|Eliot Lipp first came to my attention a year or so ago with a fun piece of studio turntabilism called “Rap Tight,” and while I hadn’t heard from him since then, I was pleased to find The Outside in my mailbox. And before we go any further, let’s clarify a few things. One, this is instrumental, hip-hop/electronica with one foot firmly in the tradition of quick-moving, engaging but danceable beat-making plotted out by visionaries like Prefuse 73 and DJ Shadow. To that end, if you aren’t into wordless grooves and synthesizer-heavy tracks, you ain’t gonna like this. And furthermore, as critics have their own niche, I feel the need to confess that however you classify this music, I’m a little out to sea here. I can remember the last time I reviewed an instrumental album (Matmos!), but not the last time I reviewed one in this vein.|
But change, in this case, is a good thing. And Lipp’s The Outside should either strike a pleasant chord in you somewhere out of familiarity or send a few interesting surprises your way. The title track, which kicks off the album (and which I’ve listened to probably thirty times alone), is a playful bout of ribbon-y synth lines and popping drum beats. “The Area” has something of a 90s piano dance vibe, and elsewhere Lipp explores the territory marked out by Dr. Dre’s G-funk movement (“See What It’s About”) and delves into his own electric fusion with album stand-out “7 Mile Tunnel,” which reminds me a little of a more sinister Ray Lynch. Probably a lame comparison, but again, my vocabulary with this sort of music is limited. It is wordless, after all.
Lipp moved to Brooklyn recently, and a preoccupation with the unmistakable urbanity of New York spills over from the cover art, to the song titles, and finally gives the music a tone of restless and detached energy, that of subway tunnels and the constant ebb of motion of a city that never sleeps. It might be overreaching, but an input-friendly approach like Lipp’s provides for many interpretations. For some, that’s going to be a drawback, and for others, that’s definitely part of the appeal. - The Apiary News