David Tipper, or Tipper for short (born c. 1976 in Wimbledon, London) is a British composer and producer specialising in electronic music that ranges from ambient, through trip hop, to uptempo nu skool breaks. His live performances consist largely of his own unreleased compositions, and he is noted for scratching his own sounds over his music, creating a live element of turntablism stemming from prowess early in his career as a vinyl DJ.
Dave Tipper performing live in 2010
|Birth name||David Tipper|
|Also known as||Tipper|
|Born||c. 1976 (age 42–43)|
|Genres||Electronica, breakbeat, glitch hop, trip hop, ambient|
|Occupation(s)||Producer, composer, DJ|
|Labels||Tippermusic, Myutopia, Higher Ground, Fuel Records (UK)|
Tipper is widely respected as a surround sound composer, releasing one of the first albums composed, produced, and intended for the DualDisc format, in addition to providing content for multichannel music industry leaders DTS, Inc.. His talents at sound design (his work is included in several of the major music making software programs), and in digital audio mastering, are also in great demand. His catalogue has been consistently licensed for use as background in a variety of mainstream television programmes, and also featured in commercials and cable television projects.
Tipper was "discovered" as a teenager DJing in a London nightclub by soon-to-be manager Richie Warren. Their earliest conversations centred on bass frequencies and rhythms underlying beats, and they began researching the science involved in creating the most effective dance music. Richie founded Fuel Records (UK), and Tipper released the first of several vinyl EP's in 1997. Renault licensed one of these, Twister, for a European ad campaign. Soon thereafter, Sony UK signed Tipper to their fledgling dance music label, Higher Ground.
In the late 1990s Tipper completed numerous remix projects of his Higher Ground label mates, and released several singles, each highlighting his penchant for electronic dance music with extreme bass frequencies and intricate polyrhythms; this sound helped usher in a popular new music genre referred to as Nuskool Breakbeat, and Tipper is recognised as one of the pioneering producers of this movement. In 1999 Tipper released his first album, The Critical Path. It was not, however, the breakbeat dance record that the label hoped for. Tipper's vision was decidedly more artistic than anticipated, confusing the label as to how to promote it, and disappointing sales led to an amicable parting of ways with Sony.
The Fuel years
During the late 1990s while Tipper was busy in the studio, Richie Warren & Co conceptualised the Fuel Sound System. This consisted of 2 identical black 1970s Dodge Challengers, both fitted with 6 x18" subwoofers (replacing where the back seats had previously been) and a Funktion-One mid/tops speaker unit, that could be raised out of the trunk on hydraulics with the flick of a switch from the driver's dashboard. These cars were able to run independently, without the need for an electrical generator, using 6 batteries charged via an alternator salvaged out of a lorry. With a totally discreet and fully mobile sound system, the Fuel crew, assuming the role of sonic pranksters, began a "pilgrimage" of sound that took them on tour to various music festivals, parties & spontaneous gatherings, setting them up outside events and garnering attention for the label and its artists. One of the urban myths surrounding these appearances recounts the incident at the 1997 V Festival, when Richie Warren received complaints from The Prodigy's stage manager, because the band couldn't hear itself due to the excess volume.
With this activity as a backdrop, Tipper released his second album Holding Pattern in early 2001. Many of the individual tracks from this album found their way into DJ boxes internationally, and accordingly Tipper began touring extensively through Europe, the United States and Australia. Reflecting his travels was the DJ Mix album Sound Off which he completed for Fuel later the same year. Tipper focused on the music, and Richie promoted a lifestyle – taking the cars wherever possible to create a happening around both.
Tipper and long time friend Mike Wallis formed Crunch in the late 90's. The pair released two albums and several EP's together over the following years on labels such as Musik Aus Strom and Mike's own imprint Colony Productions. The Full Moon Gathering 2016 was their first USA performance together in over a decade.
While touring across the United States in 2003 with the Fuel cars, Tipper began composing tracks for what would become his first album intended entirely as a surround sound listening experience. Surrounded was released in 2004 by fledgling 5.1 venture MyUtopia Recordings. Eventually nominated as Best Album Intended for Surround Sound this downtempo album also marked a turn in Tipper's musical output away from the NuSkool genre which he was more widely associated with. It was during this period that digital music sales and/or reproduction usurped the music industry, and ultimately Fuel Records (UK) met its demise. As Tipper toured and performed his album in 5.1 wherever possible, Richie re-focused his talents towards advanced automobile parts, and Tipper set off on a non-stop touring schedule for two years, with London only a temporary base between tours. Constantly seen living out of his suitcase, and keeping his "studio" in his backpack, earned him the temporary moniker The Global Nomad.
