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Tehbis – Luckdaw EP Review

tehbis luckdaw ep cover

Manchester-based hip hop and electronica lover Groovement AKA Agent J has steadily expanded from a regular show on Unity Radio Manchester into its own independent beast, first as a very popular podcast on iTunes and then into a record label in its own right. They now put out and release the music they previously shared, the kind of upgrade in being most people dream of. Their latest is the first proper solo release from a buzzed about up-n-comer, London-based producer Tehbis.

‘Deww’ as an opening track is more of a sample of what’s to come than a track in itself, falling short of the two minute mark with its slowly built up and then taken apart song construction. All whirling background sounds, disembodied ghostly voices and stuttering drums, it sets the tone for what follows effectively. ‘Saturday Cartoons’, featuring guest sounds and mixing from kidkanevil, plays around with washings of white noise in the background like waves on the beach. They give a vinyl-esque crackle to things as the lolloping bassline and beautiful main melody plays out. There’s a lot going on in this track, be sure to have your headphones on for maximum effect. ‘Bristol Way’s clear cut, innocent female vocals work as a good counterpoint to the glitch and clatter of the music, even when cut up themselves and given rattle and hum. It breaks down in the middle to the most minimal of bass before beautifully evolving into an outro designed to get people into the air at clubs or at least, as Groovement themselves more modestly propose, your living room.

Throughout there’s a looseness with the beats and the entrances and exits of the various samples that’s really charming and entrancing. You nod along as its sleepyheaded but always tight beats ratatat, bassboom and snap away. Its lethargic majesty really lulls you in, making you want to be absorbed into the sonics of the songs rather than stand apart and listen impassively. Music like this can easily come across as cold or alienating. Anyone who has listened to Flying Lotus’ work of art Cosmogramma knows this to be true; for all its genius it doesn’t invite you in so much as boggle your mind on the doorstep before slamming the door in your face. Tehbis manages to avoid this entirely, instead creating lush instrumentation and somehow encoding warmth into his electronic soundscapes that you want to be a part of.

Groovement’s track record for releases so far has been without fault, and based on the three tracks here Tehbis deserves all the attention he is getting elsewhere. We will have to see if future releases can maintain this momentum of freshness and quality, but expect big things of both Groovement and Tehbis in the year to come.

Luckdaw EP is out now on Label Groovement and can be downloaded from their Bandcamp – name your price. His previous releases on various compilations are scattered across the internet, including on Kutmah Presents Worldwide Family, Vol. 2, available on iTunes and Amazon.