Various Artists – HH100

hh100Warm congratulations to Seattle’s Hush Hush Records on the release of its 100th title. HH100 pulls together 14 tracks featuring the work of big talents like Shelf Nunny, Lowhitey and more.

It’s been just half a dozen years since KEXP’s Alex Ruder decided to “collaborate with a friend to help share their music with the world,” as the album’s notes describe. That unassuming motivation – which has launched countless indie labels around the world – has grown an international audience for the discreetly named imprint.

“Every step along the way, Hush Hush’s journey has been driven by that same passion to creatively collaborative with new and underground artists to help present their beautiful sounds.”

The new compilation features the same sumptuous downtempo recordings the label is known for. This time out, each track is a collaboration between Hush Hush artists (“past, present and future” we’re told).

Academy Garden and breaking open the album with the warmly inspiring “Credits.” Hanssen and Secret School deliver a kind of ambient techno on “Felt.” Another highlight comes from Cock & Swan and TZECHAR. Ola Hungerford’s vocal on “Taken Apart” is crystalline.

It’s hard to imagine that all this began such a short time ago. Ruder hosted a monthly DJ night in those days, which spawned a tightknit group of like-minded artists. They’re not so much defined by their association with Hush Hush as they are identifiable by it.

At a time when independent music struggles to win attention, that makes Ruder’s accomplishment no small thing.

Kevin Press

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