Late 2004 saw his Surrounded album re-released as a DualDisc title, and this in turn led to the creation of his personal MP3 Surround Sound Player, by mp3 rights holders Fraunhofer Society. Regarded as one of the foremost composers in the multichannel realm, Tipper continues to provide content for a number of companies who use his highly detailed productions to demonstrate their own advanced technologies.
2005 witnessed the establishment of his own imprint Tippermusic, and he embraced the digital music revolution for the freedom it gave musicians to finally determine their own path. No longer constrained by label requirements, Tipper set about releasing his music independently, mostly via online stores. Some investment was made in CDs and vinyl, but ultimately online sales figures showed their declining relevance for his style of output.
Tipper began releasing albums at an accelerated rate. First was the ground breaking Tip Hop, which focused on merging hip hop production with electronic trickery and helped usher in a new genre referred to as glitch hop. He immediately followed up with Relish The Trough, which was material consisting of compositions from his catalogue used primarily for his performances on tour. Both albums found favour in Hollywood, and a number of tracks were used as background in prime-time television shows.
His second full downtempo release The Seamless Unspeakable Something debuted in 2006, with Tipper in full guise as an electronica trip hop artist. Tracks from this album also found favour as background music for TV shows. In 2007, he digitally remastered his old vinyl catalogue and quietly released The Fuel Years and Higher Ground. In early 2008, he decided to make available more of his unreleased "performance catalogue" and thus Tertiary Noise was ushered in.
His 9th studio album, Wobble Factor would be unveiled later in 2008, and solidified Tipper's influence on the burgeoning glitch hop musical movement, especially in the United States.
Shortly after its release, his health demanded his immediate focus, curtailing his studio time and forcing cancellation of all tour dates. While recuperating over time, he laboured on his new ambient/downtempo LP, Broken Soul Jamboree. This album showcased many facets of Tipper's composition and production style, with striking artwork for the album cover and a limited edition poster accompanying the initial CD run.
After Broken Soul Jamboree, Tipper released a series of EPs. These included Snake Eyes, the Bubble Control/Puzzle Dust/Shatter Box trilogy, and an EP of three remixes from that trilogy, "Dusty Bubble Box", which was released to raise money for his medical expenses. In 2013, Tipper announced he would only participate in two festival appearances for health reasons. On 6 June, he underwent a successful mitral valve repair surgery. Shortly after his recovery, the full-length album Forward Escape was released in 2014. It took on a darker, more electronically-driven tone than its predecessors, and marked the beginning of a new Tipper sound. He has since released an EP with a similar sound, Fathoms, and a more purely electronic EP, It's Like...
His notoriety has risen considerably in these years as well, and he is often featured as a headlining act at electronic music festivals spanning the entire continental US, with an extensive showing on the West Coast and occasional East Coast shows. Often, especially when he plays over multiple evenings, Tipper splits his sets into "uptempo" and "downtempo." His "uptempo" sets feature fast tempos and tend toward being a wild dance party. His downtempo sets feature slow to medium tempos and heavy use of melodies. He has also begun to play occasional ambient sets, which generally have limited seating and sell out quickly.
As of 2015, Tipper continues to play concerts a few times a year, and frequently appears at Burning Man.
In April 2016, Tipper headlined his first ever appearance at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida, USA, during Tipper & Friends - The Full Moon Gathering. He confirmed after the show that he would return in 2017.
In August 2017, Tipper curated his own Tipper & Friends music festival at the Astral Valley Art Park, 45 minutes south of St. Louis, Missouri. The event was called '4321' and was held to commemorate the 2017 Solar Eclipse. The venue itself is located in the path of direct totality, and attendees were provided custom Tipper-themed safety glasses to view the event.
In January 2018, Tipper curated yet another "Tipper & Friends" event, this installment being a "4 Nights in NOLA" event (also known as the "4567" event) located in New Orleans, Louisiana. This event took place from 4 to 7 January and featured two historic New Orleans venues: Tipitina's & the Orpheum Theater. In further homage to New Orleans culture and musical heritage, the event included legendary local acts such as DJ Cochon de Lait and The Madd Wikkid. This four day event has been the 6th and most recent installment of the "Tipper & Friends" events to date.
Following the conclusion of the "4567" event, it was announced that Tipper is expected to present an "ambient journey" performance on 20 April at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. The event is also listed to feature legendary kora players Toumani Diabaté and Sidiki Diabeté.
|1997||Six Pak||Fuel Records (UK)|
|1997||Bassgunner||Fuel Records (UK)|
|1998||Twister||Fuel Records (UK)|
|1999||L.E.D. Down||Higher Ground|
|2000||Dissolve (Out)||Higher Ground|
|2013||Dusty Bubble Box||Tippermusic|
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