Music without borders 

Faux Russian DJ embraces a vintage vinyl future

Who : DJ Vadim featuring Yarah Bravo and First Rate, with Insides Out

Where : Garfinkel’s

When : Sunday, Oct. 12

Tickets : $10

He’s a Brit who was born in Russia, produces Spanish hip-hop and married a Brazilian-Swede of Chilean descent. And right now, he’s on the 101 heading up from San Francisco to Eureka, Calif., en route to Canada.

Life with DJ Vadim is a life without borders.

Yet if you had to pin a nationality on Vadim, it might as well be his enigmatic Russian DJ persona. Choosing to identify with the country he left at four years old has made him the Rasputin of electronica. He titled a recent album U.S.S.R — the Art of Listening (Ninja Tune), and he frequently collaborates with a group he named the ‘Russian Percussion,’ even though the members are a mixed ethnic bag.

But it’s less a desire to actually be Russian and more a fascination with the country’s mystique that inspires Vadim.

"It’s not the place that my ideas come from, but I like the symbolism of somewhere else other than the U.K. or Western Europe, or North America for people to think about," says the quick-witted turntablist.

"I like the idea of when you talk about Russia, people don’t know too much about it. It’s kind of an unknown entity. And that’s what, in a sense, I like to bring into my music, a kind of mysticism. You can’t read me like an open book."

At the present Vadim is on his way up the American West Coast along with cohort DJ First Rate of Scratch Pervert and Morcheeba fame, and MC/vocalist/wife and "Mistress of Poetic Invention" Yarah Bravo. The crew will appear here on Sunday night, another chance to thrill the Whistler crowd with a session of sly grooves garnished with Bravo’s verbal stylings. It’s only been six months since Vadim and Co. were up this way, and for fans of progressive hip-hop, it’s been a long, long wait. However, the incessantly touring DJ has packed a lot into those six months, including a trip to his spiritual homeland.

He likes playing Russia, he says. "People are very passionate. They get up and dance and shout and scream and get really drunk. It’s pretty groovy."

Passion is something Vadim gets behind. It’s kept him in the DJ game for over a decade now, but he has no intention of slowing down, selling out or cashing in. He’s still striving to innovate and intends to avoid settling for the easy route.

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