Premiere: Texture X Hypnokid – MXXNLIGHT

Exclusive premiere of the new track by Texture and Hypnokid. Leafy!

Something a little bit special for our readers this week – a track premiere from science fiction-influenced wordsmith Texture (who, we should reveal, also helps out behind the scenes from time to time at Revel HQ).

テクスチャ · TEXTURE X HYPNOKID – MXXNLIGHT

Taken from the forthcoming EP Forest Gods, MXXNLIGHT is produced by Hypnokid, an up-and-coming Glasgow producer who already has a huge, diverse batch of EPs and albums available through his Bandcamp and on streaming sites. We featured Hypnokid a while back, and we’re excited to hear how his delicately-crafted, bass-laden trap sounds with Texture’s words. The full EP, dropping in August, also features a guest verse from multi-talented producer, rapper and breakdancer Ashtronomik on the track BURNT TRAIL.

“Being in the forest feels holy to me, as an atheist…”

“This EP was inspired by a couple of things,” says Texture. “First up, I had wanted to hear Ashtronomik on one of these Hypnokid beats – Hypno and I had planned a collab a while ago, and Ash was the first rapper I thought of when I heard his crazy beat for BURNT TRAIL. I was also a huge fan of Ashtronomik’s Abruptly – which was one of my tunes of 2020, for sure.”

Texture 1 (16)-2
Photo:  Miff Morris

What connection does he have to the forest, as a writer who usually deals in science fiction imagery? “MXXNLIGHT, and especially FOREST GODS, are both inspired by the long walks I’ve been taking under lockdown, up into the hills and along the rivers where I live,” he says.

“Being in the forest feels holy to me, as an atheist, and I wanted to write about that. Finally, I wanted to give people another taste of the music I am making now, before I drop ILLVMINATE with Asthmatic Astronaut on This Is Not Pop later in 2020. That album is such a massive project, two years and lots of planning went into it, so it was refreshing to take a break and make FOREST GODS in just three weeks, start to finish.” It will be a free EP, intended as a thank you to his followers on Bandcamp. 

In anticipation of his big collaboration with AA, it seems like Texture swapped his cyberpunk strides for something a little more pagan and wild… Check out our exclusive preview of MXXNLIGHT, and have a look at these even more exclusive edits of the artwork by our very own Miff Morris.

FOREST GODS (GobophotographyMiff Morris edit)
FOREST GODS
BURNT TRAIL (GobophotographyMiff Morris edit)
BURNT TRAIL
MXXNLIGHT (GobophotographyMiff Morris edit)
MXXNLIGHT

Sixfingerz: Oceanbound in the eye of a Silent Storm

Belgian beatsmith Sixfingerz delivers an exclusive mix for Revel Rousers ahead of his new LP

Belgian producer Tim De Groof, aka Sixfingerz, continues to explore his creative vision and artistic sensibilities, evoking powerful emotional and physical responses  within the sonic landscapes he creates. 

Hit play below on the EXCLUSIVE one hour DJ mix Sixfingerz put together for Revel, which highlights his best early works. Sample-spliced and blended to technical perfection, his mastery of turntablism shines through, along with impressive musical intelligence.

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Sixfingerz’ knack for executing song structures with a timeless quality owes much to his own vast knowledge and love of traditional, roots and world instruments and musical styles, from past to present. His sound carries a lantern perpetually forward, illuminating bygone eras and musical forms through a modern, stylistic beat-making approach.

Now back with a new album, Silent Storm, Sixfingerz’ innate musical sensitivity is used to evoke the contours of distinct visual landscapes. His sonic explorations tend to naturally lean into cinematic realms, suggesting soul-stirring narratives, glimpsed in brief glances. 

His most recent album, Silent Storm is a perfect snapshot of the creative headspace in which he dwells, as well as the emotional landscapes he roams. He invites the listener into a soothing world of atmospheric textures and warm vintage sounds which  evoke a feeling of comfortability and familiarity, leaning on the gently rousing rhythmic nuances of hip-hop for tempo shifts amongst the blissful, chilled out sonics.   

Revel had the immense honour of catching up with Sixfingerz to chat about his new album. He describes the creative headspace he occupies, gives some insight into the creative process, and tells us where his new music takes him emotionally.

Specifically for this album, what direction has your music taken? How has your sound changed over time?

This album is really chill, the next album will probably be more uptempo, but in what or which form is still a mystery, even to me.

For this album specifically, I wanted to go back to the essence of music on this album. Less chaos, more order. On this record I tried to make the core melodies of these songs interesting enough to carry the song and try to hypnotize the listener musically in that way. 

