Do Yourself Some Good’ and ‘If We Don’t Make It), August 31st sees the saga continue with the release of ‘Rōnin II’.
“I recorded this over lockdown.’ says polymath James Lavelle. “I always intended the Rōnin project to be two different mix tapes; the first being more like a club DJ set and the second as the post-club follow-up. This mix is a nod to the more soulful, laidback headspace of the Mo’ Wax days with a more contemporary electronica influence.”
This time around, James collaborated with producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Miink, whom he has worked with since 2015. They had recorded vocals together on the last UNKLE two albums, but this time James wanted to focus on his production skills. This felt like the perfect way for them to experiment and rework some older tracks taking them into a different space and to work on some new material.
James said, “Reworking some of the existing music was a way of keeping sane and finding new ways of working during the pandemic when getting into studios physically wasn’t possible. That longing to be out and with people and feel a sense of community made me look in a more club-based direction. Both records in the Rōnin project have allowed me an opportunity to test new ideas and to consider the direction I will take in the future.”
Compiling the series of mixes, James was inspired by his 'That’s How It Is' night, (which he ran with Gilles Peterson at London’s Bar Rumba) digging in the crates and returning to the tracks played there (as well as at the ‘Dusted’ sessions at the Blue Note). “I also used the opportunity to work on some new music,” says James. “Each record contains two brand new recordings where I got to break some habits and experiment with ideas that I had been thinking of for a while.”
Listen to 'The Way Back Home' - BELOW:
The tracks from these studio sessions take the energy from that period in club culture, as well as James' consistent relationship with contemporary dance music, from his residency at Fabric through to his seminal Global Underground and UNKLE: Sounds mixes. They are rooted in classic Mo’ Wax spirit and given a contemporary twist through the use of modern production techniques. ”The records are meant to be like a night out at a party or club from the beginning of the night to the after-hours come down.” explains Lavelle.
The Full Track listing is as follows:
2 The Way Back Home (Rōnin / Original)
3 On My Knees (Rōnin / Revisited)
4 Exodus (Rōnin / Revisited)
5 Farewell (Rōnin / Revisited)
6 Ar.Mour (Rōnin Def Mix)
7 Looking For The Rain (Rōnin Reconstruction)
8 Arm’s Length (Rōnin / Club)
9 Nothing To Give (Rōnin Reconstruction)
10 Sonata (Rōnin Reconstruction )
11 Instability: Closer Than You Will Ever Be (Rōnin / Original)
Formats include multiple vinyl editions as well as CD and cassette and a Studio:UNKLE merch line. Pre-order HERE