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

J.B Seal – ‘All Alone Together’ Ep Review.

Artist – J.B Seal

Ep – ‘All Alone Together’

Genre -Jazz/Hip-hop/Electronic

Published – Distrokid

The highly musically talented, Joseph Barnabas Seal has chosen an inspiring personal outlook towards the current lockdown situation and has stepped progressively forward with a soulful and uniquely sensitive Ep titled ‘All Alone Together’. This four track Ep presents beautiful instrumental tonal shades and stylistic colours, gracefully tying in and blending soulful jazzy elements with hip-hop and electronics, crafting a wonderfully nuanced, cross-over sound that excludes an expression of strength through fragility, hope through underlying fear.

J.B lays down his thoughts on the Ep in the following paragraph.

“I have a career as a live sound engineer, so my music has taken a back burner over the past decade. It’s been the pandemic that’s got me back in the studio and actually finishing things! The release of this current EP ‘Alone Together’ is the last 4 tunes I’ve produced all in Quarantine. One vocal track and 3 instrumentals (4 newest tracks on my Bandcamp). These tracks have filled me with hope, except the one track ‘Survivor Complex’ which expresses my worry.  

For me it’s about connecting with people on a deeper level and I’ve found this pandemic has brought people closer actually. Those vulnerabilities, that we usually hide are ever present at the moment and that window of humanity that is often closed is allowing for deeper connections. It’s a deep and powerful time to be alive and challenge oneself.” – J.B

First track on the Ep, ‘Quaranteam’ enters with style and grace as a delicate, spacious piano part opens which leads slowly and progressively into purposefully solid, trip-hop/jazzy sounding beats, with electronic elements thoughtfully scattered in-between. This track expresses the fragility through strength in which I spoke of above. Track two, ‘Survivor Complex’ is where the electronics sits most prominently, bringing forth an edge that cuts throughout trippy beats and beautiful layers of violin strings in conjunction with piano parts.  J.B delivers a genuine fluid rap flow over this track that is soulful, sensitive and strong.

Track three, ‘Serendipity pt.1’ is a dynamic instrumental piece that enters in a determined, yet  graceful way, expanding and growing in pace and tone as the track progresses. Delivering plenty of electronic FX layers that are dished up through piano parts and beats. For me, this lovely track expresses hope through the underlying fear in which I mentioned above. Finally, ‘Serendipity p.t2’ offers a bright, funky dance club track that has gorgeous ethereal under and overtones, with a stunning vocal sample to libertate the mind and elevate the senses. A lovely way to end this very special, kind and unifying Ep.

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