Eliot Lipp: Immediate Action #10

Eliot Lipp: Rap Tight

Having issued a self-titled full-length in late 2004 on Eastern Developments, Eliot Lipp now surfaces on John Hughes' Hefty Records with two new EPs, the first his contribution to the Immediate Action 12-inch series and the second a teaser for the upcoming Tacoma Mockingbird album. Compared to the 'instrumental hip-hop' norm, Lipp's style is less cluttered and also—notwithstanding some stuttering edits near the end of “Rap Tight”—more direct; his largely downtempo sound is also sweetened by a broader incorporation of soul and jazz elements.

Recorded in Chicago, the three songs on Immediate Action 010 (issued on red vinyl no less) exude a palpable big city vibe that's timeless and fresh. Spurred on by funky Rhodes shadings, the bright wail of a tenor sax sails over a chugging, head-nodding groove in “Cushman” while a double-time drum pulse streams throughout “Real Tragic,” the bright splat of its snare couched in a delicate weave of minimal bass lines, acoustic guitars, and alternating voice samples. In “Sheridan,” the tenor pluck of an acoustic bass posts an hypnotic ostinato while swaying rhythms burrow their way through synth clusters.

The Rap Tight single doesn't depart dramatically from the Immediate Action material but don't interpret that as criticism ‘cos the material's just as strong. Don't be deceived: there's no MC anywhere to be heard on the title cut but labyrinthine synths do coil and (w)rap tightly around the song's snappy groove. Lipp builds a funky backing in “The Shade” by looping a sample from The Eagles' “One of these Nights” before closing shop with the fleeting fusion-meets-hip-hop coda “Nokia.” If the shorter Rap Tight impresses slightly less than Immediate Action 010, it still more than adequately whets the appetite for Tacoma Mockingbird.

November 2005