Mush. Say it, squeeze it, eat it. Do whatever you need to do to get into it but indulge in it. Oh hang on...the usual disclaimer...'unless you like predictable music, samples that you own and cliches you have heard so much you dream about them painted across your city skyline in corporate white and blue'. As far as the musical context, what Mush and their artists are doing is really paying homage to a growing underground movement of artists experimenting with different sounds, delivery styles and lyrics. Artists such as Anticon, Anti-Pop Consortium (Ozone), the Infesticons (Big Dada), and Atmosphere are all part of a resurgence of inventiveness within hip hop (at least as far as the groups getting exposure are concerned) and they are finally getting their dues.

The Anticon conglomerate, for example, have become large. A hell of a lot of people dig their music and a lot of it is solid but a lot of people, equally, will react by saying: "This is some weird shit." There is no doubting that these artists get a kick out of trying to issue a headfuck to listeners. And, now, Mush is giving them a helping hand on developing a strong body blow. If there are two Mush releases that you can get your head around, make sure they include Ropeladder 12 and Aesop Rock's Float.

Ropeladder 12 offers a coherent flow-through of songs with each presenting a distinctive sound and angle - from Jel's simple yet effective intro with some playground chanting, cuts and a very nice rolling beat, to Fat Jon and the Five Deez' rain-lashed Rain Dance, through to Apani and Nickodemus' The Spirit Within which features Apani's prolific lyrical dexterity amidst what sounds like tin drums and tribal vocal samples. Labtekwon's effort is also a provocative cut. There are breakdowns, lounge music drop-ins, visually provocative lyrics, soundscaped instrumentals, self-help vocal samples and more. Ropeladder 12 may be the release to extend your musical diet.

Aesop Rock's Float is one of those releases where you don't know whether to follow the lyrics or the beats, or do just what the title suggests and float in between. With Aesop handling the production duties for half of the album and Blockhead in charge of the other half, the way they have constructed the beats and even recorded the vocals, puts forth this texture that, if you really let yourself sink into it, entombs you. Commencement at the Obedience Academy, Big Bang, Skip Town (which boasts some reggae-inspired samples) and Attention Span featuring Vast Air from Cannibal Ox are the standouts. The momentum behind this MC has been growing for a while now and, if I had spare cash, you would have heard about it sooner.


Mush Records