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May 12, 2004

{     Sixtoo - Chewing on Glass & Other Miracle Cures     }    

Perhaps best known for his work in 1200 Hobos, and for collaborations with Sage Francis and Aquasky, underground hip-hop producer Sixtoo is stepping out from behind the mixing board and the computer-rig to put together something entirely new, set to release May 17th. Abandoning the sampling techniques that had become his trademark, and swapping the sequencer for a Rhodes electric piano, Sixtoo has pasted together an album that is equal parts free-form electro-jazz and experimental rock. Dark in tone and bleak in subject matter, the album carries a weird energy throughout that is sustained by extremely interesting melody paired with either jazzy break-beats or slower rock rhythms. All of the material seems to have first been recorded live before being manipulated in any way, and there is thusly a very organic feel to most of the record. The packaging reflects that, and is a minor work of art unto itself with a very cut-and-paste screen-printed look.... The detailed and confessional liner notes convey a humbleness that’s very becoming of Sixtoo, and he admits that he had a lot to learn (and that he learned a lot) about recording music while making this album, mostly thanks to friend and advisor Matt Kelly and with a helping hand from guests Can s Damo Suzuki, Norsola and Thierry from Godspeed You Black Emperor, and Eric Craven from The Hanged Up. Vocals are sparsely used, and only a couple of tracks include straight-up rapping, though this has a signifigantly beat-era spoken-word feel to it. (Ken Nordine meets Saul Williams) One of the later and longer tracks on the album busts out some whispery and screechy vocals over extended guitar noodling to result in the first psychedelic-goth-jazz jam session I’ve ever had the pleasure of bending my ear to. Overall, the album has more of a Miles Davis Bitch’s Brew feel than it does anything else Sixtoo’s been associated with. He speculates jokingly in the liner notes that Ninja Tune will be dropping him from the label, and though I can’t help but wonder what the hell they thought when he first laid this album on them, ultimately it’s a work to be proud of and the artist and the label have both taken some steps forward with this release. Check back here or the Ninja Tune website to purchase the album after the 17th. Downloaders will be bitch-slapped.

     » Sixtoo biography/discography/show dates on Ninja Tune


I have yet to hear this album myself, but sixtoo has long been one of the most underrated producers in hip-hop. Definitely a secret weapon in the Anticon collective, most people pay so much attention to the lyrics that they seem to skip right over some incredible beats. In this way you could parallel Sixtoo to another Ninja Tune release, Blockhead. I'm glad to see both artists beginning to get their due. Good job, Ninja Tune. Good job, Adam.

Posted by: Eric at May 12, 2004 7:28 PM
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