DJ Vadim

With the Youngblood Brass Band. Saturday, October 25, at the Grog Shop.

Aesop Rock, with Mr. Lif, Murs, and others Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights 10 p.m. Sunday, October 26, $15, 216-321-5588
It's no secret that home-grown hip-hop is the rule in the U.S., even though much of it -- from the mainstream to the underground -- is riddled with lyrical clichés and tired beats. Globally, on the other hand, you'll find plenty of hip-hop artists experimenting with rhythm, samples, and unusual cadences and subject matter. They still pay homage to hip-hop's African American roots, but they do it by honoring the form's original dedication to innovative expression rather than mimicking the past with fat ropes, fat laces, and fat Bronx accents.

Of the dynamic new international breed, England-by-way-of-Russia's DJ Vadim is at the top of the heap, having dropped one of the best hip-hop albums in the world, last year's U.S.S.R.: The Art of Listening (Ninja Tune). Although Vadim's initial mid-'90s releases pegged him as an abstract, pomo turntablist, The Art of Listening features numerous skilled rappers fleshing out his tapestries of exotic instruments and clever beats. The result is intricate, inventive, and accessible, and embodies everything that's ever been great about hip-hop. Same goes for Vadim's live show -- though he can certainly wow a crowd with his turntable prowess, it's less about scratch-a-thons than it is about one world under a bad-ass groove.

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