Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Russian producer DJ Vadim and Portland sample splicer Tyler Tadlock.
Listed: DJ Vadim + Spirituals
Over the past decade and a half, Russian born producer/musician DJ Vadim has traveled the globe performing a blend of hip-hop and musical soundscapes. The DJ Vadim sound, if one could call it that, combines elements from Asian, African and even South American music alongside subtle elements of roots reggae and heavy bass to create genre-pushing beats. His latest collaboration, The Electric, brings together a trio that mixes the soulful U.K. singer Sabira Jade and Chicago MC Pugs Atomz. For someone who is known for culling from a decidedly diverse background, our Listed feature must have been a daunting task. Luckily, Vadim was up to the challenge.
“This was very hard list to make and compress my musical taste down to 10 life-changing albums. These are not in order!!! Oh dear. So hard. It should be a list of top 1,000 albums instead. Also there are many great pivotal songs made by artists who may have released many albums and through various albums make legendary status, but perhaps don’t’ have any one album that is perfection — Teddy Pendergrass, Bobby Womack, Parliament/George Clinton, ATCQ, Metro Area, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, Jay Z, Outkast, Jill Scott, Damian Marley, Nas, Daft Punk, Fela Kuti…”
1. Common - Like Water For Chocolate
Just an amazing combo of Comm and J Dilla. Fresh ideas, music like no other and still sounds amazing 12 or so years on... years ahead of their time.
2. Fat Freddy’s Drop - Based On A True Story
When I saw them live in 2005, it was like an epiphany. Everything fell into place; I understood music finally. It’s like the greatest mix of my favorite music — reggae, hip-hop and soul.
3. Talib Kweli & Hi-TekReflection Eternal
Ground-breaking album full of depth and passion. It inspired me to produce and create. Timeless really.
4. Erykah Badu - Mama’s Gun
Her second album. It blew me away slowly. Mix of live instrumentation and studio-based productions … a melding of two worlds.
5. Bob Marley - Legend
Most influential person of the 20th century according to Time magazine. He is perhaps the world’s most famous singer, even more famous than Michael Jackson. Whereas Michael had the pop hits, Marley spoke to the people, the poor, impoverished, down-trodden worldwide. From favelas in Brazil to Thailand, New Zealand, Africa… I love all sides of reggae from revival, ska, digital to slackness but my favorite is conscious stuff like Marley.
6. Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
I saw him live last year in Berlin. Blew me away. Amazing show, amazing stories, and what a timeless voice.
7. Portishead - Dummy
When this came out, it was like I was hit in the face with a musical smelling salts. Incredible. “Numb,” “Strangers,” “Wondering Star” … I can have this on repeat forever!!
8. James Brown - Mind Power
Apart from being one of the most sampled artists, James is the creator of the backbeat. He was an icon to a generation. “I’m black and I’m proud” — he was able to mix social commentary with getting down. Where would modern music be without James? Surely far less funky.
9. Max Romeo - War Ina Babylon
Do I need to say anything about this? Sampled by everyone from Prodigy to Jay Z. The bedrock of so many modern classics. This is the foundation. Legendary.
10. Roots Manuva - Slime N Reason
Had to put some U.K. stuff in here. Not sure if this is the best album, but Roots Manuva is a colossal character, molding reggae and hip hop together with grime.
One of the really interesting things about the Listed feature, and seeing two musicians, especially those who work with the same basic frame work (i.e. guitars or samplers or jazz or what have you), is that you start to see deeper into the why and how of the way their music is made. Tyler Tadlock, a.k.a. Spirituals, is a fairly new producer/musician with a record out on Waaga Records. Spirituals’ music is built upon samples, and like Vadim, it is deeply influenced by the music chosen for this feature. Where Vadim shows his underpinnings of roots and ragga, Spirituals’ list reveals the influence jazz had on his electronic productions.
