Quirk It Out
Mush Records' Aural Anomalies
Fri Oct 8, Chop Suey, 9 pm, $8 adv.
Boundary-dissolving indie label Mush favors the wandering aesthetic. Its owners started in Cincinnati then shuttled through three cities before settling in Los Angeles. Its artists similarly roam all over the map. Since 1999, the imprint has issued a head-spinning array of under- ground hiphop, idyllectronica, ethno-dubhop, and other odd hybrids awaiting clever coinages. Thanks to co-owners Robert Curcio and Cindy Roché's impeccable aesthetics, Mush's gold-to-crap ratio has been exceptionally high.
In an interview with Remix, Curcio said, "Mush looks for artists who have a unique sound and who are willing to take chances with their work and push their capabilities both in the studio and onstage. Mush is most interested in music that crosses genre boundaries between electronic, indie, and hiphop."
The latest Mush tour manifests Curcio's philosophy. Her Space Holiday (Marc Bianchi) works in the song-based emo- tronica realm where Postal Service, the Magnetic Fields, and Album Leaf commiserate over synthetic strings, breathily sung self-deprecation, and slack beats. Though HSH's 2003 album, The Young Machines, could be Mush's most popular yet and is undeniably well crafted, it doesn't best represent the label's adventurousness.
For that descriptor, check out Octavius, whose Audio Noir is a masterpiece of brooding downtempo, roiling doomsday rock, and charred illbient. Audio Noir persuasively captures a mood of impending doom. Like Dalek, Octavius earn their serious-as-cancer aura without descending to ham-handed tactics.
Daedelus (Alfred Weisberg-Roberts) is Mush's most prolific and eccentric artist--which is really saying something. He brings an influx of quaint sound sources to hiphop and experimental downtempo (see also his Adventure Time project with fellow L.A. producer Frosty), making whimsy funky and funk whimsical. Daedelus inspires giddy giggles instead of underground hiphop's usual scowl or righteous stoicism. At his best, Daedelus' music is a gently surreal and goofily absurd subversion of hiphop's serious sampladelic aesthetic. It's what DJ Shadow would sound like if he worshipped Spike Jones.