Teebs – Collections 01 review

The Brainfeeder bunch have had a mightily strong 2011, with major releases from the likes of Martyn, Samiyam and Thundercat, not to mention the curveball reissue of Mr Oizo’s Moustache (Half A Scissor). That lot sits on top of the ever-rising profile of Flying Lotus, The Gaslamp Killer et al, seemingly ubiquitous in every corner of the global electronica scene.

Teebs was swept up in the fervour of hype around the Californian cerebellum munchers as his Ardour album dropped last year. While his music made a perfect addition to the rag tag range of beats the label prides itself on, it didn’t seem to take hold with the fans as much as some of his contemporaries. Teebs’ is a more direct and gentle approach, not to say he ever plays it too safe, but the cavalcade of ideas across his debut album suffered the same fate as many similarly structured albums (lots of short sketch tracks); it was hard to lock onto his musical message and grow fond of the songs within.

Collections 01 makes for a relatively swift follow up, and addresses some of those pitfalls to make for a winsome, fully realised set of tracks that should be snaking their way into your heart very shortly. The vibe remains primarily dreamy, with gossamer beats deferring to a sumptuous, diverse range of melodic devices. A choice turn comes from the fairground organ of “Cook, Clean, Pay The Rent (New House Version)”, wonderfully fuzzy in its evocation of some imaginary seaside scene. Like all the best Brainfeeder output, the music on Collections 01 is best described in terms of visuals.

“Verbena Tea” adds an interesting dimension to the Teebs repertoire, drafting in the harp talents of Rebekah Raff to accompany an oriental-tinged, melancholic Sunday of a tune. What comes across most on the album as a whole, but particularly on this track and “Red Curbs Loop”, is the composition skills Teebs has, crafting accomplished harmonies where so many producers shelter behind the monotone of beats. Where playing the likes of Cosmogramma or Sam Baker’s Album can be a bit of a gamble depending on the mood you’re in, Teebs’ ably demonstrates the supple, amorphous nature of his craft, leaving you with an album you could happily slip into all manner of moments.

Oli Warwick