One Self

    Children of Possibilities


    DJ Vadim is one of the most respected artists in the Ninja Tune stable, and justifiably so. Over the course of his ten-year career, Vadim has risen in status at the world’s premiere deejay label, and now he has created his own hip-hop group, a trio consisting of himself, MC Blu Rum13 and Yarah Bravo, a Swedish singer/emcee of Chilean/Brazilian descent. After two appetite-whetting singles, the group has created one of the year’s more satisfying full-lengths, combining the mellow experimentation of Vadim’s work with two above-average vocalists giving sugary-smooth performances.


    Opener “Fear the Labour” sets the instrumental tone: minimal and Eastern tinged. A sitar dominates as Blu Rum13 gives his best performance on the album. He’s a love-him-or-hate-him emcee in a lot of ways. Sometimes his voice sounds a little mannered (or lazy), but most of the time it’s quite soothing. Bravo’s voice is better: soulful, filled with non-aggressive attitude and, above all, playful. They both come over well, but on fantastic tracks such as “Bluebird” and “Over Expose,” she’s particularly commanding.


    Not that Vadim isn’t without his own triumphs. “Be Your Own” is genuinely strange, with rising and falling vocal samples and sparse drum kicks that make the whole track shimmer. It’s a funky bubble of a groove, and it gets under your skin in the best way music that will never pop can. Along with the sitars, Vadim draws on flutes and strings to give the record a distinctly Eastern European/Asian feel. The Russian-born musician has never shied away from his roots, and this is no different; even a song as seemingly basic as “Bluebird” takes on a certain exoticism under his command.


    Children of Possibilities is an album to grow on, but it’s also an album whose rewards become immediately apparent to even the most casual Ninja Tune listener. The label has always been drawn toward the more relaxed music in its genre, and this record is no exception. The key to its success is that it doesn’t sacrifice its innovation for that good down-home vibe, making it somewhat akin to Foreign Exchange’s solid record last year and an excellent recommendation for the expansion of any down-tempo collection.



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