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Delay Grounds - Genus (Lapsus Records, 2021)

On his most personal release to date, producer Patrick Tipler continues to mesmerise with his rapturous and delicate take on Techno, with plenty of stunning moments found along the way as we drift from one constellation to the next.

The blends, the skips, the feverish momentums, the scattering of melody, and the bold brash swells in rhythmic intensity. All of these notions are captured within the contemporary UK Techno scene, which for some time now has been pushing the genre forward via innovative production values, creative balancing of sound design and perhaps above all else, an eye for the little things that make the wider soundscape feel so compelling. For the better part of 15 years now, a number of labels and individuals have been experimenting with the DNA of Techno and pulling it together with a number of other styles that reside alongside it, such as Broken Beat, IDM, Jungle, Glitch and Ambient, and the results have seen a plethora of incredible releases come our way that point to both the talents making these records but also the audial ideals that they hold dear. Electronics make these dreams come a reality, and these producers have managed to find a space within the vast musical galaxy that they can call their own, one where the dimensions of the space are hard to define and even harder to distinguish where one boundary starts and the other one ends. The feeling is that the sky remains the limit, and within many of their discographies you come across music that sounds like no other except for the other sounds found within its realm, and even then the music feels individual and intrinsic to the person who pushed it out the door. Due to the overwhelming options being left open to producers, the possibilities of pulling the overarching sound in a multitude of directions has meant that we are continually greeted with something new, a new take on proceedings always finding a way to worm its way into our ears and our souls. What you are almost guaranteed is a rhythmical masterclass, with the drums playing a key role in setting the parameters of things to come, as melodic elements - big or small, or perhaps somewhere in the middle - slide in and out of time, providing a glimpse of a bigger picture but never giving too much away, but by this point the body doesn't care, it simply wants to move. After a fairly lengthy amount of time, we are still witnessing new members of the scene making big waves forward with their interpretations, continuing the good work via furthering the breaking down of walls and the pushing forward of new combinations into territories that feel familiar, but have a fresh gleen to them. And it is this fresh gleen that feels like a step forward in time, to a not so distant future where electronic neurones pulsate and flicker with an intense fury, as the polyrhythmic flourishes burrow their way into the ground to great effect, causing sonic waves to call out across the plains of existence. Every new record or producer who arrives feels like new ground is being broken, their sound adding immensely to the overarching picture, and for that we feel eternally grateful for their inputs, as we see one strand of the future playing itself out on out towards the horizon line.

