MUSH MASHES GENRES TO MAKE MASTERFUL MUSIC.
Mush Records is simply "American-made, avant-underground, emo-Brit-blip-hop, downtempo free-jazz rap," according to Busdriver, the LA MC who's never short on words. Label co-owner Robert Curcio's thesis is more straightforward: "We're interested in that place where all the genres fit together... challenging music that doesn't fit into one category." Built on a shaky foundation of hip-hop, the Mush-thetic depends equally on the spontaneity of free jazz, the blip-twitch of electronica, the confessional vulnerability of indie rock, and the worldly impulses of dub.
Of course, how can a label that has performed its own puddle-jumping through America be held down to anything but a melting pot of styles? Launched in Cincinnati, where they gathered and released material by members of Oakland's Anticon and Five Deez producer Fat Jon, Mush then drifted around the US, landing in New York and San Francisco before reaching their final, and apparently satisfying, destination of sunny Los Angeles.
"We knew from the time we moved to New York that we wanted to move to Los Angeles. A lot of the most influential artists in the hip-hop realm that we were listening to were from LA," Curcio notes, while citing both the city's impeccable weather and co-owner Cindy Roché's familial connections as the major lures of Los Angeles.
Everything started with Doseone and Boom Bip's Circle album, a grinding, spacy, Joycean hip-hop release, and the cLOUDDEAD 10" single series (also featuring Doseone), which sublimely searched the hinterlands of poetry and rhythm.
Mush has honed its vision into a unique album-creating process while looking to the outer edges of LA's already amorphous hip-hop underground for new artists. "There are two ways a deal happens with Mush," Curcio explains. "One is that an artist shows up with a finished product. The other, more prominent, way is to set up a record to be made specifically for us - made in a specific time period and by a specific producer. We try to make albums that are very album based."