In a genre dominated by cookie-cutter rhythms and repetitive beats, it becomes easy for longtime fans of electronic music to grow bored of the once-groundbreaking category. Fortunately, 2019 has flipped the tables on this trend with the introduction of a new album by Britain’s own Dave Tipper.
Since his first musical release in 1997, Tipper has become well-known among the more devoted fans of electronic music for his unique, avant-garde approach to the genre. “Jettison Mind Hatch” is Tipper’s newest project, featuring a 12-track LP; it successfully continues his pattern of innovative and experimental sounds while maintaining a hallmark, somewhat pristine balance between the abject and the beautiful.
2019 might be less than halfway over, but “Jettison Mind Hatch” has already made a sound case for itself as the best electronic album of the year. Tipper’s deviation from the ancient norm of backbeat motifs has hoisted him onto the big stage.
One of the more impressive features of Tipper’s discography is his vast range in style, which features tempos ranging from ambient to up-tempo and everything in between. Each of his albums and EPs seem to center around a specific tempo, thereby increasing the overarching experience of listening to each collection.
“Jettison Mind Hatch” is no stranger to this theme as the album entirely embodies the down-tempo side of Tipper’s music. Incorporating such eclectic rhythms only further enhances the value of the album: each song feels fastened to the others, and the whole of the album holds much more meaning and emotional value than its individual parts. With that being said, it’s nearly impossible to talk about “Jettison Mind Hatch” without also raving over some of its individual tracks and how they contribute to the complete product.
Quite the peculiar name for an opening track! Saying “goodbye” to his fans at the beginning of a 12-song voyage evokes the sense that the listener really is on their way down the rabbit hole — Tipper is just nice enough to wave goodbye before they do.
This idea permeates the track, and the smooth, introductory melody instantly hooks the listener. The trance-like melody soon gives way to a brilliantly composed beat that, while heavy and encapsulating in itself, never detracts from the serenity of that first ambient minute. The heavy, bass-driven clicking noises coincide perfectly with the melodic synth and provide the listener with a perfect foundation through which they can appreciate the song’s intertwining layers.
Essentially, “Sayonara” is the perfect song to listen to on headphones, as its complex and unorthodox structure already succeeds in transporting the listener to a world separate from reality. Listening on headphones simply catalyzes the experience, helping the listener to detach themselves from the real world.
Already a designated fan-favorite just two weeks after its release, “Vection” is only the second track on Tipper’s album and proves to be one of the more groundbreaking pieces of his career. It begins with an introduction, similar to that of “Sayonara,” that eases the listener into a state of serenity and solace.
“Vection”, however, quickly diverges from this pattern through its depiction of the darker and grittier side of Tipper’s music. Even the opening melody, though beautifully crafted, carries a haunting and hallucinatory vibe that foreshadows the song’s chaotic end.
“Vection” is a crescendo into madness, amplified by the enticing harmony between synth and percussion that makes the listener feel like they are falling into a euphonious vortex. The crescendo comes to a climax just after the album’s longest vocal sample. “That is where all the noise is, inside your mind,” Tipper sings, the words booming through the subsiding backgrounds, followed suddenly by the most thunderous and bass-heavy drop on the album (and the planet).
The transition into madness is suddenly complete and the listener is left in a stupor, uncertain as to what they’ve just heard yet fully entranced by its dynamic payoff. They are left with no better option than to replay the song over and over as they begin to embrace Tipper’s masterful approach to downtempo music.
“C’est La Vie” is perhaps the most unique song on “Jettison Mind Hatch,” and that’s saying a lot. What begins as a soft fade-in of whisper-like sounds quickly transforms into the most bizarre symphony you’ve ever heard. The song kicks into full gear when a captivating melody of voices saying “wuwwa” collides with slow, staccato bass tones. The faint sounds of mandolin strings hum in the distant periphery, enticing the listener to tune in and welcome their mystification.
What ties the track together is one of the most perfect violin samples ever used in an electronic song. Placed cleverly at precise but occasional intervals, the beautiful bow plucks otherwordly magic. The result is something absolutely beautiful, worthy of appreciation by even the pickiest of electronic fans.
While Tipper doesn’t often incorporate the sounds of standard instruments into his music, he proves with “C’est La Vie” that this is simply a style choice. Not only does the presence of familiar instruments in “C’est La Vie” provide the listener with a break from Tipper’s predominantly electronic style, but their collision with that style also challenges the tropes that often define the typical EDM artist.
The three songs listed above are only a fraction of what “Jettison Mind Hatch” has to offer. With that being said, they are perhaps the greatest example of how Tipper is pushing the genre more than any other electronic artist today.
Artists such as Big Wild, GRiZ and LCD Soundsystem have certainly released some fantastic albums this year, providing Tipper with an ample amount of competition for 2019’s best electronic project. Despite his competition, however, Tipper has proven with his latest album that nobody deserves the title more than him, solely because none of the other albums push their artists out of comfort zones or take risks with new sounds.
Each of the other candidates’ albums, though impressive in their own right, mirror the music that preceded them more than does “Jettison Mind Hatch” for Tipper. His newest album not only pushes the boundaries on electronic music as a whole, but it also acts as clear proof of just how diverse of an artist Tipper is by how much it contrasts with the rest of his discography.
Sure, the album still maintains his signature style, but it does so in a way that feels fresh and new to even the most hardcore of Tipper fans. While it’s certainly possible that the remainder of the year holds a slew of albums worthy of 2019’s title for best electronic album, it’s safe to say Tipper’s newest album is currently sitting on the throne.