Released on Scott Herren's Eastern Developments imprint, Eliot Lipp's self-titled debut is bubbling with lo-fi instrumental hip-hop that manages to sound fairly fluid despite the creaky equipment that it was created on. Put together with only a somewhat beatdown 70s synth (missing a few keys and knobs) and an equally clunky sampler, the disc manages to get by without sounding like it's on the verge of falling apart, instead fitting together spacey keyboard lines and thumping drums like so many others before him.
Musically, this debut album is solidly constructed and has some decent hooks, yet it simply feels like there's something missing a lot of the time. On short cuts like the choppy album opener of "Beverly Rhode," things fly by so quickly (opera singer, upright bass sample, gritty drums and keyboards) that it sounds pretty fresh, yet in other places the album locks into a solid groove and although the melodies are there and the beat programming is popping, it just feels like it's been done before.
"Deep" and "Gordo" are both perfect examples of the above problem. In each, there are plenty of different loops and things going on, but at about five minutes running time apiece they recycle the same bits too many times without moving in any new directions. Whereas labelhead (and seeming frontrunner of the genre) Herren has increasingly upped the ante in his work in terms of keeping things unique and fresh, this entry from Lipp has the rugged aesthetic down but the tracks themselves often sound like a lot of the other buzzy synth/crunchy beats stuff out there. There are some winning combinations, as on the stuttering, static-filled "Abercrombie And Pitch," and lo-fi warbling of "Cashed," but a lot of the rest of the release just doesn't stick out much in the increasingly crowded field of instrumental hip-hop.