1. Nine Inch Nails - The Perfect Drug remixes
A friend of mine was playing it in his car when I was in high school and it blew my mind. It was the first electronic music I ever really got into, but wasn’t quite techno, and wasn’t quite that angry Nine Inch Nails sound either. There was a clean, sort of peaceful soundtrack-like piano melody with a strong drum ‘n’ bass beat behind it and it made something that really moved me, in a way jolting me out of listening to only guitar-bass-and-drums rock music that I had grown up on.
2. John Coltrane - Live At Birdland
When I was a junior in high school, I decided I wanted to get into jazz, at the time not really knowing what that meant. So I got one of those Very Best of Coltrane comps and heard the recording of "Afro Blue" from Live At Birdland. I nearly drove off the road when I heard that feedback-like squeal that comes in just after McCoy Tyner’s pounding solo around four and half minutes in. Coltrane’s harshness coupled with Elvin Jones’ John Bonham-like banging around was enough to tear apart any preconception I had about jazz.
3. Four Tet - Rounds
This record opened me up to a lot. I wasn’t sure if what I was hearing had been played or programmed, but it didn’t matter. It was beautifully done and I wanted to hear more like it. I’m really into the idea that technology and computers have changed music in a great way. It’s so easy these days to have access to such a variety of sounds coming from a variety of places, to be able to modify them or reintroduce them into different environments seems to create something new. Kieran Hebden was one of the first producers I heard that took that idea and ran with it.
4. Questions In Dialect - As You May Know, There Can Be No Way Of Looking This Far Ahead
One of the best live bands I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. When I was about 17, I saw them play at this little corner storefront building known then as the C.L.B. and it was mind-blowing. It was one of the first times I was exposed to people making energetic instrumental music, at a time when all I knew was whatever was on mainstream radio. It was liberating to see musicians experimenting with old movie clips and weird effects and things. Going to those shows unarguably impacted how I view music early on.
5. Roscoe Mitchell - Sound
My first year in college I was just dipping my toe into jazz drumming and free improvisation. I first met Alvin Fielder at an art and sound improv put on at my drawing instructor’s studio. Alvin was one of the only local jazz legends we had around town. He’s an inspiration to anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him. He’s played drums with Sun Ra, Roscoe Mitchell, Kidd Jordan, Fred Anderson, and a ton of others. It was hard to pick a single recording from Alvin, but every time I hear his work on "Sound," it’s like he’s playing his own self-portrait.
6. Don Caballero - American Don
Upon first listen, I was initially impressed by the drumming of Damon Che. After a few solid listens to this record, I began noticing how they have a tendency to juxtapose all of these subtle, intimate moments in the music, where you can hear the crackling of a guitar amp for instance, with the more high energy, chaotic math-rock moments. I really enjoy that kind of attention to dynamics.
7. J Dilla - Ruff Draft
It’d be hard to go through a list like this and not mention Dilla. Somehow he was able to find that one spot in a song that would make the strongest, most aggressive beat, and he did so simply by looping it. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ruff Draft lately, again, and every time I come back to anything Dilla, I’m reminded of just how ahead of the game he was.
8. Claudia Quintet - For
I saw John Hollenbeck at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and it was one of the most influential nights of my life. His control and creativity as a drummer and composer is really inspiring to me. He is probably my favorite composer alive today. His music has these unsettling strains of dissonance, while somehow maintaining something seemingly concise. This album from start to finish is breathtaking.
9. Pépé Bradock - Deep Burnt
House music was admittedly hard for me to get into until hearing this track. Sometimes you need to slow things down and give music your full-on attention. Music made for the club isn’t made for instant gratification. It requires time to pull you in and let it develop and unfold. I made a connection with Deep Burnt two summers ago while walking my dog around my neighborhood. This one is a classic.
10. James Holden - The Idiots Are Winning
I love every single sound produced on this record. I hear something new with each listen. Listening to this a lot in the past several years has gotten me to try a lot of new things with creating sounds electronically, using things like synthesizers and drum machines, instead of only sticking to sampled recorded sounds. A lot of times, electronic music can come across artificial, but this record has the same energy as a live jazz performance.
By Dusted Magazine