“I can see birds flocking and flying away. It’s crazy what that song does to me.”

Currently I’m thinking it ten times more over then before, just to make it simpler, as I have a tendency to complicate things first and then uncomplicate them… But it’s not really my choice.

As a model for inspiration I used Yann Tiersen’s album Amélie Poulian and I listened a lot to Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Brad Friedel, and Clint Mansell.

What else fuelled your creative vision for the album? 

These last couple of years have been very difficult for me, and this album is basically a way for me to cope with the whole thing. I hope people will get the same respite as me when listening to it. I really hope the vibe shines through and fills people with a nice warm authentic feeling, that these sounds can relieve people of some pressures or just use it to drift away in their thoughts.

I always write what I would like to listen to next and usually I gravitate towards samples that express those feelings even when I’m not paying attention. It’s like the right chops and chords get chosen unconsciously and I just go along with it.

I think the next release will probably be self-released due to huge overhead costs and time before the album comes out. It’s really hard for an independent artist like myself to make a dime. 

How easy or difficult was the album to make? How long did it take?

The album took more or less a year to create and then an extra year before it gets released by the label. I still use the same old program Madtracker 2 (that was made over twenty years ago by a Belgian guy named Yannick Delwiche). I played or programmed most of the instruments on it myself, apart from the occasional sample. I even used the old strumstick and the Roliseaboard to give it some extra personality. Lots of back and forth for feedback of course. 

In the end I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out. Really love the artwork of Sebastian Fraye on this one.

Do you have a personal favourite song off the album?

Oceanbound. I can really feel this song in my core. This track just takes me to the pier, I can see birds flocking and flying away. It’s crazy what that song does to me. Most of the people who listened to the album point out breeze,sol or Heart of the City (which I must admit, I especially added for the fans of the boombap aspect my tracks often have and also I because felt like the album needed some uptempo).

What and who inspires you these days?

The films which continue to inspire me: Parasite, Memento (2001), Metropolis (1927), Grizzly Man (2005), My Dinner With André (1981), Double Indemnity (1944).

People you must check up on: Alex Hirsch (the cipher hunt), Jordan Peterson, Alan Watts, Elon Musk, Richard Feynman, Hans Teeuwen, Michio Kaku.

Music you need to hear: Alt-J, Low Hum, Daughter, Emancipator, Kiasmos, Bon Iver, Nils Frahm, Ross From Friends, Spooky Black, Jon Hopkins, Bonobo, Tash Sultana, Jon Gomm, John Butler, Ólafur Arnalds, Sleep Party People, but also old school music like Bootsy Collins, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Junior, Billy Joel, and Del Shannon.

Anything you’d like to tell your listeners?

I would like to thank everyone for listening and the continued support these last 10 years. And thanks a lot for this interview.

Silent Storm

One SP – 12 Years in Scotland (This Is Not Pop)

Review of the new collection by French hip-hop emcee OneSP

French rapper extraordinaire MC OneSP recently released an impressively energetic collection of collaborative hip-hop tracks spanning his career in France and the UK over the past decade and beyond. 

Extracted from long-buried cassettes and mini discs, some thought lost, the album is a heady sonic trip through some incredible studio sessions, featuring some influential names for those familiar with the bustling late 90s Edinburgh hip-hop culture, and even the formative years of Big Dada. 

OneSP, with the help of boutique Glasgow label This Is Not Pop, compiles these hidden gems in the order he found them, minimally tampered with. The sure studio hand of Gareth Bury, aka Asthmatic Astronaut, is apparent in the presentation of the collection, which finds a home on his buzzing short-run imprint.

Through these productions, the listener can hear as OneSP discovers his particular creative zone, located in a sense of spontaneity and improvisation. This is hip-hop borne of street cyphers, freestyle sessions and late-night, smoked-out clashes. As the recordings progress, the stability of his identity as a rapper and poet emerges, revealing bags of charm, eccentricity and humour on each recording.

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His sharp intellect is contrasted with some very silly wordplay, which bursts energetically through in synchronization with his collaborators. A diverse MC, OneSP is a lyrical chameleon, adapting vocal styles to changing beat dynamics, swinging easily between hip-hop’s touchstones in jazz, funk and dub.  

This creative self-awareness reverberates throughout, and the whole album delivers slice after slice of unity, head-nodding beats and just sheer fun. Producers and vocalists who bring their own distinct styles to the table include collaborators such as ragga hip-hop legend Toastie Tailor of New Flesh, with whom OneSP collaborated before they became the first band to sign to Big Dada. 

