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Teebs - Ardour [Album]

Teebs - Ardour [Album]

Brainfeeder Records

Review   2721 Views
Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire December 31st, 2010.

In 2007, music producers Flying Lotus and Samiyam (aka Steven Ellison and Sam Baker), met a young skater in Orange County, USA by the name of Mtendere Mandowa. He had recently suffered a leg injury forcing him to take time off from skating and instead focusing his time and energy on his other calling in life; music. Under the moniker of Teebs, the two producers took him under their wing and in purchasing his first sampler; the twenty-three year old started to create his début album, Ardour.

With the hip-hop, experimental and electronic influences from his new friends, Teebs found himself creating a diverse sound which mixed the three and gave them all a new lease of life. Flying Lotus has been quoted as saying that he describes Teebs’ music as sounding “the way Avatar looks,” which is a perfect description in my eyes. The mainly instrumental tracks evoke the imagery seen on the film’s home planet Pandora, with its many vivid colours, textures and sounds. There’s a tribal sound in “Felt Tip” and with what sounds like a rain stick instrument (think that’s what it’s called?!), it effortlessly creates a very serene picture in my head, taking me straight to a rainforest canopy during a rainstorm. Its unusual and irregular heartbeat style rhythm can also be heard on “Gordon.” Echoed chimes and twinkles make the track sound like it was recorded in a cave and its subtle melody is repeated but surprisingly not tedious.

The hip-hop influence is definitely present, especially in the rhythm of the wonderfully named “King Bathtub.” Alongside the gentle, but prominent thumping, there’s a lovely continual harp sample which makes everything very dream-like; a meditative track for the modern generation. The one track with some vocal contribution is “Long Distance” which features singer Gaby Hernandez. It opens with samples of bird-like sounds, cut and pasted erratically into the mix. Gaby’s lyrics are hazy and unclear, although it seems to be intentional; acting as more of another instrumental texture than a straight-forward vocal performance. It’s sultry and soothing and the harmonies are as soft as cotton wool.

Ardour is a mind-boggling collection of songs that depict nature through sound, narrating it in all its miraculous forms. However, with a modern twist of electronic and hip-hop motions in its underlying, flowing stream, it’s unlike anything I’ve heard before; Chill-out music at its most experimental but still vitally accessible to everyone. I have nothing but respect for Teebs, particularly as he’s still so young. Even his artwork used for the album’s cover seems beyond his years. If this is what he’s creating now, it’ll be interesting to say the least to see where his creativity takes him.

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