Christian Bale playing Moses parting the Red Sea in the fall feature film “Exodus: Gods and Kings”? Amateur hour.
For a real prophet, here's the UK's DJ Vadim, on his upcoming set of “Dubcatcher” upstairs at Elbo Room this weekend: “I'm going to move the Earth,” Vadim says on the phone on tour. “It's going to the parting of the Red Sea on the dance floor. People are going to be blown away.”
An international ambassador of peace and bass, the veteran Vadim has hit 45 countries this year, and Sunday he sets up his turntables in the Mission in support of the LP “Dubcatcher.”
“Dubcatcher” catches Vadim in “pure and organic” reggae mode, a reaction to mindless, tear-out dubstep. The Russian-born, London-raised producer made his name in the mid-1990s on Ninja Tune, an electronic label.
“I just got all washed out by all the glitchy, wonky sounds. I just want to go back to pure bass, and pure vibes. I don't want to have a mash of effects,” he says. “There's a lot of people out there who are turning more towards reggae. You still get the bass, and it feels better listening to organic music with live horns, bass and keyboard.”
“Dubcatcher” is an exemplar of artisanal, top-shelf modern reggae and dub, with guests Gappy Ranks, Dynamite MC, Demolition Man, Governor Tiggy and vocalist Katrina Blackstone. Blackstone joins Vadim Sunday with DJ Sep, part of the Bay Area's award-winning, longest-running dub night, Dub Mission.
Constant touring gives Vadim rare insight into world affairs and music trends, and he doesn't hold back. Just back from Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Morocco, he says the Middle East is “beautiful” and less dangerous than the U.S. media portrays it.
Inside those countries, TV stations “portray the same image about where you're from.”
The Leningrad-born Vadim says Russia is regressing into a “totalitarian, authoritarian system,” but the U.S. has its issues, too, with the National Security Agency having powers Lenin couldn't have dreamed of: “It's only going to get worse. You're going to need to have a license to breathe,” he says.
Consequently, reggae's 40 year-old message of hope, peace and liberation resonates louder than ever. He adds: “There is an alternative to the s—– lives the system has given us.”
IF YOU GO
headlining Dub Mission with Katrina Blackstone, DJ Sep
Where: Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $8 to $11
Contact: (415) 552-7788, www.elbo.com