Take Home Tes
by Tes

Take Home Tes VF01 2001

Already a mainstay in the NY underground, emcee/producer Tes enters the solo fray – after leaving a slew of mixtape and stages blazing. with the release of this, his debut ep, Tes unleashes his incredible, breathless flow on 8 outstanding and impressively varied, self-produced tracks (with the exception of two remixes). the ep showcases a slew of different styles that somehow manage to touch upon elements of organized konfusion, anti-pop’s m.sayyid, lateef of quannum, and the legendary freestyle fellowship, yet always retain an individuality that never allows you to lose sight of exactly who you are listening to. to borrow a term from spinna & co. – it’s clear from the outset that Tes is certainly not your ordinary emcee…

with beats reminiscent at times of aesoprock & blockhead, at others mr lif and others earl blaize, it’s clear that tes takes his production work just as seriously as his lyrics. that said, it isn’t always to give the tracks as much attention as they deserve simply due to the incredible rhymes that adorn them. i had heard a lot about him before receiving this cd, but it’s fair to say that i was still blown away by it once i heard it. i’m not seeking to draw comparisons with him, as they are very different and unique artists, but hitting play on the tes ep reminds of how i felt when i first heard aesoprock. the amount of work that has obviously gone into ‘take home tes’, coupled with the self-assured confidence his rhymes exude over each beat, make it basically impossible to put the cd on and not find yourself getting lost within it (which makes reviewing it a little difficult at times!). in the mold of outstanding emcee/producers such as the likes of mf doom, tes crafts each beat to perfectly suit his own wholly individual style, ensuring each word is completely married to the beat in such a way that makes it hard to imagine the two separated. having said that, the neurologists do well with their remix of “sound investments” and add a distinctly different edge to the track, but ultimately i have to admit that i prefer the original.

3 of the 8 tracks offered on the cd are also due for a vinyl release – “acts of tragedy”, “solipsism” and “mouth of the river”. whilst i don’t question the tracks chosen, i have to admit that personally i’d love to have “sound investments” on a 12″ – the haunting horns of the hook will have you waiting for their return whilst you hang off each word that separates from one hook from another. to be honest though, i’d love the whole ep on vinyl – it’s an exceptional release form an exceptional artist – but it’s great to know that arguably my favourite cut of the octet will make the transition. the incredible, beatbox driven “mouth of river” is something everybody needs to hear – much has been made of it in recorded hip-hop, but it’s clear that beatboxing is far more than a mere gimmick in tes’ case:

“mouth of the river/tes o-n-e/mouth of the river/beatboxing emcee/mouth of the river/is where my flow starts/mouth of the river/first class language arts” [“mouth of the river”]

i can’t hope to adequately describe what you’ll hear when you listen to ‘take home tes’ – i can’t imagine any description i could have been given before hearing it that would have come anywhere close to preparing me for it. from the other artists i’ve mentioned in this review, i’m sure you can appreciate the kind of territory we’re talking about – intelligent, highly intricate and articulate wordplay over inventive and original beats – if that sounds remotely like the kind of hip-hop you’re into, then i can’t recommend Tes’ debut enough… do not let this pass you by

Urban Smarts 2001 Waxfactor
credits
released August 17, 2000

Take Home Tes Notes

Acts of Tragedy (t..tessora) tes press ascap.
additional sound research by m. cabrol.
recorded and mixed by prince at stackhouse

Solipsism (t..tessora) tes press ascap.
recorded and mixed by prince at stackhouse

Sound Investments *neuroloigist remix*
(t.tessora, r.boody, c. lawrence) tes press ascap,
dj boody (of the nerologist) publishing ascap.
litta richer publishing ascap.
cuts by dj ash recorded by paws at littabox recordings.
mixed by octopus @ sweetwood sound.

No Mic-freestyle (t..tessora) tes press ascap.
recorded by tes at the phonographic darkroom.
mixed by octopus @ sweetwood sound.

Mouth of theRriver (t..tessora) tes press ascap.
all sounds from the mouth of tes
recorded and mixed byoctopus @ sweetwood sound.

Sound Investments (t..tessora) tes press ascap.
recorded and mixed byoctopus @ sweetwood sound.

Dualism (t..tessora) tes press ascap.
recorded and mixed by octopus @ sweetwood sound.

Waveforms *neuroloigist remix*
(t.tessora, r.boody, c. lawrence) tes press ascap,
dj boody (of the nerologist) publishing ascap.
litta richer publishing ascap.
recorded by paws at littabox recordings.
mixed by octopus @ sweetwood sound.

all ideas developed by Tes at the phonographic darkroom
all songs mastered by alan douches @ west westside mastering
all hand styles by ka
sleeve construction by adam at tocohara

Take Home Tes is dedicated to those who think they know!