REVIEW: Ipman’s debut album uniquely creative
by Cameron Seibold
Sporting label support from heavyweights, (such as Cold Records, Tectonic Recordings, and Tempa) it’s no surprise that Jack Gibbons AKA Ipman is steadily rising in popularity in the electronic music scene. With the long awaited release of his debut album “Depatterning,” Gibbons has secured his niche in the underground. Ipman is heavily influenced by oldschool jungle and techno, and is relentlessly experimental with his creative process. He uses modified modular synthesizers, drum machines and other bits of hardware to mangle and manipulate his sounds on “Depatterning.” This variety of custom hardware sound design comes together to form a unique sonic palette that is cohesive and brilliantly produced.
“Regicide” opens the album with dark, hissing ambience, building into a smooth reese bass line. A dub sound-clash vocal sample announces the track’s significance, and drops into an energetic jungle breakbeat and sub bass reminiscent of the early ‘90s. It’s sonic quality is off the charts; it is mixed and mastered to perfection, and the percussion hits right where it’s supposed to. What makes it so pleasing to listen to is actually the opposite of most bass focused music. While the low end is crafted very well, the upper frequencies are also very present, creating a nice contrast of both high and low frequencies.
The second track is a clash of genres, shifting rhythms somewhere between 4/4 techno and stepper dub. Layers of bleeps, techno hats, stepper kicks and shifting noise really get at the experimental nature of the album. It subtly shifts back and forth between genres, creating a creative dissonance that is entirely new.
“Gravity” starts off as a techno beat with high hats that shift back and forth and sound reminiscent of a war movie. It suddenly breaks into a rhythm calling back to dubstep, and later features an abrasive reese bassline. This track has a lot to offer headphone listeners as many elements are constantly moving back and forth from ear to ear. Once again, Ipman twists genres together like wet rags, and uses the subsequent drippings to create something fresh.
While most of the tracks are somewhere in between genre boundaries, Track 6 is about as close to straight techno as the album gets. It features the pure 4/4 rhythm we all know and love. Pulsating basslines, bleeps and synth stabs all culminating build a wall of noise and ambience at the end of the track.
Track “¥” is surprisingly Burial-esque (legendary London UK garage producer). The rhythm is definitely a swinging two-step beat with a subdued kick drum and blocky snare. The ambience is controlled by pitched down vocals and a gritty sub bass that shifts from a deep growl to reverberating white noise. It’s definitely a welcome shift at this point in the album as it feels slightly less intense than the first tracks.
“Depatterning” is truly a well-thought-out title for this album, as well as the subtly shifting, colorful album artwork. It indicates Gibbon’s method of creating via deconstructing instruments, genres and rhythms, and admiring the sonic dissonance that is created by the clash. He fuses jungle, dub, techno and dubstep into a beautifully dark and atmospheric sonic experience. This album is an excellent example of what electronic music can be in the hands of a creative mind.