DJ Vadim The Art of Listening

When DJ Vadim dropped his debut record, U.S.S.R. Repertoire, a few years back for Ninja Tune he had heads scratching all over the globe - wondering what was going on in the Russian hip-hop scene that would produce such an eerie yet beautiful sound. When it was time for his sophomore effort, Life on the Other Side, it was a bit of a change for fans when an MC accompanied Vadim on almost every track - forfeiting his bizarre instrumental structure. The Art of Listening is building on top of his last effort and the Russian DJ ropes in the likes of Gift of Gab from Blackalicous and Slug to craft a far more diverse record. With varied MCs taking the mic, Vadim is allowed to switch up his beats to accommodate their flows and the end result is quite stunning at times. Taking over the role of Sarah Jones as the songstress to lace lush vocals over Vadim's hip-hop production is the stunning Yarah Bravo. Her slinky spoken word stands strong alongside one of the finer cuts Vadim drops, "The Pacifist" - hypnotising the listener into a neck-snapping trance. Slug is given the duty of closing out the album, with the oddly-titled "Edie Brikell," and doesn't fail with his superior rhyming skills set to a slow pace and horn section. It still might not be as intriguingly abstract as his earliest work, but changing from a straight-ahead hip-hop record such as Life on the Other Side was to a more multi-layered experience is a welcomed path for Vadim to travel. (Ninja Tune)