Eliot Lipp: Peace Love Weed 3D
Old Tacoma Records

After issuing strong releases on Eastern Developments, Mush, Hefty, and Money Studies, Eliot Lipp returns with the premiere full-length on his own Old Tacoma Records. Peace Love Weed 3D shows him to be a master of efficiency and economy: every one of the album's tracks is four minutes and twenty seconds long, and each kicks into gear the moment its predecessor ends. Lipp wastes little energy on titles either (the opener “Yeah” an obvious case in point) but the music's something else altogether. Though the album started out as a collection of loose sketches made on various drum machines and synthesizers which Lipp then cut apart, re-sampled, and enhanced with more samples and live instrumentation (including a studio guitarist—“Guitar Ron”—who he met in the subway station close to the studio), the results sound anything but loose.

Lipp works with a limited palette of sounds—in simplest terms, his music's all about beats and synths—yet he resourcefully spins multiple variations within that template, and consequently the music avoids repetition and stays fresh. I don't know whether Lipp was formally trained as a drummer but his tight and funky beat patterns certainly suggest as much (check out the slamming “Sentinel” as proof), and the exquisite attention he brings to his drums sounds, specifically the snare's crack and the bass drum's huge kick, is something other producers would do well to imitate. He's no snob either: Lipp's just as happy to reference the proggy synth squeal of ELP's Keith Emerson (“Calling Me”) as he is someone considerably more fashionable by comparison. The album shifts stylistically from one track to the next, moving rapidly from ‘80s-styled B-Boy electro-funk (“Proceed”) and minimal acid-techno (“Glowstick”) to steamy techno-trance (“PLW3D”), mechano-funk (“Laser Cave”), and mellow fusion-styled grooveriding (“Sand Castle”). Peace Love Weed 3D is solid throughout but the opener “Yeah” may be the high point , with Lipp blending electro-funk, Radioactivity-era Kraftwerk, and even a faint smidgen of dancehall into an irresistibly charging hybrid. Regardless, there are enough electro-funk grooves, handclaps, and creamy synth melodies in the album's ten tracks to keep Lipp fans happy until the next go-round.

February 2009