Abstraction Translated Into Music – Teebs ‘Ardour’ Reflection


Image from rateyourmusic.com

By the time this album was released, Teebs was only 23 years old. Whether someone would consider that young for a music prodigy, they should recall that Brian Wilson was 23 years old when the infamous Pet Sounds album cultivated a young following for the Beach Boys decades later. By the time any young man or woman reaches that age, they may have found their calling in life, or at least truly understand who they are.

Teebs came out fo the revitalized L.A. art scene after 2008. During that time, Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label was established and was just starting to sign talents such as the likes of Daedelus and The Gaslamp Killer. Teebs started out as an idle skateboarder with the hidden talent of creating luminous soundscapes, not yet realized until this album was completed.

With the artists signed into Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus’s established label in L.A., each artist had their own desired sound and crafted them in a way where no one else could claim the sound. Although, if someone were to define the genre Brainfeeder’s artists were a part of, rarely would they be able to define the music outside of “experimental” or “electronic music.”

It would be hard to define because fans of the label would understand that there’s much more to their music than just a single categorization. This is especially the case for the young Teebs, and Ardour showcases his catalyzing talent. Ardour is a blissful album filled with interesting nooks and crannies, dealt with in sometimes terrifying moments, and other times in harmonic tranquility.

Right from the first track, You’ve Changed, you could understand where this project is delving into. The elements of this track don’t sound like your typical instrumentation. You could hear peddling, crackling, and stomping along with the blissful compressed tone that flows throughout the track. The second track, Bound Ball, is a little more familiar in sound.

I could hear the keys pelting, the added Indian drums, and the chords augmenting the track. From this point on, Teebs lets you know that each track in this album is introspective, natural, unifying, but important to focus on. People keen on music production or equipment could recognize the instrumentation being used here, but understand that the sounds are unexplainable.

Abstraction comes into play throughout the album, which denotes any concept or narrative Teebs may try to introduce here, but I doubt he is. He purposefully uses odd sounds and noises to create cohesive sounds that sound like music but breaks the barriers of any conventional formula. The sounds in each track somehow find a pattern that could work and create cohesion.

A good example would be the track Felt Tip, where I could recognize the category of the instruments at some points, but not exactly the actual instrument. All I could comprehend is how the MPC drums and rattling noise create a tempo, which makes a whole song that could entrance me without really knowing what’s going on.

Although this isn’t the first abstract album, it’s a good introduction to it. With the likes of Ambient musicians like Tim Hecker, the average listener may become a little confused about the music. It’s contemplative and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Tim Hecker is a right-brained prodigy, but his music isn’t for everyone. Teebs is a little more merciful when it comes to his abstraction. With all the noises and sounds he experiments with, there’s a beat that rides along the tempo.

The average listener could at least understand the beat that is going on, even if he or she don’t understand the sounds completely. Music like this is starting to gain attraction especially in the recent years but isn’t going to be receiving any commercial numbers anytime soon.

Abstraction isn’t the most appealing form of entertainment but could be one of the most important ones. If the concept of entertainment is for the purpose of escapism, then no other form does that better than abstraction. Abstract noise or imagery pulls you away from your reality and draws you into the other corners of this dimension. Ardour could introduce someone to that, and may even change their mind about the whole concept itself.

To this date, Teebs hasn’t released a full-length project since Estara in 2014. Regardless of his progress with his art now, he already managed to find his voice, and I would argue he’s still pursuing his voice to this day.


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