Teebs is an artist in the true sense of the word. As both a painter and a musician, it’s hard to differentiate where the visual and musical sides of his personality meet. His music is so dense with texture and colour, it’s almost as if Anicca is a world of its own – a gallery of sound.
It’s been five years since Teebs, aka Mtendere Mandowa, released his impressive sophomore album E s t a r a – a record built upon glowing sweeps and patterns of electronic waves. Anicca is a further exploration of this hazy L.A. sound, stripping it back even further, peeling away the unnecessary layers to reveal a subtle, transcendent style.
Spirituality is at the centre of this record – Anicca is one of the first steps in the Buddhist’s spiritual progress towards enlightenment, a belief that everything, including the self, is constantly changing. This sense of impermanence and rebirth can be sensed in the music itself, with the loose beats and shuffling hip-hop rhythms swaying and knocking drunkenly into each other, giving the music a natural, earthy quality.
This album is peppered with the names of Mandowa’s peers and friends, a list of guests he clearly has great adoration for. With artists such as Thomas Stankiewicz, Sudan Archives, Anna Wise and Panda Bear on board for the ride, Mandowa has managed to capture what makes them so unique and merge it all together with his own vision using his rainbow-licked sonic palette.
The artwork from this album is actually taken from a painting that Mandowa created. What started as a drawing of his wife and child, evolved into an enamel pin, which then in turn transformed into a stained glass replica created in collaboration with his friend Megan Geer-Alsop. This transformative process was the perfect match for Annica as he recalls:
“The artwork is so special to me because of all the hands working together to create an idea. The piece went through so much change and landed in a state of constant change being made out of glass with its colors and reflections... no matter how you look at it or what time of day it is, it’s always something different, yet the same.”
Listening to Anicca is like watching the sunlight burst through a stained glass window: everything you hear is bathed in light; warm, soft-focused notes swirl together in a wash of colour – the perfect soundtrack to brighten any setting.