Chewing on Glass & Other Miracle Cures

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Canadian hip-hop beathead Sixtoo belongs to a generation of producers who forsake the Classic Beats and Breaks style of track construction for an aesthetic that samples and reworks their own playing as well as that of their friends -- Pretty Purdie plus Roscoe Mitchell. Based in Halifax and later Montreal, the veteran of his own solo records as well as productions and accompanying gigs for Buck 65, 1200 Hobos, and Anticon among others, his first record for Ninja Tune isn't instrumental hip-hop but rather down-tempo funk with a cinematic flair -- a close compatriot of J Swinscoe's Cinematic Orchestra. Sixtoo's productions are dripping with atmosphere, and he possesses the fiending of a soundtracker for sounds that listeners haven't heard before but can immediately associate with a feeling -- and that feeling is usually a delicious sense of dread. "Boxcutter Emporium, Pt. 2," one of three tracks in a suite interspersed throughout the album, succeeds despite only sparsely using a few elements: a hi-hat-heavy drum kit, a bassline with only one change, and an oscillating bell sound. "Storm Clouds & Silver Linings," his feature collaboration with Can vocalist Damo Suzuki, is an inspired piece of avant funk, wherein a friend's sampled drumming and Matt Kelly's distorted guitar frames Suzuki's improvised vocalizing. These highlights, however, don't serve to frame a compelling full-length. In fact, the two collaborations with the highest profiles -- separate tracks featuring a pair of Godspeed You Black Emperor! members, cellist Norsola Johnson and bassist Thierry Amar -- are meandering and ineffective.

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