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USSR: Life from the Other Side

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Album Review

DJ Vadim's debut introduced one of the world's best producers in abstract underground rap, a minimalist hip-hopper able to weave a funky break around the slightest piece of noise detritus. After recording a solid remix album (U.S.S.R. Reconstruction), Vadim returned in late 1999 with the sophomore-slump-breaking U.S.S.R.: Life From the Other Side. Whereas with his first album Vadim worked on a miniature scale, constructing breaks and beats out of abstract noise, here the sound is more upfront and swaggering, much closer to the commercial rap world than before. (Of course, thanks to producers like Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, the commercial rap world had moved much closer to Vadim, as well.) Since he's working with rappers on more than half of the tracks here, Vadim transforms himself from a solo turntablist into a genuine rap trackmaster with catchier riffs and tighter beats than most in Britain's instrumental hip-hop underground. Two tracks, "Viagra" (with El-P from Company Flow) and "English Breakfast" (with Swollen Members), display this excellent fusion by blending the hard-hitting, stutter-stepped style of production perfected by DJ Premier with just a few of the paranoid breaks and hostile atmospheres of Vadim's debut. On a similarly high level as landmarks like Dr. Octagon and Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus, U.S.S.R.: Life From the Other Side proves Vadim is not only one of the most creative turntablist/producers, but he is also one of the most talented trackmasters in the healthy rap underground.


Born: Russia

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Hip-hop's influence spread far and wide during the '80s, as witnessed by the growth of the international scene during the following decade. Standing beside brilliant DJs from Japan (Krush) and France (Cam), Russia's DJ Vadim has proved to be the most popular advocate of hip-hop to come out of the former Soviet bloc, triggered mostly by the fact that he moved to Britain early in life. Upon arrival, he set up his own Jazz Fudge Records to issue a demo he called Derelicts of Conformity (by Son of Seth)....
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USSR: Life from the Other Side, DJ Vadim
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