Music

Old School New Age

Eliot Lipp Is Okay with Smooth Jazz

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BEFORE CALLING Eliot Lipp in Brooklyn to talk about his new album How We Do: Moves Made—his collaboration with childhood best friend and longtime record-shopping/beatmaking companion Jasia 10—I was listening and taking notes. Here is, verbatim, what I jotted down about the track "Ace in the Hole": "Experimental smooth jazz horns, but good. Shimmery washes of '70s sci-fi synths. Herbie Hancock. Kind of new age."

I was bracing myself to ask Lipp the unavoidable but potentially derisive question, "What's up with your album sounding like 1970s new-age smooth jazz?" when he brought it up himself in those exact terms.

"We wanted it to be like the weird late '70s records that we love and have sampled from, but an updated version. We wanted it to have a new-age sound like smooth jazz, and sometimes it even has an adult contemporary vibe. That's the reason why we called the record How We Do," explains Lipp with a laugh. "When we were recording, I kept thinking about it and I said to Jasia, 'Dude, I love this and I know you do too, but like, listen to this shit, this is like straight smooth jazz, man. We're going too far.' But then Jasia was like, 'No, this is how we do. This is the music we would make if we didn't have to try and sell it to anyone.'"

That's not to say the album doesn't have broader appeal. The two friends each left their own discernable mark on the jazz-inspired music, modernizing it with hiphop touches and unexpected key changes—"all Jasia," according to Lipp, while he claims responsibility for the more repetitive, techno references. The album is on Lipp's own Old Tacoma imprint, which gave them the breathing room to do whatever they wanted with the sound.

"I didn't have to try and convince someone that it's cool, because I know it's not," says Lipp. "I know it's not the hip new genre of music, but I'm stoked on it. It's what we're really excited to be making."

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