Very recently, I turned down an opportunity to live with my aunt, who resides just a handful of miles outside of Los Angeles, California. I’m already in a great city, and I can’t make beautiful electronic music. If I’m headed out west in the future, it’s because I finally have an MPC figured out and I really like my odds of “running into” the likes of Flying Lotus or Daedelus. There’s something in the water over there. There just has to be. With electronic music, there’s no other area on the globe that better exemplifies the rare marriage between quantity and quality quite like Los Angeles. Teebs, born Mtendere Mandowa, is the latest artist to get his time to shine in the sunny west coast spotlight. A skateboarding injury took him away from the skate park and brought him closer to music. One door closed, and another one opened.
Teebs’ debut album, Ardour, was created just as he began living in the same apartment complex as electronic a-alikes — and now Brainfeeder buddies — Flying Lotus and Samiyam. Talk about good company. If you were to take FlyLo’s otherworldly Cosmogramma record from earlier this year, and bring forth Sam’s Rap Beats Vol. 1 from 2008, you’ll see that Ardour fits comfortably between them. “Moments” has a contagious energy comparable to “Robo Tussin”, Flying Lotus’ work with Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” banger. Then there’s the string heavy “My Whole Life”, much like Sam’s “27”; rich in eerie hip-hop ambiance.
The general feel of this record is light and feathery, but so strong in substance. Just as a sound on Ardour teeters on addictive, a new sound is introduced. Teebs doesn’t really pack any punches with his song structure, and cleverly switches things up just as one form of beauty begins to wear out its welcome. The album as a whole is so intelligently designed; tracks transitioned seamlessly, blending moods without rough reaction. The pairing of “Arthur’s Birds” and “Gordon” is a perfect example of Mtendere’s ability to to group two very different personalities and tell them to play nice.
Los Angeles is electronic music’s hotspot. It caught fire many years ago, has never shown signs of dying down, and with all of this raw young talent, there will be no need to ever mention the word “rekindle”. Teebs’ Ardour is an escape to paradise. While the same can be said for many of his neighbors’ creations, this is Mtendere Mandowa’s own world.