Teebs (real name Mtendere Mandowa) may be one of the most exciting producers to emerge from the ‘wonky’ scene. Some critics dismiss him as a mere ‘student of Flying Lotus’, but his music sounds steeped in earth and nature much more than in space, for example. Mere comparisons doesn’t do his unique sound justice.
What I love is the way Teebs approaches a song like one of his own paintings (which make up the cover art for his releases); he blends all kinds of shades together into a coherent result, from harp to piano to windchimes, effects and mallets. There’s this immediate flourish to the end product that’s so hard to pick apart. I’m reminded of fountains, antiques, rain, ponds, arbors, birds, you name it; the imagery is vague, but always blissful and refreshing. Listening to Teebs is like taking a deep breath and dozing off in some secluded garden during the spring. It amazes me just how well he translates his visual style into the music.
For a long time I couldn’t get into Teebs even if I admired his style. What I later learned was that, for all the links to ‘beat music’, his songs aren’t as much about the rhythm as it is with his peers. The appeal lies much more in texture and setting moods. People like him put a whole new spin on the idea of ‘background music’: it’s all warped through this abstract electronic lens that’s very modern-sounding even now. After all, good ‘subconscious’ listening can be such a cleansing experience, and that’s exactly how I’d describe his music.
Like with my Reni Jusis playlist, I intend this as an accessible intro to his music. I’ve also included at least one song from every major release.
In chronological order except for the fan favorite “While You Doooo”
1. While You Doooo (Ardour, 2010)
2. Monterey Park Bells (CD 2009, 2009)
3. Comes To Mind w/ Jackhigh (The Tropics, 2010)
4. Anchor Steam (Los Angeles 6/10 EP, 2010)
5. Long Distance w/ Gaby Hernandez (Ardour, 2010)
6. Verbana Tea w/ Rebekah Raf (Collections 01, 2011)
7. LSP w/ Austin Peralta (Collections 01, 2011)
8. Untitled 5 (Cecilia Tapes Collection, 2012)
9. SOTM (E s t a r a, 2014)
10. Holiday w/ Jonti (E s t a r a, 2014)
11. Sachi’s Chords (E S T Outtakes / Remixes, 2015)