Mtendere Mandowa aka Teebs has been a cult favorite of the LA beat scene for some time now. Often being slotted alongside the likes of Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing and other members of the Low End Theory community, his shape-shifting productions have started to spread his influence well beyond Los Angeles. His new album Anicca is the genesis of that, pushing his music out into the world with a beautiful mix of synths, well-timed collaborations and percussion.
Anicca a swirling mix of what makes electronic music so enticing, along with elements of pop, R&B and hip-hop.
The LP starts with the gentle and serene “Atoms Song” with Icelandic musician Thomas Stankiewicz to slowly welcome you to this project. The two work together on the final two songs of Anicca, sending off the listener with the same type of warm and relaxed feeling.
The LP switches on “Black Dove” with rising singer and violinist Sudan Archives, who provides a soulful afro-futurist element to the album over gentle beats and synths. We head to the world of J Dilla beats with some jazzy piano and funky rhythms on “Shells” before calming back down on the shimmering “Threads” with Anna Wise. Panda Bear joins for the melodic, vibey slightly upbeat “Studie.”
“Mirror Memory,” keeps that same sonic theme before the beatless “Prayers i and Prayers ii,” which feel like a connected interlude and get into the very soothing part of the record. “Universe” gives a new interpretation on what ambient music should sound like as daydream Masi offers a hopeful voice to what the world should be. The album touches on one of its final genre themes with “Daughter Callin’,” where the listener is sent back into the vibey lo-fi beat world, Pink Siifu raps top and vocalists sing the soulful hook.
The album settles in for one last time as the shimmering beauty on “Slumber” relaxes your mind, body and soul accentuated by a luxurious harp. It ends with a rework of the opener “Atmos Song” to give the album a holistic and circular feeling. It is bookended by similar versions of the same song to provide closure on this fantastic album.
Teebs delivers his finest project yet with Anicca. It explores pop, R&B, soul and hip-hop, but all in the same context of his sublime beat making. He can work with J-Dilla-esque lo-fi beats, but finds the soul of the album in beautiful ambient productions. Covering a lot of different ground, this album still feels singular in focus and never loses its way in collaborations or different genres.