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

Reactive Writers: Pete Hope & Henri Sizaret are… NOT NOW

Industrial techno maverick Pete Hope, the pioneer behind Sheffield’s legendary 1980s electronic explorers The Box, abolishes the boundaries once again with this fervent manifestation of his talents, connecting his artistic machinations with those of French avant-garde electronic precisionist Henri Sizaret, who goes by the moniker AkA Muzik

 

Hope’s forthcoming release on cassette-tape only label The Tapeworm pushes the industrial techno envelope into uncharted territories, while Sizaret pushes ahead into new formations of sonic improvisation.

Despite residing in separate geographical latitudes and longitudes, with Sizaret located in Portugal and Hope residing in New Zealand. Even though they are not in the same spot, they most certainly are in the same place creatively; connected by audio waves, delivered up in simple, raw stems that create a wall of sound. Their collaboration is cosmic, with melodies that transcend space and time. This is music as revelation – cerebral liberation and illumination in a snap.

Emotionally, this is an uncompromising project. Hope and Sizaret aim to activate the release of dopamine and hormones in our bodies, chemicals that trigger pleasure, pain, happiness and sadness. As listeners, we can choose to move on or dig into these feelings. There is no right or wrong. 

Here at Revel, we caught up with the leftfield demigod himself, Pete Hope, to find out in detail about his highly distinctive creative approach. What drove his interaction with Sizaret, and the avenues they took while experimenting with Hope’s individualistic vocal improvisation?

“Henri started the ball rolling with the first three tracks he sent me,” Hope explains. “[He said] they were pretty much improvised and thought I should approach them in the same way.” This provided a thrilling foundation for Pete to work from, inspiring him with the sheer throbbing life of the early tracks Henri sent over. This is apparent in their final form, with their visceral rawness delivering a sense of unpredictability which can unexpectedly ravage the senses.

Asked him about Henri’s approach, and the rawness of the project, Hope responds: ”When I sent the tracks back to him, I insisted that he didn’t do any unnecessary work beyond what had been created, which he was happy to take on board.” 

This stripped approach was new for Sizaret, but proved an inspiring method to work in: “Very little was either added or changed once the vocals had been laid down. So, yes, it’s raw… The project certainly took on a wholly different kind of approach than Henri, who is very clean and precise.”

Formulating words can be a task beset with trial, error and revision, but Hope’s method of approach is laser-focused on producing a sense of immediacy; in harnessing the evanescent and immediate spark of inspiration we attain through sight, sound and touch. 

“I did some reactive writings for the NOT NOW tracks,” he explains, “rather than try and write out the lyrics, which were all spontaneously improvised, along with the vocals.” This creative approach breaks Hope free from being trapped in any sophisticated or complex calculations, or endless iterations that eventually blur any sense of impulsiveness. His method is instant, always in flux, and as a result, never stale.  

“I made a point of not actually listening to the whole of any track before I started recording, only taking in just enough to get a sense of pitch, pace and mood; find enough words to use as a jump off point, and then go for gold,” he says, clearly showing enthusiasm for this breakneck method of music-making. “One take, all the way through,” he says, and this could encapsulate his distinctive approach. 

For Pete, this impromptu method of creation provides the pressure and tension needed to authentically push his own creative boundaries, and tap into the rawness of feeling. His unique interpretation of the core root of the electronic compositions is something sensed, explored, not planned. “Mostly it worked!” he laughs, making light of the considerable efforts he has undertaken to keep his work fresh and vital. “Nothing like a bit of pressure to get the old grey jelly quivering!”

Music, after all, is emotive and transformative. It flourishes through an intuitive sense of feeling, in an attempt to encapsulate authentic expression. Hope also developed another technique to enhance his intuitive writing: “I decided to play the finished tracks, one after the other, no pause, and do a written piece for each track that was triggered by the sound of whichever piece was playing,” he explains. 

This was a way of re-exploring the sonic maps of the original recordings without tainting their purity with revisions, while “putting the pressure on to write six separate pieces in real time,” as Hope describes it. These six stream-of-consciousness pieces will be released alongside the digital and physical editions of the music in the near future.

Hope and Sizaret’s highly instinctive collaboration redefines the boundaries of industrial techno, delivering an immediate wealth of human sensation. The wild, unkempt beauty of these tracks has an immediacy, like an unconscious reaction, or a dream that fades away with the first light of dawn. If you wake up wet, you’ll know why…

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