Within his hometown of L.A, Mtendere Mandowa (otherwise known as Teebs) uses largely organic components to build polychromatic pastiches that he scatters over tracks and canvases. As a musician, he builds his own breed of loose-limbed Hip-Hop rich with woozy shapes that billow and bloom as they ferry listeners towards solaceful inebriation.
Most recently, Teebs joined forces with Warp affiliate Scott Herren (Prefuse 73) to form ‘Sons of Morning’. Together, their exercise in throbbing melodicism was the inaugural release on Herren’s Yellow Year imprint. As a mainstay of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, Teebs’ most extolled achievement to date has undoubtedly been his debut LP ‘Ardour’ released in 2010.
With ‘E S T A R A’, Teebs by no means sets out to redefine the canon he established within ‘Ardour’; but instead seeks to mould new formations with his tried and tested tools.
Straight from the offset the rueful, breathing chords of ‘The Endless’ place a thick, familiar blanket over the listener as Teebs embosoms us in for the presentation. Although unchallenged at this stage, we find ourselves back home in an allaying environment.
An initial highlight is ‘Shoouss Lullaby’ that rains metallic petals down upon a rasping whine before beautifully truncated guitar snippets give way to brash and bashy drums. ‘SOTM’ goes on to render a kind of reverse time-lapse as it’s multifarious elements swim and scurry backwards while his collaborative effort with Populous on ‘Hi Hat’ drives a purposeful punch under chattering rim-shots and jutting melodies.
What does become apparent over time is that although the home we’ve returned to is decorated with a similar palette, its foundations have undergone a degree of galvanisation. With a reliance on tighter rhythmic structures than in previous projects, Teebs uses tempered whacks and low-end thumps to pin his production down somewhat making ‘E S T A R A’ feel more anchored and less wistful than his previous work.
This is particularly evident in his collaboration with Herren under his ‘Prefuse 73’ moniker. The pair use a propulsive kick to tether acoustic tones and washing textures before ‘Wavxxes’ ends the album beautifully; its body tumefies as progress undulates towards Jagga Jazzist’s Lars Horntveth’s conclusive passage of gusty woodwind.
While moving with this greater sense of purpose, Teebs manages to maintain his signature hazy charm throughout. At no point is the listener ushered from beneath the quilt as we’re treated to a deluge of sincerity from a truly commendable artist.