You can't get a better-conceived compilation than the comps from Hush, a record label
run by artist/musician Chad Crouch. Mute, their fourth
compilation, helps highlight the most prevalent strength of the bands on
this label: the music. Despite Hush's artists having earned comparisons to
Paul Simon (Chad Crouch) and the Cowboy Junkies (Corrina Repp), it's not the
words you tend to remember (not even in a Ben Barnett break-up song), but
the emotions that their songs shake through you.
On Mute, this ranges from the absolutely ecstatic (Boy Crazy's
"Wistful" and E Vax's "Playground") to music which could have made an Ingmar
Bergman western go through the roof (Tracker's beautifully moody "Nova").
One moment you can find Pete Miser one-upping the French band Air with
"Endure", a theme song for a future "retro" crime-caper series; the next
moment, Chad Crouch provides "Lefthanded", a soundscape that puts you in
Brazil, at a frog-infested pond, next to a classical guitarist and an
electronic beatbox. The colors run through this song as through Crouch's more
amazing paintings, flooding the music with multi-layered emotion.
With a beautiful concerto by the Brother Egg and a stunning chant
into the sunset by Wow and Flutter, Mute might well be one of the
most important records that singer-songwriters, and their fans, could get.
It shows how far music can take your words, and how often one's words -- no matter how I desired them in Jeff London's hymn, "Later On" -- are
misperceived as the instrument which makes a song move you. Designed like a
booklet of matches (And with more than a passing resemblance to Mute Records' output -- Ed), this hefty 70-minute CD will burn long
and hard within you, making its modest price something of a
miracle for consumers. Buy it and believe in the future of anti-rock.