DJ Vadim | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

DJ Vadim 

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Vadim Peare's reputation as Russia's premier trip-hop DJ is a little misleading--not only did he come of age in Britain, but some of his more experimental tracks are too discordant to really bunk down with the rest of that snoozy genre. Like many non-Anglo turntablists, Vadim is attracted to a cool internationalist funk that even acid-jazz fans have been known to groove to, but he's got the wit and dexterity to chop it up into something just as suited to spazzier sensibilities. He's collaborated more frequently with MCs on each successive album, and last year's U.S.S.R.: The Art of Listening (Ninja Tune) has raps on all but one track. Vadim responds to whoever's on the mike, and plenty of his guests--particularly Gift of Gab on "Combustible" and Atmosphere's Slug on "Edie Brikell"--are mouthy enough to disrupt his groove in interesting ways. Stereo Pictures Volume 3, Vadim's new mix disc on his Jazz Fudge label, is as good an intro to his aesthetic as you'll find. He shows great taste in selecting underground hip-hop cuts, his shifting bass lines chatter wryly at the bottom of each track, and he's omnivorous when it comes to far-flung global polyrhythms. (I'd like to hear more DJs work with African music as adeptly as he does here.) His skittish miniatures and spoken-word samples ("Communism is a religion--communism is the religion of the devil") are definitely in the vein of Ninja Tune comic pastiche, but he sets himself apart from his primarily instrumentalist colleagues by consistently proving that a canny DJ can surrender the spotlight to an MC while still maintaining his creative identity. Friday, October 24, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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