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Tertiary Noise

(Tipper Music; US: Available as import; UK: 13 Feb 2008)

According to apples or something, an object in motion wishes to remain in motion. For British DJ and car freak Dave Tipper, his current momentum is dissipating and he’s about ready for a toss in a new direction. Since the late 1990s, Tipper has been riding the crest of the nu breaks movement. He took the massive warping subbase of jungle, slowed it down a whack, and threw more techy sounds and crazy digital scratching over it. Tertiary Noise—his seventh full-length in almost as many years—brings his explorative and innovative catalogue full circle. Touted as “quite likely Tipper’s final foray into the uptempo breakbeat genre that he helped create,” this album collects splices, reissues, remixes, previously exclusive live pieces, and a few originals to act as an informal retirement of this period of production.

The obscure “A Touch of the Vapours” was originally released a decade previous under the name Laudanham Vapour Gardens back around 1998. Now, it’s brought to you so restored and retouched, you’d think it is Dave’s latest and greatest. It kicks the record off on a similar note to “Whomi” from 2005’s The Seamless Unspeakable Something, raising a firm electronic tone with bubbly glitches that build to a solid foundation hinting at bass. The track starts peaking about two-and-a-half minutes in with a huge bassline and ever-changing skittering computer clicks that feign percussion, cushioned gracefully by an ethereal synth lead. The following “Re: Am Ing The Light Fantastic” isn’t terribly remarkable on its own, but knowing it’s a hybrid of a track from Seamless and another from Relish The Trough helps. Dave basically takes his favourite sounds from each classic cut and follows them to a similarly punchy conclusion.

In light of the massive critic success of Burial and Benga, the dub remix of Relish‘s “Swipe” is certainly timely, and could be pointing towards things to come. The original was a party thumpin’ breaks jumper the likes of which makes the Lawgiverz mask jewels shine. However, the Tertiary version is born to spliff. The sounds fit their new context with hardly any tweaking. It’s remarkably natural.

Likeminded visionary Si Begg dusts off a couple oldies but goodies here, both of which pay off beautifully. First, “Furlong”, from 2002’s Holding Pattern, practically gets doubled over itself, with moodier tones, a reimagined bassline, and busier production. He manages to outdo his source material on that one, breathing enough new life into the track to future proof it for years to come. His treatment of “Dissolve” is a tougher call, being as it was originally a two-part track on Tipper’s 2000 debut The Critical Path, and formed about the most moving section of that release. Begg reconstitutes it well, though, with a crispy, melodically rich subbase, fragile vocal deconstruction, and a pure get-up beat. At the very least, it’s comparable.

One of the rare originals here, I’m sure “Deez Bass Lessen” killed dancefloors for some time with its sped up boom-bap beat, sweeping lower frequencies, faux water droplets, and hardcore “he-ooh” hip-hop sample. You can tell he held onto that track for a while, though, as the overall production is not as intricate as anything off his last three records, but it’s still easily up to his standard. Also retired from exclusive live play, “Carousel” sounds a little newer even with a couple of familiar presets. The track centers around a sketchy organ loop and a dense bassline that won’t let you sit down, doubling its efforts in the second half with a toy guitar and plinky peak. It’s like Hexstatic took a sudden interest in brown notes.

On the whole, given Tertiary Noise is a compilation by nature, it’s hard to give it full credit as an album. There are more than enough reasons for fans to buy it, but newbies would be better off hitting up his amazing back catalogue first or, better yet, seeing him live. I caught his set at the Shambhala festival a few years ago and totally lost my shit. I had never heard of him before that day, but you better believe I haven’t forgotten his name since, despite the LSD. He’s a born showman, a technological wizard, and funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter. Dig him, or forever hold your breaks.


Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.

Tagged as: breakbeat | si begg | tipper
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