Hush Hush Records / dB Spotlight

“Night Bus is a feeling,” goes the official / unofficial motto of Hush Hush Records labelhead Alex Ruder.

Since starting the Seattle-based label/beat night in early 2012, Ruder has been in pursuit of a specific vibe, bringing together like-minded musicians in attempt to collect and codify common strains of emotion which flow in parallel through all genres of music. The idea behind calling the “genre” Night Bus is an attempt to divert attention from the form of the music (electronic vs analog, dance vs drone, experimental vs. pop) to the feelings that these compositions evoke. Hush Hush features introspective sounds that evoke urban loneliness, indeterminate journeys through time, and long trips on empty highways in the middle of the night.

Decibel Festival’s Hush Hush Records Showcase will explore the many sides of “Night Bus.” The label’s flagship artist is Kid Smpl (Joey Butler), a young but immensely talented producer who draws his inspirations from the city at night.  His lush compositions have found favorable comparison with legendary producers such as Burial and Four Tet. Butler’s aesthetic finds lineage in many generations of dance music, but his obsession with more subtle textures is what really defines his sound. The release of his first full-length, Skylight, was followed by his participation in the venerable Red Bull Music Academy earlier this spring. His newest EP Armour continues to impress critics and fans of sensual electronic music.

Recently relocated from Seattle to Brooklyn, producer Domokos has been a long friend of the Hush Hush label, contributing remixes to multiple Hush Hush releases. His 2012 release Creature Speak was described by The Stranger as “lavish-sounding” and “intricately detailed.” This year marks his Decibel Festival debut, a temporary return for the exciting composer.

DJAO (Alex Osuch), a Seattle native and a member of Portland’s Dropping Gems collective, also finds kinship in this discrete vibe. His fragmented, psychedelic soundscapes are zoned-out in thought and kaleidoscopic in execution. His Screwmixes mixtape, released on Hush Hush Records last year, exemplifies the movement’s penchant for developing new contexts for existing sounds. With a new album coming later this year, DJAO continues to busily find new veins of sound to mine.

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Vancouver’s Cyril Hahn is a young producer, and has only just released his first single. But his remixes of artists such as Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child, and Solange have found regular rotation time at Hush Hush DJ nights, exhibiting a delicate touch that belies his young age. His latest single “Perfect Form”, a collaboration with Portland’s R&B group Shy Girls, has exploded into a fireball of hype for his eagerly anticipated debut album, out in September.

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For Halifax’s Ryan Hemsworth, “Night Bus” is a mixture of the internal and the external, the past and the future. His mixes pull from a litany of influences, straddling the lines of kitsch and honesty like no one else. Hemsworth finds genuine joy in paving roads between J Dilla and Nobuo Uematsu, combining the intense nostalgia of youth with an exceptional ear for melody and rhythm. He’s done mixes for almost every music publication under the internet-sun, all of them exceptional and uniquely emotional. In his world, Chrono Trigger, Waka Flocka Flame ,and Kate Bush exist side by side without dissonance. The loaded emotion of nostalgia is not a hindrance, but rather a reward.

There aren’t enough words to properly describe what the Hush Hush showcase will bring to Decibel Festival. Four incredible producers will demonstrate some of the most affecting, emotional electronic music of today. And if someone asks you what the hell that means, just tell them, “it’s a feeling.”

Written by Allen Huang.

Click HERE for more information in the 2013 Hush Hush Records Showcase Ryan Hemsworth, Cyril Hahn, DJAO, Domokos.

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