Chris Daly spent last night at the Jetty.
Following a five year, much too long hiatus, LA beatmaker and visual artist, Teebs, is back with his sunniest work in damn near a decade, the illustrious Anicca. Following the birth of his daughter, aka Mtendere Mandowa rounded up names both familiar and new to create an uplifting album based on the Buddhist concept of the impermanence of all being. Clearly realizing that nothing lasts forever, Teebs decided to gather his rosebuds whilst the gathering was good, and the results show another level of growth for the soft sounding artist.
For the uninitiated, Teebs came into the LA beat scene alongside fellow Low End Theory members such as Flying Lotus and Daedalus in the mid-2000s. While there is a collective feel to the genre, each artist operates in his/her own lane. Teebs is the comfy, warm, oversized sweater in the group, perfect for late night excursions, early morning explorations and any other low-key activities in-between. If artists like Ras G. and Nosaj Thing have taken listeners to otherworldly destinations, Teebs is there to tuck you in at night and make sure you’re wrapped in the fuzziest blanket possible.
Anicca shines brightest when Teebs enlists others, particularly vocalists, to help realize the musical vision. Sudan Archives adds low end, breathy vocals to the thumping “Black Dove,” while Anna Wise conversely helps raise the ethereal “Threads” to new heights. Daydream Masi, however, simply serves substance to album highlight, “Universe,” nailing lyrics like, “Dropped out, moved in, let them drive/Tried them, how they left me feeling empty in the end/Living in the dead end life/Universe has something so much better on its mind,” helping the song glide from negativity to positivity over the course of its 3:18 run time. Teebs proves himself an admirable solo act, however, as the tinkling “Slumber” or the electronically complex “Prayers ii” quickly demonstrate.
Throughout the album, if you listen closely, you might just hear Teebs’ young daughter chatting away or his wife typing on a laptop in the background. It’s this close, familial groove that cements Anicca as perhaps the strongest work of Teebs’ career. Time will tell if that’s permanently the case or not.