TF Archives

DJ Tipper and the Chapel St cruiser from hell

Author: Chloe Burke
Wednesday, February 5, 2003
One of the most interesting and obscure figures to have emerged from the electronic music scene would have to be English DJ and producer, Tipper. Describing his sound as 'multifaceted, with a craving for anything weird and left of center,' Tipper has become one of the most influential artists of our time.

Those who have heard Tipper in action know that he has an insatiable appetite for ear splittingly loud basslines. 'I guess everything sounds better loud because of the extra physical dimension that is introduced when low end frequencies are allowed to hit you and move you.' It is a fixation that has been pushed to the greatest of extremes thanks to 'Fuel' partner Ritchie Warren.

With the slogan 'Music for Sound Systems' Tipper and Ritchie -the car enthusiast; developed a sideline in customised cars with larger than life stereo systems, beasts which are then taken to the cream of extreme sport - drag racing. 'We have 2 Black 1970 Dodge Challengers, both fitted with 7500 watts of sound, 6 x 18" bass speakers where the back seats used to be and Turbo Sound mids and tops rising from the boot of each car on hydraulic rams.'

Not surprisingly, the bowel shattering noise that erupts from these speakers has had the Fuel entourage closed down on countless occasions. However, with a mass of hot blooded Miami males out there who understand only too well the marriage that exists between car and sound system, the force of Fuel remains undeterred.

Volume aside, Tippers skills as a DJ and producer are nothing short of jaw dropping. Under Leftfield's 'Higher Ground' label, a subsidiary of Sony, Tipper released his debut album 'The Critical Path.' It's arrangement of harsh breakbeats, snarling basslines and warped sound techniques stunned punters and critics alike. The impossibilities of what Tipper had created caused a stir in the industry. Many still labeled it drum and bass but it was from here that the new sound 'breakbeat' began to emerge.

Sony however did not perform as well as Tipper had hoped. With 'The Critical Path' experiencing low record sales and Sony having a lack of understanding into Tippers sound, the label eventually came to a close. Though not before Tipper had the chance to release many a single and remix for Higher Ground peers DJ Rap, Pressure Drop, Leftfield and Grooverider.

Tipper then went on to form the Fuel imprint with Ritchie Warren. Not only interested in cars and their sound systems, Fuel is a label that clearly pushes the boundaries whilst retaining meticulous sound production.

In quick succession Tipper released 'Holding Pattern,' and although more dance floor friendly than its predecessor, the album was considered a stroke of genius. It delved deep into a more experimental soundscape, with chilled breaks collapsing beautifully into original hip hop, only then to divert towards feisty breakbeat bedlam.

After a recent tour of Europe and the UK for the 'Sound Off' compilation tour, Tipper has been in a 5.1 studio in Los Angeles creating his latest album. In what looks to be a completely new audio experience the aptly titled 'Surrounded' has been recorded in surround sound, and took a staggering seven hundred hours to mix. 'I like making records and had an opportunity to make an album in 5.1 surround sound. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time, so I jumped at the chance.' As for how it differs to his previous works. 'It is in surround sound for a start, so it has extra dimensions to listening than a stereo record. It is also mainly a downtempo record; where as Holding Pattern is predominately a breaks/electro record.'

On the clubbing front Tipper's ability to fuse unique hip hop styles, beats and exquisite melodies with ferocious breaks and basslines have placed him in a league of his own. Tipper assures me we can expect all his expertise to shine but be ready for 'a strange rumbling feeling in your bowels.'