November 2, 2011
Review: Teebs – ‘Collection 01’
Teebs – Collection 01
If you’re not already aware of the Brainfeeder label and its contribution to the modern music world, then an exploration of all the wonder it has to offer could potentially wreck your mind if experienced in one sitting, so start slowly and work your way in. This latest offering from Teebs, ‘Collection 01′, would work well as both a jumping off point into the Brainfeeder universe and as a welcome stop along the way for those already on the train.
Teebs, real name Mtendere Mandowa, is instilled with teachings from time spent submersed in the LA scene built around the fabled Low End Theory club, as well as a co-residency with fellow beat tweakers Samiyam and label boss Flying Lotus, leading to Mandowa becoming a natural addition to the Brainfeeder stable.
To borrow a couple of horrible yet applicable adjectives from the Ibiza Chillout dictionary, Mandowa is a true merchant of “chilled” and “blissed out” productions. Here there is little of the ‘over-jerked’ shuffle of Flying Lotus or the Weather Report bass meanderings of Thundercat: of any of the Brainfeeder collective, ‘Collection 01′ ploughs similar ground to the more restrained end of the Daedelus catalogue. Indeed, there are stylistic similarities between this set and that of Mandowa’s collaboration with the sharply dressed label hopper on last year’s LA Series 6, as well as a natural continuation from his impressive debut ‘Ardour’.
‘Just the Yellow Bits’ opens with a tambourine loop similar to that of Radiohead’s ‘Reckoner’ from ‘In Rainbows’, and given the seemingly devoted relationship between Mr Yorke and the Brainfeeder crew, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that it’s a straight out sample. Nevertheless, it soon gives way to a softly flowing couple of minutes of warm chords and playful beats: a gentle easing into the hot bath that is ‘Collection 01′.
The real magic on show here is how Mandowa shows range while maintaining coherence, from echoing astral-soul (‘Cook, Clean, Pay the Rent (New House Version)’) to cascading harp loops and pensive, spacious beats (‘Jahara’, ‘Verbena Tea with Rebekah Raff’). Indeed, this latter cut belies Mandowa’s previous work as a skilled painter, an art form that seems to have influenced his music making with attention paid to levels of texture and whole soundscapes over loop-based composition.
The gorgeous ‘LSP’ features the otherworldly keys work of frequent Thundercat collaborator Austin Peralta, who layers spread chords over restless percussion rattles, before riding seamlessly into an incessant but not overpowering beat drop. The subsequent ‘While You Dooooo (Extended)’ and ‘LSP’ are natural bedfellows, and provide a striking mid-album fulcrum on which the tracks either side are perfectly balanced.
‘Collection 01′ is a perfect set for those that fiend for that distinctive Brainfeeder flavour to their beats, but have perhaps grown a little weary of FlyLo’s extensive noodling or TOKiMONSTA’s all-out rhythmic assault.
Read this review in context over at HYPONIK