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It's a State of Mind

DJ Shadow collaborators Stateless deliver classic debut...

Stateless are not your typical five-piece band - more like the last gang in town. And as their name suggests, they refuse to be pinned down, classed as one thing or the other.

Led by vocalist and guitarist Chris James and turntablist Kidkanevil, and powered by the incredibly tight rhythm section of David Levin's deadly drums, the earthquake-inducing dub basslines of Justin Percival and Rod Buchanan-Dunlop's icy keyboards, they create a unique and disarming sound.

"It's a case of different musical voices just coming together naturally," reckons Kidkanevil. James puts it a little more bluntly: "I think when you get five people who are all very different but all obsessed with music, you're bound to sound a bit weirder than average."

James's haunting voice, somewhere between Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke, caught the ear of DJ Shadow, leading the uber-producer to snag the singer for two tracks on his recent 'The Outsider' opus, and as support for his UK tour in late 2006.

"We worked with producer Jim Abbiss on the first two thirds of our album," explains James. "We were talking a lot with him about Shadow, 'cos we were all really interested in what it was like for Jim mixing 'The Private Press' and the first U.N.K.L.E. record. "When we had some Stateless stuff we were happy with, Jim sent it over to Shadow and a few months later we heard that he loved it. Then he asked if I'd sing on his record, and I think I went into shock for a while. We grew up listening to 'Endtroducing' all the time, so it was crazy for us to all meet him."

These influences have conspired to create the awesome debut album, 'Stateless', out 16th July on Berlin's hip K7 imprint. Immediate highlight 'This Language', featuring Lateef the Truthspeaker, reconciles their hip-hop influences with guest raps and crunchy beats, but allies them to Boards of Canada's electroid atmospherics and soaring strings.

'Radiokiller' rides a cinematic marimba riff with crashing drums and 'Bloodstream' combines bittersweet beats and heart-tugging piano to create a psychedelic ballad of emotional intensity. Next single, 'Prism#1', out 30th July, is perhaps their finest moment, all hyperspeed rhythms and swooning choruses.

Integral to the Stateless sonics are Kidkanevil's contributions in creating beats, FX and scratching.

"I just complain a lot and get us in sample clearance trouble!" the DJ jokes. "But in practical terms, I bring beats, programming, b-boy ideals, sonic booms and turntable tweaks."

With his own excellent album 'Problems and Solutions' out now on First Word, the Stateless crew are set to conquer.