1980 (age 37)
Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, United States
After more than eight years of global touring, seven solo albums, countless collaborations, label-head tastemaking and vital artist-incubator in the USA's most critical beat-making cities (SF, Chicago, NYC), Eliot Lipp's status as an electronic music pioneer is known to scene connoisseurs and weekend warriors alike. Lipp's omnivorous tastes are apparent, from the obvious funk and myriad manifestations of hip-hop though less explicit reference points as jazz fusion, folk and techno. His well-earned reputation as a producer's producer stems in part from his craftsmanship. Never content with well-worn breaks and effects, his work incorporates a fetishistic love of analogue gear with sampledelic flourishes, intricate rhythmic patterns and more than a few leftfield surprises. But his melodic instincts and tunefulness are what have earned him such wide appeal, his songwriterly connection to music's storytelling possibilities, even without words.
When Eliot Lipp first arrived on the scene with his self-titled solo album in 2004 (Eastern Development), he seemed to have a fully formed aesthetic out of the gates. Lipp displayed an intuitive knack for teasing earwormy melodies out of rhythmic bangers, and drew from a remarkably mature sonic palette - two qualities that immediately set the young instrumental producer apart from his oft-indistinguishable beatmaking brethren. Since that promising debut, Lipp has played to his strengths while creating an imposing body of work with a style uniquely his own.
After spending formative, collegiate years in San Francisco, Lipp found his next home of Chicago—along with label Hefty Records and the fertile, exploratory music scene that surrounded him—to be an indisputable font of inspiration that resulted in two full-lengths in 2006. Lipp's Tacoma Mockingbird record—named in homage to his boyhood home in Washington State—is a study in contradictions, as back-to-basics hip-hop and electro breaks underpin a more nuanced approach. He soon followed with Steele Street Scraps, a record that makes great use of some of his many collaborators. While it can't be said that his Chicago years resulted in the post-rock phase one might expect from his associates, it seems to have laid the groundwork for greater compositional maturity to come.
After time immersed in Los Angeles' vibrant community of producers, Lipp crossed the continent to set up shop in Brooklyn. His 2007 album, City Synthesis (Metatronix), is notable for its relaxed tempo, while the following year's The Outside (Mush Records) proved to be a thorough artistic breakthrough, his most formally complex and emotionally engaging work yet. Lipp's irrepressible creativity found another outlet in his Old Tacoma Records label, offering the opportunity for more diverse collaborations and a greater range of expressiveness. That freedom yielded 2009's Peace Love Weed 3D: a release that upped the electronic ante and supplemented his boom-bap instincts with futurefunk details. He followed this with collaboration from long-time friend and producer Jasia 10 for How We Do: Moves Made (2011).
(2) Eliot Lipp grew up in Tacoma, WA, listening to hip-hop artists such as RZA and Hieroglyphics before moving to San Francisco in 1998 when he turned 18. There, he was influenced by the music of Dan the Automator and Madlib, while also spending time in Chicago, where he was schooled in electronic music. His tracks got into the hands of Scott Herren of Prefuse 73 and Savath + Savalas, resulting in a release on Eastern Developments in November 2004. After moving to Los Angeles, Lipp's next recording, Tacoma Mockingbird, which draws together elements of hip-hop, electro, soul, disco, and funk, was released on Hefty in spring 2006. ~ Kenyon Hopkin, Rovi
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