By Tricia Laine
Updated October 12, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Taking inspiration from K-tel as much as from hip-hop, DJ Shadow returns — under a nom de studio with British label head and producer James Lavelle — with a wildly varied set of song-oriented collaborations. UNKLE dabble in icy folk, break-beat metal, computer-age psychedelia (with the Verve’s Richard Ashcroft), and dehydrated Radiohead (courtesy of a spooky cameo by Thom Yorke). Filler drifts in as well (a stalled rap-metal piece with Mike D and Metallica’s Jason Newsted), but the best bits — the Portishead-with-guts “Bloodstain” or the instrumental “UNKLE Main Title Theme” — are like a soundtrack for a surreal, melancholy art film that exists in Shadow’s and Lavelle’s heads.