May 2, 2009

LABEL PROFILE: Rush Hour Recordings, Netherlands

In '03, I found a fantastic mix by the title of “Spring In Amsterdam” on a now-defunct website called The mix had twenty tracks of dance-oriented IDM sounds by many artists from the Delsin Records label and their sub-label Ann Aimee. I had long been a fan of the IDM artist CiM, and was excited to hear similar-styled material by M>O>S and Aroy Dee (who I think may be the same person..), Alex Cortex and others. A year later, having moved to the SF Bay Area, I was in Amoeba Records browsing the used new arrival bin, and came across both volumes of M>O>S's “Utilities” EPs. Since I recognized the name from the Amsterdam mix, and the records were I think $1.99 each (I love Amoeba), I picked them up on a whim. I was pleased to hear the same lo-fi, analog IDM sound, along with a couple of pounding, oldschool-acid-sounding house tracks. Over the next few years I picked up a 12” here and there and gradually realized that Rush Hour was a reliable label for having good tracks on every release. Their releases are mainly house/dance-oriented, but with a strong leaning toward the IDM side of the spectrum, and a distinctive lo-fi/down-sampled sound that has really grown on me. I also have to admit that I particularly like Rush Hour as they represent to me “the sound of Amsterdam”, a place which I will always hold dear in my heart. I was able to visit Amsterdam for the second time earlier this year, and unintentionally found Rush Hour's small store-front on one of the main streets. It was pretty awesome to see so many hip EU 12”s that normally one would have to pay heavy import fees for if you could even find them in the US. I picked up an Aroy Dee limited-edition-of-150 12” which luckily survived the plane ride home, and decided to get back into collecting Rush Hour records. The RH Ltd. series is especially top-notch, with excellent deep tech-house releases by Conforce, Sui Generis, Jarno and Pied Plat. Kink & Neville Watson is especially worth hearing on the Hour House Is Your Rush sub-label. There is also some very cool broken-beat and trip-hoppish material coming from A'dam locals Rednose Distrikt, Kid Sublime and Aardvarck. The two Harry Swinger 12”s are both favorites of mine, featuring chilled downtempo blunted house tracks and a killer remix by Kid Sublime. Worth a look!