Where Did The Night Fall
Being that it is one of the pioneering groups in trip-hop, UNKLE has the right to bend – and break – the rules. It trail-blazed one scene and now appears to be working on yet another. Let’s call it psych-hop. The British DJs are back to work with their latest full-length, Where Did The Night Fall, an album that is sure to win over new fans just as it will likely alienate others. Do note: for fans who wish to hear another Psyence Fiction, don’t get your hopes up; it’s not happening.
Like it or not, UNKLE is moving on and progressing just as the majority of musicians inevitably do. Where Did The Night Fall takes a definite step towards the indie and psychedelic genres, while remaining grounded in electronic roots. The production is finely polished, even when the tracks melt into mushy abstractions. Furthermore, the vibe from track to track varies due to the wide range of influences. Everything from acoustic to punk to experimental electronica pops up along the way, giving the listener a sampling of UNKLE’s talent in each realm.
Oh by the way, the DJs get some help throughout the album from notable musicians and instrumentalists. Los Angeles space rockers Autolux drop by on the ironically titled “Joy Factory,” which is actually rather melancholy (yet delightful nonetheless). Clayhill singer Gavin Clark returns to lend his vocals to two tracks, “Falling Stars” and “The Healing.” Other guests include Sleepy Sun, The Black Angels, Joel Cadbury and Mark Lanegan. With such a large number of features, UNKLE ties together the album rather well, ensuring that the entire hour is full of trippy, psychedelic music. It may indeed, be fitting to call this psych-hop.
For the most part the album holds up rather well. At times the vocals merely hide among the instrumentation, becoming an added instrumental layer rather than substantive lyrics. However, that may very well be by design, adding to the exotic nature of the record. There are no absolute standouts as on past albums, but that is okay. Where Did The Night Falls is less concerned with purity of individual songs, and more focused on the audible aesthetics produced by its eerie experiments in sound. And for that, UNKLE has another winner on its hands.