Ultimate Bedroom: James Lavelle Curates Haunch of Venison
WORK BY JONAS BUNGAERT
If the impressive track record—DJ and producer and promoter and Mo’Wax label boss— weren’t enough, 36-year-old James Lavelle (also known, familiarly, asUNKLE) unveils his newest artistic adventure this weekend in London. Unexpectedly, for a guy who made his bones peddling that very British genre, ‘trip-hop’ to the masses in the 1990s, through the Mo’Wax label, the man from UNKLE coincides his May release, the collaborative album, Where Did The Night Fall with his debut curatorial project, at the city’s Haunch of Venison gallery.
In “Daydreaming With…,” Lavelle brings together 17 artists for a thoughtful assembly, featuring the work of both long-term Lavelle collaborators and newer associates. Whilst some names will be familiar—Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ del Naja, Mo’Wax’s very own Saul Bass, designer James Drury, maverick director James Glazer—the rest were selected for their sympathy to Lavelle’s personal vision. This initial plan, having artists respond to tracks from the latest UNKLE album soon blossomed into a wider, more holistic approach.
“There are pieces that have been created in response to our new music, some from the last record we put out,” Lavelle tells me, just ahead of the show’s launch. “There are pieces that aren’t related to any specific sound but rather the environment we’re trying to make. I want to find new environments to put music into. Something that felt organic. Working with different people and presenting things in a different way.”
Highlights of the show include a scent by London perfumer Azzi Glasser, puffing out of strategically-placed dispensers about the venue. “We did a thing a couple of years back where she scented the church we played in,” recalls Lavelle. “Here, she made this scent. It evokes late night, water on pavement, an organic urban environment.”
Elsewhere, Lavelle picks up on a couple of very different, fiercely talented painters from the fecund Berlin art scene. German painter Jonas Burgert’s nightmarish, Bosch-like visions led to Lavelle discovering renegade Berlin-based Canadian-Texan painter David Nicholson, whose ‘Cupid’ is a response to a new UNKLE track featuring Mark Lanegan.
“My big discovery in Berlin was Jonas Burgert,” says Lavelle “And then I saw David’s stuff and I really liked it. I mean, what I got from his pictures—it felt like a country song to me.” The project is due to continue and expand into next year. Lavelle plans more work, more curators. For now, Lavelle is optimistic about the new intimacy his inaugural foray into the art world provides: It’s like my ultimate bedroom if I could have one—you know what I mean?”
“DAYDREAMING WITH… JAMES LAVELLE OPENS AUGUST 27, OPEN THROUGH AUGUST 30. HAUNCH OF VENISON IS LOCATED AT 6 BURLINGTON GARDENS, LONDON.