'Grow Slow', the debut album from DJ Vadim and Ghanaian vocalist Sena may have taken ten years to create, but in the few short months since the record’s release, it’s quickly become something of a classic. Surely one of the LP’s highlights, the dubby, reggae infused, slo-mo dancehall skank known as ‘Boneshaker’ get the remix treatment here from a group of BBE’s most exciting new artists.
Opening the package, French production maestro DJ Oil’s version is moody, dense and ever so slightly unsettling, best described as psychedelic afro-trip-hop. Definitely one for the heads. Up next, one of the most prolific underground artists on the planet right now, Australian beat-fanatic Inkswel brings the breaks with his yet floaty yet driving uptempo hip hop remix. Mr Bird’s bouncy, genre-defying ‘Afrodubhop’ rework introduces live scratching and heavy drums, not to mention truly inspired vocal treatments; a guaranteed party starter. Last, but by no means least, Tricky D dubs the vocal out to within an inch of its life over a storming reggae track, moving the original horns to the forefront and adding some fantastic live percussion.
Vadim & Sena’s bone-shaking album ‘Grow Slow’ is out now on BBE.
Some things improve with time and experience like internet speeds or smartphones. Some movie sequels are better than the original, think more ‘the empire strikes back’ than ‘Jaws 2’. And so comes the bold musical sequal to the last Dj Vadim aka ,Daddy Vad solo album - Dubcatcher 2 Wicked My Yout - This is vadim’s 11th official album. yes 11. quite incredible these days considering most people’s attention span is similar to a mosquito.
"I am not reggae, I am me. I am bigger than the limits that are put on me. It all has to do with the individual journey."
- Ziggy Marley
This is high grade stuff, hip hop with an experimental, world music edge. But don't let that put you off; it's an entertaining and varied treat, leftfield music of the most listenable variety.
One Self's driving force is Russian born DJ Vadim.The MCs featuredinclude American Blu Rum 13 and Yarah Bravo. The band's lack of regard for geographical restrictions is echoed in the music. Vadim helps himself to Shakuhachi flute from Japan and flamenco guitar from Spain. The overriding influence, however, is Indian.
Album opener "Fear the Labour" balances a lyrical message of hard work and discipline with a suggestion of eastern mysticism courtesy of haunting chants and sitars. On instrumental track "SD2" tablas flicker like candlelight.
DJ Vadim's production is as polished as his sources are broad, and Blu Rum 13's gravel-voiced flow and intelligent lyrics ooze confidence.
Children of Possibility is wilfully high brow. Vadim's production is ambitious, and and Blu Rum 13, Yarah rarely use a short word where a long one will do. Pretentious, in a good way!
All work and no play can be a very dull indeed yet The Sound Catcher isn't just about hard work. Its everything you’ve come to expect from the 4 weetabix a day powerhouse DJ/producer/musical incendiary and so much more: unpredictable with touches of disco and tubby-esque dub moments, varied with brushes of blues, soul and rap , urban grime bedlam with double time bounce and ambitious combining so many influences and yet making it feel like they all fit. Without doubt a major step forward from his last solo LP(the art of listening 2002 ninja tune), new, funkafied bop.
Right from the start formality is thrown out the window along with the textbook instructions on How To Be a Hip-Hop DJ. Its quite clear Vadim is intent on the serious business of having a good time more than sticking to any genre. Preconceptions will not be tolerated and the only option is to surrender to his unique vision of outer space soul music. Refreshingly simple but yet somewhat seasoned and developed, The Sound catcher is about ‘songs' . Less 'produced' or 'complex and abstract' than some earlier outings, songs flow throughout that would make many a major label A&R exec proud but yet retain an indie rawness and a nod to Vadim's past that even the most mixtape laden backpackers internetters could feel.
The new album presents straight shots of classic soul (‘Black Is The Night’ f/ Kathrin DeBoer), charged MC-driven wake-up calls (‘Ballistic Affairs’ f/ Skinnyman) and dense, dubby instrumentals (‘Manchester’; ‘SD4’). The dark grooves of ‘Talk To Me’ reference Gwen McCrae’s ‘90% Of Me Is You’; ‘Fear’ and ‘Watch That Sound’ delve into the 80's 'Steely and Cleavie reggae/ dancehall revival whilst classic rap informs ‘Got To Rock’ and the sly, infectious ‘Soundcatchers’ with stalwart West Coast MC Abstract Rude.
Throw in the mystical Timbaland-esque ‘Like The Wind’ and the deep, slow burn of ‘Sufferin’ Blues’ and it adds up to a wholly fulfilling seventy minute experience. Stylistically leagues away from drab contemporary rap, The Sound Catcher is a bold and winning hybrid of 21st century hip-hop soul hot stepping it up into 6th gear.
2nd single from DJ Vadim's "Don't Be Scared" album features Essex soulman Greg Blackman on vocals, his mighty voice alongside Vadim's trademark use of synthesisers and progressive drum beats. I'm Feelin' U works to create a series of upbeat vibes, guaranteed to up the ante of any aspiring DJ's set. As well as a host of remixes, also included in this package is a brand new track featuring Greg & Pugs Atomz.
Coming in a long line of esteemed ground breaking British soul artists from Loose Ends, Soul2Soul, Spacek, Omar, to Amy Winehouse, Hartley & Wolfe grab the baton in creating something quite unique, different and new. Not quite R’n’B or neo soul, not quite American ‘urban’ or electronica .... perhaps more working man’s soul in sound but yet ticks a lot of musical boxes at the same time. Think Isley Brothers meets Rick James in terms of vocal delivery. Raspy deep felt, weathered classic soul with a big voice meets intergalactic pimped out grooves with bass-lines that would make Lee Scratch Perry’s Upsetters proud!
This is music that definitely gives a nod to the old school but this is not a retro throwback workout nor is it the work of soul novices. Just like a fine wine fermenting its flavors over time Greg & Vadim have been hard at work with Nightmares On Wax, Utah Saints, Featurecast, Horace Andy, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Fat Freddys Drop, amongst others in preparation of this moment. In an era where so many vocalists seem to be dumbing down their sound and content, Hartley&Wolfe is quite the opposite. “Bespoke Future” is an album about life rejection, love failure, political misendeavors and also most importantly it’s fun, catchy and quite possibly may brew up a storm on a dance floor near you soon. Quite simply an accomplished, musical Scud Missile of pure enjoyment.