REVIEW: Teebs & Jackhigh – Tropics EP

The second release from Serbia’s Svetlana Industries label is out right now and comes in the form of the Tropics EP by Teebs & Jackhigh. At the moment you can buy the 7-track 12-inch vinyl directly from Svetlana Industries for a mere £5.99 and it will be available as a digital download in about a month’s time. There will also shortly be some ultra collectable versions with prints by Teebs himself, who did the very artwork you can see at the top of this post – keep your ear to the ground on that one, cos I’m talking ultra limited hand painted artwork!

Tracklisting:

01. Clutch
02. Splash
03. Comes To Mind
04. Clapstick
05. Rains
06. Untitled
07. Tropics

The Tropics EP is the culmination of an 18-month collaboration between the American Teebs and the Brit Jackhigh. Teebs has been around the beat-scene for a while and some will have heard him on Mary Anne Hobbs’ Wild Angels compilation last year. Jackhigh has also been on the radar for sometime with various beats bouncing around the web, as well as projects under names such as Bnjmn and Singing Statues. But here they are together on an official release via Svetlana Industries!

Essentially what we have here is a mini-album of extremely well produced electronic pieces. It’s eerie, dark, and most definitely deep. But, there’s an immense amount of beauty to the music – I like to think of it as music to immerse yourself in, and from a experiential point of view, I think that’s often the most rewarding type of music.

Clutch is a progressive track with a definitive drive about it. From the get-go it sets about a specific and consistent rhythm, bringing in additional effects as it builds. Immediately after is the hypnotic Splash, a shorter track combining trippy beats and echoed samples with a deep bassline. Comes To Mind is a crossover track that pairs a hip-hop attitude with an industrial undercurrent. I love the entire EP, but most definitely have a soft spot for Comes To Mind – it gets my head nodding a lot! Clapstick, funnily enough, has some clapping which provides the initial intro and sets the vibe for the rest of the track. Hints of latin rhythms dance steadily alongside chamber style electronic sounds and pipes. Rains is a special track, and a perfect example of the depth to this short release. It genuinely exerts a sense of sorrow, yet also hope at the same time. And that’s not to stretch things beyond what they really are, but it’s most definitely an achievement to express any form of emotion in contemporary electronic music, but that is exactly what Teebs and Jackhigh have done with Rains. The penultimate track is Untitled, a short chaotic track that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Akira soundtrack, which then finally builds to Tropics, which most definitely could have been on the Akira soundtrack. It’s an absolutely stunning outro track that collects more chaos as it travels forward until its seemingly dropout ending.

There will be a definite immediate interest in this release from the people who have been following the beats scene for the last five years or more, but more interestingly I am eager to see how many people who have been previously unaware of Teebs and Jackhigh will catch this and appreciate it. There’s every reason to love it, and I genuinely hope people will, but just merely out of my own morbid curiousity, I want to see how new listeners will engage. If you, yourself, have been until now unfamiliar with the works of Teebs and Jackhigh, then what do you think? I would graciously recommend giving it a proper listen, maybe with headphones and just letting it take you on a journey. You might instantly fall in love with it, or it could be a grower, but I’m confident that something about this music will grab you in one form or another.

mp3: Teebs & Jackhigh – Clutch