James Lavelle has enjoyed, or perhaps endured, a music career that bears no exact parallels elsewhere in the business. And yet, as told by the often scattered, sometimes exhausting yet ultimately quite insightful documentary “Artist & Repertoire,” it’s hard to find a more vivid symbol for the tumultuous turnovers of the record business over the past three decades. As the teenage DJ prodigy-turned-label-owner-turned-London scenester-turned-creative nucleus of electronic-music act UNKLE, Lavelle displayed a restless, collaborative artistic promiscuousness that prefigured much of contemporary “curator” culture, while his high-flying lifestyle and ambitious label deals already seem like ancient relics of a fatter bygone age. Weaving together a dizzying array of archival material and previously unseen personal home movies, director Matthew Jones never quite cracks the man behind the music, but he nonetheless offers an appropriately hyperactive snapshot of a colorful era.
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