Flying Lotus—the Brainfeeder label head who released the debut album by friend and fellow beat […]
Flying Lotus—the Brainfeeder label head who released the debut album by friend and fellow beat aficionado Mtendere Mandowa (a.k.a. Teebs)—is quoted as saying that Teebs’ first full-length, Ardour, “sounds like an island vacation.” I’d be inclined to disagree with FlyLo unless he amended his statement to read, “Ardour sounds like an island vacation in autumn.” Mandowa—who is also an accomplished skater and painter—has crafted a sublime debut LP brimming with the color and vibrance of summer’s steamy days, but all varnished in the hollow crackle and chill of the oncoming months of fall. It’s a beautiful sound that remains throughout Teebs’ 18 tracks, and makes the nearly hour-long Ardour float by like an invigorating breeze.
Like his beat-scene peers Baths and Asura, Teebs’ music relies just as heavily on melody as it does rhythmic sounds—if not occasionally more so. The ringing chimes of “Burner” and the woozy guitar strums of “Wind Loop” predominate the shuffling beats that periodically interplay with those shimmering elements. Pianos outshine all other sounds on “Moments” and “Lakeshore Ave.,” and the orchestration of harps, violins, and other strings provide captivating centerpieces for “King Bathtub” and “Humming Birds.” It’s this wealth of various arrangements and Teebs’ unflinching dedication to a crisp-yet-lush aesthetic that drives Ardour to heights surpassing many of his young musical compatriots.