Eliot Lipp: The Outside

Just try to sit still while listening to Lipp's intoxicating production on this blend of early hip-hop and techno.

Eliot Lipp

The Outside

Label: Mush
US Release Date: 2008-04-08
UK Release Date: 2008-04-28

Perhaps it was the fact that I was listening to The Outside while playing Bomberman. Or maybe it was a realization made after hearing the album for a third time. But something clicked. In any case, something just felt right as Eliot Lipp's tightly crafted IDM-infused beats and synths crept from my speakers. As I alluded to, his music works very nicely as a replacement soundtrack for video games, particularly older gems like Bomberman.

After reading up on Lipp, however, it turned out that what I thought I had discovered was merely his style of production. His blending of early hip-hop and techno bangs as much as it grooves, making it the perfect accompaniment to an hour of casual old-school gaming. And it does not hurt that some of his analogue synth work seems inspired by chiptune music, like the instantly lovable "The Area". The same goes for "See What It's About", which sounds like a leftover Boards of Canada track made for Sonic the Hedgehog.

Yet, as I strategically placed bombs to take care of any enemies within my blast radius, it become increasingly clear that The Outside is primed more for a club than my bedroom. That fact became obvious when I, a person who cannot dance worth a lick, wanted to do my best impression of someone who can actually dance. But all of that aside, Lipp has truly made something special here.

While some might argue that he is cashing in on the fully blossomed electro-dance scene, those people would be completely wrong. First of all, he has been honing his hip-hop/techno fusion since before dropping his debut in 2004. Secondly, his sound hardly relies on any cheap tricks utilized by his contemporaries. If comparisons are your thing, Lipp is like your favorite IDM artist meshed with Mantronix, but with a bit more balls. So it makes sense that the always experimenting Scott Herren, or Prefuse 73, put out Lipp's debut on Eastern Developments. The two producers clearly share a common and obvious love for everything hip-hop as well as the realm of electronic music.

From album opener "The Outside" all the way through "It's Time to Leave", this record seamlessly transitions from one banger to the next. The aforementioned "The Area" and "See What It's About" are both stunning efforts that are mellow but danceable. Even the far-too-short "Baby Tank", which sounds like a Food For Animals production, is captivating. Another standout is "Beyond the City". It draws from so many different sources that making a comparison would be useless. At times, Squarepusher emerges in the foreground, but then he's gone in a matter of seconds. The same goes for the French duo Air, whose earlier work comes to mind with the synths that float in and out.

Although there are some weak points on here, like the wavering "7 Mile Tunnel" that slogs on for a minute too long, that folly will most likely be overlooked by listeners more concerned with the steady groove than the length of the song. Also, while it's tough to label this trait as a frailty, The Outside is very much comprised of 'mood music.' Throw it on at the wrong time and you may find yourself hitting the 'next' button. Chances are, however, that after your first spin, something will grab you. And you will keep going back for more, all the while trying to figure out exactly what was so intriguing.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.