Hudd Traxx turns ten in 2015, and part one of their landmark anniversary compilation packs one hell of a wallop.
It’s easy, as we all know, to release records like you’re making a festival flyer: big names in 72 point type, at the top; small names at the bottom, near the driving directions and Ticketmaster logo. Plenty of people will laud you; websites will namedrop on your behalf and – hey! you might even sell twenty copies thanks to all this sickeningly universal (but curiously unprofitable) “upfront promo pressure.”
It’s much harder to score with good music released because it’s good; and that’s even more true when you’re trafficking in wax.
People who write about Hudd Traxx often mention a series of names (all of them Big Names, at least in some circles) that haven’t had much to do with the label in years. The deep, elegant but somewhat raw sound I associate with Hudd – and far and away, the label’s most relevant releases – were produced not by that usual list of Big Names, but a series of producers not terribly well known when the wax was pressed.
The names you see on Now & Then – Part 1 of Hudd Traxx’s tenth anniversary compilation, which was released today – are a pretty representative sample of the people that have actually produced the best of Hudd Traxx: Tomson, Agnes, Iron Curtis, Eddie Leader and éminence grise Chez Damier.
Everything is marketing, a smug but eminently wise man once said. It’s harder to sell records that simply focus on the music and fuck the hype, but there is a benefit: with the exception of Chez Damier, I know these producers primarily (not entirely, but primarily) from their records on Hudd. It’s a label I look to to find out what’s new, what’s interesting. It carries weight, despite (or rather specifically because) its not carrying so many Big Names for the sake of squeezing a couple more units out of the customer.
Part one of Now & Then features new releases from Tomson (my runaway fave, the luscious “On The Buttons”) and Chez Damier (“El Fin Esta Cerca,” or “The End is Nigh”); the B Side is the “Then” of the title’s conceit, featuring Agnes’ remix of “The Bass” by Synthcast, Pagal & Eddie Leader and “You Are” by Iron Curtis. Aside from all matters of philosophy and A&R, Now & Then is a supremely classy comp, three parts on vinyl priced to play rather than to mummify in plastic.