Mush Records Tour
w/Busdriver & Radioinactive as the Weather, AWOL One, Andre Afram Asmar, Bobby Karate
Tues May 13, Crocodile, 9 pm, $8 adv/DOS.
"I cater to the nerves of wordsmiths/ I'm here to preserve the weird and absurd in cowshit," blurts Radioinactive on "Name Forgetter," one of 15 bizarre tracks on The Weather. This line sums up the Mush Records aesthetic: Mush never stands still artistically or geographically, and weirdness is its lifeblood. The company recently moved to Los Angeles (its fifth city in six years of business), entering the vortex of a vigorous indie hiphop scene led by unconventional crews like Project Blowed and the Shapeshifters. Fueled by copious quantities of Red Bull and their entertaining bullshit, Andre Afram Asmar, AWOL One, and the Weather (MCs Busdriver and Radioinactive) bring their Mush Records multimedia mindfuck to the backpacker masses on this current 45-day tour.
The Weather is the epitome of eccentricity (now they have me writing like they rap). The incorrigible brainchild of Busdriver (Project Blowed mainstay Regan Farquhar), Radioinactive (Kamal Humphrey de Iruretagoyena, creator of the brilliant Pyramidi), and Daedelus (Alfred Weisberg-Roberts), The Weather eschews nearly every hiphop convention except rhyming. And when Busdriver and Radioinactive rhyme, they do so either at a stenographer's-nightmare velocity or in an oblong, singsongy way that'll have you simultaneously shaking and scratching your head. The African American Busdriver sounds like he's parodying white TV announcer Don Pardo as he freestyles Exquisite Corpse sentences, while Radio waxes absurd like a West Coast Paul Barman on mushrooms. You're more likely to laugh your ass off than to dance it off, as the duo tailor their tongue-twisting verbalisms to ride Daedelus' zany sonic roller coasters. An IDM producer who had no hiphop experience until recently, Daedelus has recorded for respected electronic labels such as Phthalo and Plug Research.
Unfortunately, Daedelus won't be joining the Weather on this tour, but his image will appear on the screen behind them. "We have a digital projector, so we're able to incorporate Daedelus into the show," says Radio. "We have Asmar doing the music with a combination of computer, live-time effects, and turntables. He's definitely enhancing The Weather material by adding his dub underwater spatialness [sic]." (Asmar will be plying his own polyglot dub pressure, too, as displayed on his spiritual, psychedelic Race to the Bottom disc. And don't miss AWOL One, whose skewed ramblings will make you chuckle into your hash pipe.)
The Weather sounds like a reaction to a world overrun with information and stimuli; Bus and Radio counter this madness with more of their own. Their rhymes are truly clever, but they often elude understanding--unless you're stoned or drunk. Were the rappers trying to outdo each other with surrealist imagery?
"There's a lot of underlying satirical and double meaning," says Radio. "It's really a coded thing. Some things may seem not to make sense, but certain ideas, words, and images [we express] may open different chakras; you might be reverted to different dimensions." He laughs, then continues: "We tried to stick to the ABAB rhyme scheme, but we drifted apart from that."
"It's interesting working with another MC who has such a wild imagination," Busdriver admits. "It can be kind of over- whelming and frustrating."
It gets to the point where you wonder how they memorize their lines--there are hundreds of them, and most are extremely convoluted.
"Actually, we have naked girls with cue cards," Busdriver cracks. "No, but really, wordy cerebral overload is a signature of our particular sect. It did take time to know the lyrics. We had to train for five years on a Japanese island with an ancient word master to prepare for the tour. But we know the songs, rest assured."
On their current tour, playing to small audiences in places like Lubbock and Albuquerque has its ups and downs, the Mush artists agree, but overall, it's been a blast.
"Every day something funny happens," Busdriver says. "That's the best part of the tour. I get to hang out with people I admire, and random shit happens that's not supposed to, but it makes sense. And that's kind of in character with [our] music. It all makes sense in a nonsensical way. In Orlando, Florida, we had a deaf person come to the show. He liked the vibrations, but he couldn't really hear. We have people like that at our shows."