A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC THURSDAYS
Brooklyn-based producer, composer, pianist, DJ and live musician Taylor McFerrin is set to release his first full length LP, Early Riser, in June 2014 on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder record label. Taylor's musical style is equally influenced by the legends of 60s/70s Soul, the kings of the Modern Beat Generation, Golden Era hip hop, free form jazz and electronic music. By playing all of the instruments on his productions, while also relying heavily on sampling and chopping up his live takes, he has found a sound that seamlessly bridges myriad musical worlds and draws the listener into a constantly shifting audio soundscape.
If McFerrin’s own voice on a track like “Florasia” adds a genuine neo-soul emotion, his guests are sensational. From Nai Palm of Melbourne's Grammy-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote on “The Antidote”, through Emily King on “Decisions” (“one of the best singers alive in my opinion” – McFerrin) and on to labelmate RYAT’s collaboration on “Place In My Heart”, each adds a different mood and lift to the music they’re involved with. Taylor’s father, the legendary Bobby McFerrin, teams up with Brazilian master Cesar Mariano on “Invisible/Visible” for one of the jazziest moments on the record. Robert Glasper, Thundercat and Marcus Gilmore also provide their substantial jazz chops to “Already There”. But the key to the whole record is the balance which McFerrin keeps throughout – between his guest's individuality and his own vision, between the styles of music he loves, between a feeling of intense, sunlit joy and a deep aching sadness, which, it could be argued, is a definition of soul.
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.