Ipman – Depatterning (Tectonic Recordings)

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Jack Gibbons aka Ipman hails from rural Herefordshire in the United Kingdom, and is one of a new generation of bass aficionados taking UK bass sounds into the future.  Ipman’s first album Depatterning was released on Tectonic Recordings on 16 October 2015. I’ve always loved Ipman’s single tracks, and he’s always shown himself to be different than your average bear with his focus on that field of beats in dark space.

I was in an absolutely foul mood. For a whole week. Friends and loved ones had to keep me at arm’s length as I attempted to understand just why I felt so dark. No-one would would listen to me or tell me what I needed to hear.  So I did what you do in those sort of moods, crank up some tunes as self-prescribed medication.  For some of us, music isn’t just music, it’s therapy we need to tackle and make sense of life.

My inner intensity was complimented, synthesised, untangled and neutralised through Ipman’s album, which to me made sense to me on an inner level at that time in being called Depatterning.  Subjectively, Ipman confronts genre and changes concepts we have about it by putting things through his own complex filter and set of aesthetics.  Ipman’s technical production is second to none, with a storm of analog and granular synthesis mangled to perfection through off-kilter drum patterning.

More critically, Depatterning reads less as a flowing whole and more as a collection of songs.  I find that most UK bass acts are more focused on DJing, and I feel this is more of a body of work previously produced and released now to keep fans sated and to distinguish him as a major contender amongst UK bass acts.  If this is the game, it succeeds on this front.

However, it succeeds less if the game was to bring out a tight single message in album delivery, because it’s all over the shop without any sort of introduction or conclusion.  I mean, the album title could suggest an escape from any sort of consecutive motion, but that would be a lazy approach.  I’d say that even though it does jump in between genres, it still conforms to niche genres already established such as UK breakbeat, garage and dubstep, and production is fairly predictable with build-ups made for dancefloors.

Song for song, nearly every single track is a solid player for DJ crates and is unfuckwithable in that regard.  Essentially you can expect dark, seething and atmospheric songs stomping along with a off-kilter stop-start-stop bass kick, and augmented with whips of alternating and layered snarling mid-range bass.  Occasionally you will be surprised by softer moments such as driving breakbeat track ‘Strong Ones’, which progressively introduces a melancholic and redemptive overtone.  However, the real strength is on the heavy, evil and insidious beats pounding relentlessly and defiantly.

Other stand-out tracks include ‘Technicolor’ – the album’s single heaviest and most gloriously dark track, ‘IPA’ – a pulsating and progressively psychedelic showcase of Ipman’s truely unique sound, and ‘U’ – a nebulous and atmospheric syncopation delivering those tendrils of aforementioned mid-range bass with deadly accuracy.

Depatterning is a heavy hitting debut that will mangle your brain, and a real show of Ipman’s impressive arsenal of bass weaponry.  I look forward to hearing more of his stuff in the future.

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