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Sixtoo - Chewing on Glass and Other Miracle Cures


Review: Jack Foley

YOU can pretty much always ensure something different is going to happen when you open a parcel from the Ninja Tunes label.

Musical pioneers in every respect, the Ninja label has produced some of the finest albums of recent times and is enjoying another good year, in 2004, with the likes of Blockhead and Skalpel.

Now we have Sixtoo, described in his own PR as 'the most convicted felon of the 1200 Hobos Team'.

Keen hip-hop enthusiasts will probably be familiar with the Sixtoo name from the 'underground' movement, in North America, during the late 90’s, when he appeared on stage at many a show around that time, with the likes of Buck 65, Sebutones, Sage Francis, and Peace.

But things really began to take off in 2000, when he released Duration, a record that, for the first time, took him away from the mic, and put him solely behind the sampler.

The results were heralded as an instrumental hip-hop classic, and things started looking up-way up-for Sixtoo.

Skip four years later, and Sixtoo delivers Chewing on Glass and Other Miracle Cures.

Not content to make another record based on mining wax for samples, he set about tapping into various live musicians to get the source material that would ultimately be chopped up and re-arranged for this record.

The result is a fairly experimental affair, but one which largely works because it is different from the usual batch of samplers.

The music here is all new, but chopped up so as to represent Sixtoo's vision for it.

And while certainly more soundtrack-orientated than hip-hop/dancefloor flavoured, the album is best described by the artist, himself, as a psyche rock/jazz affair.

That is to say, when it's good, it's really good, but there are also times when it can be distinctly average, and a little too 'way out there'.

Can’s Damo Suzuki, Norsola and Thierry from Godspeed You Black Emperor, Matt Kelly, Eric Craven from The Hanged Up, Sixtoo, and many more can all be heard programmed and chopped in the signature Sixtoo dark/sinister way - making the album one for the diehard hip-hop crowd more than the mainstream listener.

Highlights include most of the Boxcutter Emporium sections, as well as Sidewinders, with its hammong organs and jazz-influenced backdrop, and the deeply foreboding, slightly orchestral Karmic Retribution.

Things tend to lose their way during the middle section, but are drawn to a suitably atmospheric finale for Closing Day Sale, which just about keeps the album on the right side of enjoyable.

It'll be interesting to see where Sixtoo goes from here.

Track listing:
1. Boxcutter Emporium Pt.1
2. Chewing On Glass
3. Sidewinders
4. Karmic Retribution
5. Funny Sticks Reprise
6. Boxcutter Emporium Pt.2
7. Boxcutter Emporium Pt.3
8. Old Days Architecture
9. Chainsaw Buffet
10. Snake Bite
11. Transient Control
12. Chainsaw Breakfast
13. Horse Drawn Carriage
14. The Honesty Of Constant Human Error
15. Storm Clouds & Silver Linings
16. Chainsaw Juggler
17. Closing Day Sale

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