Over the last decade few people can have put so much time and energy into the culture they love. Founder of Jazz Fudge in early 1995, A&R, producer, DJ, promoter, record collector, radio presenter, occasional painter, writer, and in-house producer/dj and cohort of Latin Grammy nominees, Spanish hip hop super group 7 Notas 7 Colorez, Vadim has certainly been keeping himself busy. And that's before we even mention his DJing itself which has seen him perform in virtually every country in Europe(east and west), all over North America, Australia, New Zealand. Japan, Israel, Turkey, South America and South East Asia in just the last year. He has also performed with the likes of DJ Krush, Company Flow, The Roots, Pharcyde, Public Enemy, Beat Junkies, Dilated Peoples, Kraftwerk, supported Super Furry Animals, Morcheeba and Paul Weller as well as at events like Glastonbury and the Moscow Street Ball festival (to over 60,000 people!).
To describe the man as an internationalist almost seems to sell him short. In 1992, the Russian ex-pat bought a sampler and started working on the music that would become Abstract hallucinating Gases and Headz ain't ready. Later in the year he signed to Ninja Tune which culminated in his debut LP USSR Repertoire. From these early recordings came a remix LP USSR Reconstruction featuring DJ krush, Kid Koala, Mark B, Silent Poets, various 12" both for Ninja Tune and Jazz Fudge, a mix tape and CD with DJ Primecuts ( world ITF champ 99 and Scratch Pervert). In 1999 came the abstract funk collaboration LP of The Isolationist produced by vadim, scratched by DJ Primecuts and vocalised by anti pop consortium. Relentless international tours followed with Swollen Members/Company Flow/ Jazz Fudge....and the purchase of yet more dusty vinyl's to tha already burdening collection.
Time for some Russian Percussion
This all culminated in the very successful last LP USSR: Life from the other side (Ninja Tune 1999). The LP featured Co Flow, Scratch perverts,Iriscience(from dilated peoples), Blade amongst others and caused quite a storm in USA with the track ?your revolution' featuring Sarah Jones. This song was banned by the FCC (USA radio regulators) for explicit and provocative lyrics, despite Jones actually satirising the attitudes and words of the mainstream rap and r&b that could be heard pumping out of the radio every day.
To promote that LP, Vadim put together a live group - The Russian Percussion - consisting of Mr thing(turntables), killer kela(beat box), Blu rum 13(mc), John Ellis(Keyboards) and himself. The response to the group was amazing and they performed together in over 600 shows in about 45 countries including most of Europe and North America.
Feeling tired yet? Hang on in there. 2001 saw even more dj'g, production and actually presenting, for the very first time.... The BBC commissioned 3 radio shows including the very successful Sony award nominated programme ?around the world in 8 relays'. Tours followed with Sarah Jones, Killa Kela, as support and collaborator for Super furry Animals and Spanish and South American tours with 7 notas 7 Colorez which resulted in the group being nominated by the Latin grammies for best Latin Hip Hop group.
The Art of Listening is born
"...Listening" has all of the angular abstractions of Vadim's earlier work, but here it is combined with a new depth of musicality, a love of bass and an interest in music and words from around the world. So, alongside UK MCs like Taskforce and Phi Life Cipher and the cream of US underground wordspitters like Slug, Gift of Gab, Moshun Man and Vakill can be found Polish jazz legend Urzula Dudziak (a favoured sample source for A Tribe Called Quest back in the day), Gruff from Super Furry Animals, Brazilian Swedish mistress of poetic innovation Yarah Bravo Ade Soma and the Revd Clevie Brown.
Tablas and djembe drums mix with Japanese flutes, Brazilian guitars, spoken word, obscure scratched sound bites and a definite UK street sound incorporating hints of jungle bass and drums, all build the whole into something unusual and special.
It makes for a heady mixture, a record which Vadim describes as "a very grown up but cheeky and extremely musical album." Urban but experimental, fresh and different, this record goes beyond not only what he has done before, but beyond much of today's hip hop. With its global view of music, it's new emphasis on soul, its concrete feel for the aesthetic of the sample, "The Art Of Listening" is funny, serious, unique.
The super group ONE SELF
All of this transports us to 2005 and vadim hasn't been idle! Something new has been brewing in East London and it isn't grime or the smell of Indian curry. Cosmopolitan, diverse, colourful, loud and definitely not middle of the road, perhaps an ideal setting for this debut international hip hop crew. After circumnavigating the globe more times than NASA collectively these artists individually are not new to this game but what better place is there to meet and fuse 3 continents together to create an album soaked in the richness of each of their backgrounds and musical upbringing. Oneself is born. However this is not what you might of expected. This is something a little different, more progressive, united, cohesive and perhaps is a re-birth.
One Self are:
DjVadim, Yarah Bravo and Blu rum 13
Can one man be any more productive? Well the 4 weetabix-a-day powerhouse has much more to come. Already cemented are productions for UK spitters Dark Circle, Foreign Beggars, Aspects and Kela as well as hot new Parisian super crew Bunzen, upcoming Latin lyrical reggae giant Paco Mendoza..... Music for Absolut Vodka. News of a 7 notas 7 colores reunion, a new DJ Vadim LP - Same Different(coming out on Ninja Tune beginning 2006) and countless other productions and remixes dropping somewhere soon. Can it all be good? One thing's for sure whether it's Flamenco hip hop, Arabian space funk, Lettuce propelled rockets, new Vad reggae alias Junior Rankin or instro funk shiznitz Blixton Rodriguez, quality is guaranteed. Hip hop but also so much more.
For some period of time there were really 4 main underground hip-hop dj's / producers - DJ Cam (France), DJ Krush (Japan), DJ Shadow (USA) and DJ Vadim (UK). Here's DJ Vadim bio, taken from his personal site djvadim.com.