If future leaning music is what you were looking for, then producer Patrick Tipler can be your new go-to, with his musical outlay certainly channelling into much of what we touched upon in the introduction. Tipler's musical foundations were seeped in Psychedelica, with these early years seeing him perform bass and guitar in a number of bands, but when he moved to Bristol things started to shift very differently. His discovery of synthesisers and the exposure to the bountiful Bristolian scene saw Tipler's musical ambitions move very much into an electronic sphere, and thus the Delay Grounds alias was created. The sound of this new alias seems very much to be borne out of a genuine curiosity in the capabilities of electronic instruments and music, with every space within his works occupied by an intriguing blemish or flicker, along with a profoundly dynamic sense of progression lurking in there that makes engaging with his tracks all the more satisfying. The genres at play intermingle between Techno, Leftfield, Broken Beat, and many more, with little pieces of the differing styles being placed alongside one another in creating his deeply absorbing sound. Each release has felt like a meander through a highly curated structure, where all the elements feel like they belong for a reason and rather than just be scattered around, they feel interconnected and happy in one another's presence. Tipler binds everything together with a glue that emphasises texture and feel, with sound samples permeating throughout that make the music flow exceptionally from start to finish, with plenty of dips and troughs found along the way that keep engagement at peak levels. As a result of his magic touch, Tipler's sound feels like it could go anywhere and be everywhere all at the same time, with its broad reaching feel cascading through from the high ends right through to the sub-base, as our own personal curiosity remains appealed to throughout the journey into the outer reaches of space and time. As designed sounds go, his is one to keep a firm eye on, and it is a feature which has featured so strongly on his first two releases, starting off with 2020's 'Onomatopoeia', which arrived on the excellent Bristolian imprint Pressure Dome. The music found within rolls off the musical tongue, speaking a language that hints towards glorious complexities and tight pronunciation, with plenty of excellent rhythmical and melodic sequences buried deep within that provide such a plethora of feels. As a foundation to build from, it doesn't get much better than that, and Tipler would build upon this success on his second record, 'Upcycling', which came out earlier this year. The sound on this record is approached in a similar vein, with the music continuing to incorporate a incredible array of flavours and tropes, as progressions continue to be emphasised and points of interest always wowing with their quiet euphoria. Its also worth noting here that a number of sounds found within this record were made from pieces of rubbish found in skips, with these same pieces being used by artist Liz Naden to make the album artwork. In all, Tipler's approach has already reaped enriching rewards, and there really does feel like he is only getting started on the construction of a sonic universe that knows few bounds, a notion that remains evident in the broad reaching appeal of his first two records. The music gleams in the rising sun, reaching its long fingers of groove and density outwards across the lands, washing over the ridges and the flats as it responds to the naturally contorted morphologies in both a physical and metaphorical sense. Tipler approaches his music with an eye for detail that leaves behind nothing, with every single bit of space filled with something meaningful and pure. If you haven't had the chance to check out his previous works, then we highly encourage you to do so.

And now we arrive at his latest effort, 'Genus', which arrives via the brilliant Barcelona based imprint Lapsus. Tipler describes this album as 'my most personal release to date, something I've always carried inside and wanted to produce, but had never managed to articulate before', and you do get the feeling of release permeating through the many moments of quality that persist on this wonderful record. Like with his previous efforts, there's the gorgeous momentum swells, the passive undertones of forceful purpose, and the excellent emotional touches, but there is certainly a greater emphasis placed on the dynamic between rhythm and melody. Keys are given much more time to breathe on this one, with more overtly emotional sequences given time to really shine rather than be allowed to blend into the drumming, and this immediately binds us to the music on a mental level. The dips in energy which provide us with a deep pool to stare inwards at ourselves are then followed by these incredible jumps in energy, all of which serves to move the music onwards and upwards to new heights of being. Its an accumulation of all that Tipler has achieved in his previous works, and feels like yet another angle has been added to the story which could inform further brilliance down the line, but for the moment lets just focus on the here and now, and take a deep dive into this mini masterclass....

Up first comes 'Are We There Yet?', and this one begins with the skipping pulse and the melodic overlays to get us going. The mixture of sounds starts morphing and fluxing as the seconds pass by, and before long a large sweep comes into view and lifts everything off the ground, with this new space becoming occupied by the marching kicks and bass, with the whole ensemble stomping along into new realms. The repeating key line that emerges on top only adds to the momentum being developed, with a second climax arriving to act as the second indicator of significant change, and it is here where we see the bass further amend itself into a new shape entirely. The track then takes a big dip down in terms of energy, with metallic pads moving in and around the repeating vocal samples, and as we look over our shoulder for the big old reveal, the track instead chooses to simmer, with these light pulses stretching out the breakdown, but before long we arrive back into the main progression, and its just as mind melting as it was before. Top notch start. 'I'd Like To See You Try' lands next, and this one begins with the hats and an array of crunchy textural layers to get us started. Additional rhythmic elements throw themselves into the mix as time passes onwards, with each sequence which comes our way seemingly intent on growing further in complexity, as all manner of elements begin to align themselves with the core progression. Melodic elements are delicately interwoven within the drumming frequencies, which is where the main focus remains, as the core drumming line winds its way up through the layers, like a drill moving upwards through the ground beneath, before jumping through onto the surface when the breaks fill snaps into view. More steady melodic features throw themselves into the mix around the half way mark, as the vocal sample calls out to us from across the plains, eager to let itself be known up above the incredible blend of sounds and sights. The track then decreases ever so slightly in terms of density, as it continues to draw its power from the excellent drumming patterns and their ever changing frequencies, as wave upon wave of feeling and rhythm continue to flow our way. Unstoppable, ever evolving and continually engaging, this track is masterfully executed, and we honestly expect nothing less. Excellent stuff.

