Ardour doesn’t so much begin as it does bloom, immediately, straight into your ears.
Like a soft explosion of sound, the music of Ardour is much like the cover art (also created by Teebs), which is to say it is a colorful kaleidoscope of a record. Sounds swirl. Songs glide. Samples float. There’s a beautiful balance of light and dark and an analogue rawness that holds it all together. It’s quite magical.
Ardour is an album that almost never came to be. Only a few years ago Teebs was a broke, jobless graphic artist – whose path to a career in music mainly came about by some fortuitous twists of fate, including falling in with L.A collective My Hollow Drum, and moving into the same apartment complex as Flying Lotus. And while Teebs is producing on the shoulders of giants, Ardour is a unique and personal statement. There are all the hallmarks of a Brainfeeder release within the album, the fractured beats, the watery samples, the dreamlike quality of it all – but there’s a lightness to Teebs’ touch and a depth to his sound that makes this release stirring, rich and immersive.
Almost entirely instrumental, singer Gaby Hernandez makes the album’s only vocal appearance on the lovely Long Distance. Her voice blossoms through Teebs sonics – much like Thom Yorke’s guest spot on Cosmogramma.
This is the first sample-based album I’ve heard in a long time that I would call psychedelic – truly psychedelic in that bright, warm, radiant way. In that big, happy, polychromatic way. In that way that makes you want to run outside and get close to nature. Unlike many similar albums, Ardour has texture – literally. It contains a mix of found sounds, field recordings and synthezied music. It is assemblage in the truest sense. It is also ornate and organic. Ardour is is a wonderland rabbit-hole of sound. A visceral, deep and cinematic collage of musical colours and shapes. It is a joy to hear.