Ugly Duckling Fresh Mode EP

Russian-born producer DJ Vadim presides over this project, bringing his brand of abstract hip-hop down some new paths. With this release he has recruited a wide and varied guest list that all add to his personal vibe, rather than directing attention away from him. Quirky instrumentals, turntable dynamics and Vadim’s unconventional approach ensure that even those with short attention spans will stay tuned. Highlights include “Viagra” with El-P of Company Flow and affiliate BMS, “Your Revolution,” the scathing spoken word delivered by acclaimed griot Sarah Jones and “Friction” with Iriscience of Dilated Peoples. The guests aren’t only from the U.S. — Swollen Members also appear, along with the UK’s Blade, DJ Primecuts and Skinnyman from the Roots Manuva-approved crew Mud Family. While some of Vadim’s excursions can verge on the border of self-indulgence and simply don’t work, his list of far-flung collaborators and willingness to experiment make Life On the Other Side worth checking out. (1500 Records)