'Itch' comes on next, and this one begins with the lightest of melodic sequences to get us going. Its feel is one of lightly breezing along the pavement, of a cityscape in the mood for some hyper activity, and as the drums start to align themselves with the core progression you see this feeling come full circle. The two elements pick themselves up and smash on through the walls, as little key lines here and there intermingle with the main progression, which sees some subtle variations being added to provide that sense of dynamism that is such a key feature of Tipler's work. A menacing bass line emerges to inject some ooft into the blend, as the drums continue to grow in stature and intensity, with this ever increasing feel matched by the keys which have now almost doubled up and expanded outwards in terms of scale. The track then pauses for the briefest of seconds, before revealing the most melodic sequence we have had the pleasure of engaging with on this record so far. Perhaps this is a reveal from Tipler, as the complexities which are oh so prevalent within his music give way for a honest sequence of keys, but we move pretty swiftly back into the drums soon after, with pads and keys continuing to throw themselves into the top layers, and we are left feeling incredibly satisfied indeed. Amazing stuff. Up next comes 'Origin', and this one really does take the pace down a notch or two. Drums are used here as a textural tool, their placement and feel soft and cool to the touch, as the focus is draw much to the emotionally charged sounds that persist within the top layers, and Tipler doesn't just rest on the simple nature of placing chords within a track, he makes sure to apply his usual eye for detail in making them feel utterly sublime in regards to layering and texture. Cascading tones overtake the keys for a while but the memory of them always stands firm, and as the track winds down around the half way mark, we are left with the vocal samples to remind us where to return back to when we stop drifting through the universe, and its a wonderful touch that really contextualises the whole collection of tracks we have just come into contact with. Lovely stuff. To wrap things up, we have 'Soft Detach', and this one opens up very well indeed. The drums explode into life like fireworks in the sky, and after doing the rounds in a broken beat kind of way they settle on a steady rhythm, with glitchy melodic notes merging around the kicks to maintain a steady stream within the momentum. We are firmly locked in to the groove, and before long additional pads are thrown in to add that emotional touch, with the track taking a dip down in energy so we can all breath, but we get thrust right back into proceedings once again and this time there's even more layers for us to content with. The little sequences that make their way into the mix are a joy to get to know, with these delicate piano like notes chiming across the top ends with the purest of intentions, as we continue to drift through a nirvana like world, with a warmth in our hearts that feels pure and good. What a record this has been.

There's plenty to celebrate within contemporary Dance Music, with records being released on a constant basis that sound like no other, their contents fulled by inate curiosity and a willingness to understand all that hardware is capable of when paired with an equally imaginative mindset. Patrick Tipler might have only released three records to date, but his sound is one that really captures the imagination when you first come across it, with an array of rhythmical wavelengths being explored that are merged with quite frankly brilliant melodic sequences which dip, dive and weave their way into our consciousness. His latest record is no different, with the only significant change being that Tipler set out to make a sound that he had always had within him, yet until now hadn't felt ready to articulate, and in many ways the languages found within this record speak very much of things which we hold back until the right moments. The dips in energies to reveal a deeper core, the light and often all encompassing melodic features, and the vocal samples all point to a palette which comes from within, a personal touch which is sprinkled atop the drums and does so much to bind us further into the music. Tipler's journey already has so many memorable moments, and we for one are extremely keen to see where things might transpire from here - for now though, we can all submerge ourselves within this beautiful piece of music, time and time again.

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