On Friday April 16, two of the most respected electronic music producers on planet Earth will come together under one roof to rub out borders and push the limits of Mighty’s storied soundsystem. Mad Professor is the dub scientist behind more than 200 releases and longtime tour work with Massive Attack and Lee Scratch Perry. DJ Vadim is the Russia-born globetrotting trip hop genius whose resume reads like a treatise on underground hip hop. Mad Professor will perform his patented 32-channel dubs from the ADAT tapes he laid down in a methodology that goes back to Sgt. Pepper and Studio One. After that, Vadim will play a career-worth of his patented psychedelic hip hop and bring the sounds of Berlin, London, New York and Moscow to San Francisco. Local support will come in the form dubwize culturepushers Maneesh the Twister and Lud Dub and dancehall jocks Daneekah and U9lift. For the first time ever, Sunset Promotions is teaming with Deecee’s Soul Shakedown to pull off this monumentous event.
The question is often asked, just how sane is The Mad Professor? Judging by the contents of his character and by the results of his recordings, and the variety of the artistes who has passed through Ariwa studios then he is certainly one of the sanest producers around. Neal Fraser became known as Mad Professor as a boy due to his fascination with electronics. He emigrated from Guyana to London at the age of 13 and later began his music career as a service technician. He gradually collected recording and mixing equipment and in 1979 opened his own four-track recording studio, Ariwa Sounds, in the living room of his home in Thornton Heath. He began recording lovers rock bands and vocalists for his own label (including the debut recording by Deborahe Glasgow) and recorded his first album after moving the studio to a new location in Peckham in 1982, equipped with an eight-track setup, later expanding to sixteen. Fraser's Dub Me Crazy series of albums won the support of John Peel, who regularly aired tracks from the albums. Although early releases were not big sellers among reggae buyers, the mid-1980's saw this change with releases from Sandra Cross (Country Life), Johnny Clarke, Peter Culture, Pato Banton, and Macka B (Sign of the Times). Fraser moved again, this time to South Norwood, where he set up what was the largest black-owned studio complex in the UK, where he recorded highly successful lovers rock tracks by Cross, John McLean, and Kofi, and attracted major Jamaican artists including Bob Andy and Faybiene Miranda. He teamed up with reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry for the first time in 1989 for the album Mystic Warrior.
Dub music, which combines reggae music and recording studio trickery, seemed to fit Mad Professor's musical and technical tastes perfectly and his early work remained faithful to the traditional Jamaican dub pioneered by King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Augustus Pablo. Mad Professor's early work was characterized by few vocal tracks and heavy echo, reverb, and phaser effects on the instrumentals. Eventually, he began to experiment with electronic sounds and effects alongside the traditional instruments. Synthesized sounds began to find a place in his mixes. This experimentation caught the attention of artists outside of reggae and dub genres and led to Mad Professor's work with electronic artists, most notably Massive Attack.
DJ Vadim is a walking proof of the international reach of hip hop. Born in the Soviet Union, he immigrated to England as a teenager and in almost no time had set up a studio and released an EP. Soon signed to the groundbreaking and forward-thinking English label Ninja Tune, Vadim would spend the 90’s releasing a string of singles, compilations and albums that used abstract breaks and trip hop to explore the themes of the country of his birth. His 2007 release “Soundcatcher” is almost a decade in the making, with every kick, snare and clap tuned and arranged with the care of a master painter. There are few producers anywhere who have been able to harness such sweet, savory and always tasty sounds into their compositions. That Vadim manages to make such rich music danceable, humorous and often downright funky, is a further testament to his genius. Appearing with two acclaimed MC’s his performance at Mighty will be a party for the dancers and an exposition for the listeners.