Part of the Brainfeeder collective that counts Flying Lotus and Samiyam among its members, Los Angeles' Teebs crafts a more atmospheric version of the beat music exemplified by the label.
Born Mtendere Mandowa to parents from Malawi and Barbados, Teebs and his family hopped from the Bronx to Georgia and Hartford, Connecticut before landing in Chino Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles. He established himself as a musical and visual artist in the mid-2000s, taking up painting and shaping samples and beats into carefully layered songs with Fruity Loops. Working on his own and as a part of the My Hollow Drum collective, he also connected with Dublab, L.A.'s non-profit public Internet radio station. In 2008, Teebs participated in that year's Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona, which caught the attention of Flying Lotus; eventually, the pair became neighbors and collaborators. Teebs issued several short-form releases in 2010, including the Jackhigh/BNJMN collaboration The Tropics; Los Angeles 6/10, which featured Daedelus; and his Brainfeeder debut, Why Like This? While working on his debut album, he endured a series of personal hardships, including his brother's illness and the death of his father, that informed Ardour (also released in 2010) with a flowing poignancy. The following year, Teebs returned with the library music-inspired compilation Collections 01, which featured performances by harpist Rebeka Raff and Austin Peralta. However, aside from Sons of the Morning, a collaboration with Prefuse 73 that resulted in 2013's Speak Soon, Vol. 1, Teebs focused on his visual artwork for a few years. His Ante Vos project, for example, found him reworking the covers of albums he found in the trash. When he returned to making music, the results were 2014's more purposeful-sounding Estara, a collection of songs named after Teebs' house and featuring cameos from Prefuse 73 and Jonti. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi