DJ Vadim ‘USSR: Life From the Other Side’ LP / ‘Instrumentals’ LP / merchandise

UK LP cover
N. America LP cover
N. America CD cover
Instrumentals LP labels
Instrumentals LP labels
Breakin Point magazine advert
  • RELEASED: Aug 1999 / Nov 1999
  • FORMAT: 2xLP / CD / 2xLP
  • CAT No.: ZEN44 / ZENCD44 / ZEN44INST
  • DESIGN: Openmind / Delta
  • SPOTTERS DELIGHT: LP & CD covers are different for both Euro and US releases
  • EXTRA ZEN: ninjatune page / BUY / instr ninjatune page / BUY

Vadim has always been keen on representing the four main elements of Hip Hop in his productions and graffiti appears on his sleeves but never in a conventional way. For this project I had met the previous year with Dutch graffiti legend Delta on tour with Coldcut and wanted to collaborate with him as I loved his work. I wanted him to build something in 3D as he had started to make interlocking constructions from MDF of his more architectural drawings.

I had also shied away from explicitly using Russian constructivist imagery and colours with Vadim before this because I didn’t want this to be viewed as the angle that everyone remembered him by. For this though – his third album on Ninja – I decided to relent on it, partly because Vadim was now established and partly because Delta’s style was similar to constructivism and fitted this mold with ease.

For the first single I used Delta’s sketch for his construct in the form of a blueprint from a drawing board. On the second single I featured the bare MDF construct made for the front cover and for the album the final, painted, model was shown. This model is very big and weighs about 30 kilos, Delta arrived at my flat after flying over with it in pieces and constructed it on my living room floor before we fixed it to a wall with five big bolts.

The rest of the album design was based around constructivist blocks and decaying paper textures which gave the whole thing a kind of rediscovered art look to it. The third single was an attempt to show how three dimensional it is as the first images hadn’t really shown this off to good effect. Delta’s drawing formed the basis for wraparound T-shirt graphics as well as smaller chest-sized ones.