BioIf you followed the "underground" hip-hop movement in North America during the late 90’s, you may have seen his name on lots of the records, and you probably saw him on stage at many a show around that time. Buck 65, Sebutones, Sage Francis, Peace (Freestyle Fellowship), L’ronius, Aquasky, The Goods, and various Anticon members all have a place in the story. It’s a long story, all there in recorded form if you want to do the work and spend the time. It’s all relevant to what Sixtoo is doing today, but neither him nor any of the aforementioned people tend to dwell on the past. They’re all in their own place now and have come into their own in different ways.
Early 2000 is when it all really started coming together. Just before leaving Halifax 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.
The following year saw him freshly re-located to Montreal, and signing on with UK based Vertical Form Records. The relationship with Vertical Form saw the release of “Antogonist Survival Kit”, a dark-ass record that showcased both sides of his skills : back on the mic for half of it, and hitting the SP for the 2nd half. It was signature Sixtoo production and rhymes, but one also got the sense that his new surroundings in the North end of Montreal were starting to bring something different to the mix.
A lot has been written and speculated about the effect of Montreal winters on local musicians. It takes some long, cold, dark months living by the railroad tracks to produce something like Godspeed You Black Emperor. Alien8 Records, Constellation Records, Mutek Festival. Ever since Amon Tobin moved the city things have been getting just a little bit denser with his sound. And the same can be said for Sixtoo. By the time 2003 rolled around, Sixtoo had come to the attention of the Montreal Ninja Tune office and he found himself with a fresh new contract, and a turning point on which to really assess his work up to that point and to decide on how he wanted to proceed. All the releases up to that point had reached some type of notoriety, but also were hinting at another level of untapped potential.
So when it came time to record what would become “Chewing On Glass & Other Miracle Cures” a completely new style was employed. 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. Taking the basic idea of sample-based music but building the samples from live sources, and in some cases just letting the live elements take over. An organic approach, but also one that doesn’t ignore the current movements of microsampling and effects programming. All in all…it’s something else. 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. All brought together to create what is essentially a psyche rock/jazz masterpiece as made by a long time hip-hop producer.
So know this…Sixtoo is on some entirely other shit. Sampling live as opposed to sampling records. Playing as a musician instead of a collage-artist. Working with people that can help to fully realize the ideas within the music, as opposed to strangling ideas in order to keep them contained and manageable.
Contained is safe, and safe is played. Sixtoo is out of the box, and it has all just started, again.