VA – White (Tip World)

Posted in Reviews 2009 by - September 24, 2009
Tip White review



Numanoid vs Mazda open with Everybody’s Gotta Move Their Body, a track that’s only marginally more subtle than its title. The array of sounds is compelling, but it’s let down by an overabundance of stopstart dropped kicks and questionable electro thingies. I can dig this, to a degree — this is where Tsuyoshi is these days, and it’s unavoidably effective dancefloor fodder. But then so is Eskimo. You see what I mean. And Eskimo never used a teeth-strippingly uncomfortable punky guitar.

The criminally under-rated Melovskys make a comeback with Intoxicated, and suddenly we’re in pure electro territory. I’m not quite sure what’s going on here — the 80s influences and dirty bottomend make it something we’d more expect to be released on a Breakspoll annual special than Tip. But I guess that’s the  idea — surprise us and tell us what we want to hear. As tracks go, once again it’s very solid dancefloor material. The dirty (and by dirty I mean downright depraved and filthy, like those photos your sister sent me on MSN that turned out to be a virus) sound would probably sound fantastic in a club but then so do The Smiths, and I know which side of that particular slice of toast I want my Dairylea on thanks very much.

You’d think that seeing Eat Static’s name up on the tracklisting next would plunge us into a more fluid, involved psychedelic experience but I’m afraid this isn’t the case. Throbbing Pistol isn’t a bad tune — it’s interesting, it’s different, and it’s quirky — it’s just that once again we’re in a fairly staccato sort of electro territory once again. The tune itself lacks an engagement factor, lacks that bit of spirit that even Eat Static’s latter fullon stuff had. It’s repetetive, clunky and begs to be skipped.

Legobox is up next with Scrambled Eggs. No, I have no idea who this is. A fallback from the digital revolution perhaps, but getting release info along with promos these days is becoming rarer and rarer, but I will admit that having less information on artists encourages critics to talk about the music some more. Scrambled Eggs is a progressive/minimal tune and, as such things go, it’s disastrous. The sounds are hackneyed, the movement is predictable, the whole thing sounds disappointing and dated. I’d love to be able to say otherwise — but there’s much better examples of this sort of thing out there, and bear in mind that that’s psyreviews saying that, who tries not to pay attention to “that sort of thing”.

We’re into much more familair territory with Duotekk’s Attakk. It’s tight fullon with the odd electro tinge, and I have to say that it does the business. Or at least a fair bit of “the business” (although I concede that this could be because hearing this track after what’s come before it is a little like emerging from underwater and finally getting some air into your lungs.)  It progresses well, it escalates nicely, and the final run is the sort of thing that keeps us all on our toes. There a few misfits, such as overtly clean high-end tickles that aren’t necessary, and one or two more electro touches than there perhaps should be.

One can always rely on Logic Bomb, or so we hope. Their offering (South Africa) is without doubt the best track on here and one wonders why this sort of sound — fresh, exciting, fluid and dynamic — wasn’t the bedrock for the entire compilation.  This is the sort of track that makes me want to get out a knife and carve the words GOOD TUNE ALERT into my forearm. I want more Logic Bomb, the world wants more Logic Bomb, so can we please have more Logic Bomb. Stylistically this tune’s more in keeping with their very early stuff (start at the base chakra and then work your way up) and there’s a topend that… fucking hell, look it’s just brilliant basically. To say this is the best track I’ve heard all year is a bit of an understatement.

Fucking excellent.

Up next is Tranan, who does extremely neat things with Roadrunner. We get a solid backbone, on top of which things swirl and twirl and actually — dare I say it — become quite psychedelic. It certainly makes me want to keep incrementally turning up the volume, which is something of a rarity. The breakdown is divine and the subsequent drop will, as we used to say in Eton, “tear the leaves off the trees in Goa”.

It’s around this point in the album, ladies and gentlemen, that I’m feeling myself fall in love with Tip again. The Logic Bomb plus the Tranan are incredible, really out-of-this-world tracks that the label used to be famous for. I’m almost regretting getting that tattoo of the Tip shiva on my chest changed into one of Les Dawson a few years ago, and I’m starting to contemplate getting it changed back.

Things stay fairly well on track with Lucas & Laughing Buddha’s Lost Properties. It’s not quite as dynamic as the hight points we’ve just ascended, but it’s not far off. It reminds me of all those old Laughing Buddha tracks on various comps and makes me consider setting up a playlist to enjoy all of them in one go. The midsection is pretty neat, and there’s a nice burst of energy at the drop, although unfortunately the final run utilises a flurry of topend stabs that probably aren’t all that necessary.

Finally, 1200 Mics come back from what I thought was the split-up (g)raveyard  with Tribute To Albert Hoffman. You already pretty much know what this is going to be: a big-room 1200 Mics track with samples littered just about everywhere. The track is completely disposable of course, but I’ll concede that it’s effective enough. And by “effective” I mean “cheesy” and by “Tribute” I mean “Hoffman’s family will be pissing themselves”.

And that, ladies and gents, is Tip White. An awkward album if ever there was one.

The first half of the CD is completely baffling. There’s Electro that’s not up to par with other Electro out there, there’s Prog that’s not up to par with other Prog out there. Then by way of Duotekk’s fairly average offering we get two utter crunchers in the shape of Logic Bomb and Tranan; together these two are sure-fire pillars of psychedelic excellence, and it begs the question of why on earth these two tracks weren’t used as the pizza-base for the whole release?

I can understand that Tip are trying to appeal to as many people as possible here. Electro is trendy and Tsuyoshi is a geezer. Progressive is necessary. There’s even a 1200 Mics track for the kids.

In covering too many bases, Tip White suffers from being too too narrow and too shallow in its coverage. Which is a pity, as when the individual parts are good, they’re downright bloody excellent.

I’ll still buy this release, as I’m a sucker for Tip stuff and I guess I’m not alone on that. The prospect of an incomplete collection on a shelf is probably more troubling than the prospect of an album I’ll only ever play two tracks off (which in the scheme of things is probably higher than the average album takeup, but whatever.)

Now for my mini-challenge to Tip. I hold, with all due humility and respect, that I could compile an album twice as good as this. Tip can probably do better, but Tip plus psyreviews equals better to the power of several. So, I hereby broadcast my offer to compile the next Tip release and see if I can put their money where my mouth is and transmit something that does more than echo to times gone by.

I’m not sure if this will ever happen. There are enough people in the Tip camp who would rather see me cleaning toilets in SE One on a Sunday morning than going anywhere near their brand.

Moreover, I can’t help but notice that falling back on “White” as a colour sort of suggests that things have gone as far as they can go. Maybe this is a relic from the Beatles’ White Album, but I can’t help thinking that Tip themselves are suggesting — without doing so in words — that we are at the end of the line.

Which, notwithstanding Tip’s wobbles and blunders in recent years, would be one hell of a shame.

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