Elsewhere, appearances from Edinburgh alt-hip-hop lumiaries like Mikel Krumins of Abdominal Showmen, and Lifeshows of Underling will cause gasps of recognition from those in the know. Sterling production from the likes of Ben Seal, Jatin Purin, DJ Red 6, Salam Anders and of course Asthmatic Astronaut keep things varied, and always enthralling. 

This impressive collection is a time travel adventure – a narrative snapshot of OneSP’s creative exploration, aesthetic and artistic interactions from a little-known but much-admired era of Edinburgh’s underground hip-hop culture to the present day. 

Within the gaps of these recordings, OneSP traces the steps of his journey from the south of France, where his peers often taunted him for being a mere poet, rather than a macho MC, to finding his creative identity here in Scotland, and building his very own family unit, both in his personal life, and in his creative circle of friends. 

Meant to be released in celebration of OneSP’s 12th anniversary as an adopted Scot, the fact we had to wait until 20 had passed only makes this compilation more of a delight. To the first-time listener, what difference does time make? These tracks still vibrate with the urgency of now, even when they call back to lost eras.    

Affiliated with music collective the Black Lantern Clan in the mid-2010s, OneSP threw down an in-depth interview earlier in the month with label founder Texture, on his newly-minted Scottish hip-hop radio show for Radio Kaos Caribou.

RR caught up with Texture to ask about the interview: “Interviewing onesp for the radio show reminded me just what a tremendous rapper he is.” On the evidence of these two decades, even that would be an understatement. 

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The Icebox Arts And Music Centre – An Extraordinarily Unique Space.

The Icebox Arts And Music Centre, located on the south-side of the river Clyde, within Glasgow’s St Luke’s Business park is by far an extraordinary achievement, a unique space, the size of a small aircraft hangar which has been set up at the end of last year by an the exceptionally devoted non-profit music organization New Hellfire Club. (NHC) This exciting new space provides a distinctive take on supporting local, independent artists and musicians as well as D.I.Y projects and all alternative, imaginative forms and types of creative artistic expression.

A spooky feature which comes to life only at night in the Icebox…..

NHC has been around for a while, previously owning a small record shop in the west-end of the city, building a reputation in helping to promote bands and musicians within the music scene and has always pushed for a fair, no-pay-to-play code of conduct from promoters who work within the NHC fold, this code of conduct is staunchly carried through to the icebox music venue and the team have expanded the scope of their new space into movie showings, games nights, theatre, art exhibitions, burlesque and cabaret, spoken word nights, talk nights and also a space to shoot music videos, or art videos. Its taken a hard push of four years to bring this venue to life and its most certainly a highly commendable achievement which is fantastic for the city of Glasgow.

Jamie McDermid – Chief founder of NHC Music & Promotions Organisation – Also, Evidently head loiter behind the bar at the Icebox.

Not only is this an entertainments centre of many sorts with live music, video games, snacks, drinks pool tables and Scalextric racing table, it can be a place to chill or study during the day, with an excellent book section (Free books for Kids) and coffee bar. Animals are also welcome…I took some time at the weekend to check out the atmosphere of the place and experience some live music which was hosted by Timotheus McQuester, who helped provide synthpop, drone and noise acts which went down remarkably well.

Timotheus McQuester (on the right) Hosting this particular event in the icebox – A man who shoots laser beams even when he’s sad- Now that’s dedication….

The venue has a great vibe, very welcoming with top quality sound and visuals, at every point my eyes were drawn to something, with much art around the walls and features to take in. The stand out artist of the night for me was a solo electronic act whose moniker is titled, Jeye, aka John Muir. Who provided a strikingly nuanced, dynamic soundscape to lose our head-spaces within.  Glitch Electronics both alluring and uplifting with catchy tweaks and hooks, in contrast to sharp turns and twists in melody and rhythm. A set of hugely atmospheric ambient vibrations which provided hints of both darkness and light, helping of course to propel the imaginative movie reel in my head….

Jeye – Expert Knob Twiddler @ The Icebox.

Jaye managed to directly record his Icebox live set and it is available as a free download on the following link for your absolute listening pleasure….

https://jeye.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-the-ice-box-glasgow-270419

I highly recommend you check out this very special space and get involved with putting on a night or simply enjoying what is on offer. Keep up to date @Icebox Glasgow on social media as there is lots coming up and going down in the future months ahead!.. Can it be said that the Icebox is one of the coolest venues in Glasgow.. Or is that too much of a pun ?

Full batch of photos from the night can be viewed over on the Gobophotography/ Revel Rousers social media page….

NHC Sound Engineer – Helping to sustain a fantastic sound throughout the icebox.