Jatmoz / Blog / GOOD MUSIC: Teis Ortved - Parks At Night

Ortved - Parks At Night
MARCH 3RD, 2023
TL;DR: A friend once described this as "HOME, C418 and Iwamizu combined" if that helps by any chance.

One of the greatest perks and the worst consequences that the internet has bestowed on humanity is the ability to find things that appeal to you to such a specific degree that you aren't able to find anything else that's like it. And sometimes this is by pure chance; maybe a video gets recommended to you and it turns out to be life-changing, or you join a Discord server and a couple members from it become long-lasting friends. Sometimes the drivel of social media makes it easy to forget just how wonderful the internet is for finding new, exciting things from the places you least expect.

And the subject of this blog post is, for me, one of the best pieces of evidence for that. This is Parks At Night, by Teis Ortved.

The cover art for the album.

This album is a 40 minute odyssey of gentle, yet insanely imaginative downtempo jazz. And Teis, his style, is a joy to listen to.

With experimental jazz, a lot of times the music becomes so spicy and esoteric that it starts to lose meaning, and borders on pretentious. But somehow, despite the sheer out-thereness of this album, Teis never approaches that horizon. His unique progressions are soulful, beautiful constructions that still express tons of emotion throughout. I genuinely believe this is an album that anyone with a passing interest in jazz should listen to.

It's a little heartbreaking though, because as of now, march of 2024, Teis himself hasn't achieved more than 500 monthly listeners on Spotify. This album is nothing short of phenomenal, and yet it's barely heard of.

How the hell did this guy come into my radar?

Back in 2018 I was in Underbelly's Discord server, We Suck At Producing. This server was not only a very helpful place for beginner producers to learn and get better, but they regularly hosted events and competitions. By sheer coincidence, one competition had ended near the time I joined (if I'm not mistaken, the goal was to create a song that combined the themes of dreams, and funk, a dreamfunk song if you will).

And the winner was Teis, and he got to showcase his newest album to the server as a reward, Proceed. And Proceed's a good, short but fun album. It caught my attention, as although the album's practically lo-fi/chill-type stuff, Teis's style was really distinctive. I'd end up listening to it a fair bunch of times. Faves from it were probably Sand, Jfya Pt. 2, One Two, Leftover and Very Early. Nowadays I just listen to the whole thing though since it's extremely relistenable.

The funny part is that by sheer happenstance I joined the server at the right time to check this guy's stuff out. I'm not exactly the adventurous type so I don't exactly seek out stuff that often (not enough, that's for damn sure), so in most other circumstances I might've easily missed this guy's music. But MAN am I glad I didn't, because gawd... DAMN! Back then I had no idea how good the dude would get.

Teis Ortved's leap in quality

A year later, in 2019 he would release his second album, Oh No. It was about the same quality as Proceed, but since Proceed was already pretty good this album was more good stuff. The tracks Down The Road, Three Four and Iron Planet from it are noteworthy, but it's what came next that really blew me away and made me realize "holy crap, this guy's something else".

Honestly, this one holds a special place in my heart.

Doesn't Feel Right, Teis's third released project, was a major leap in quality from his previous two works. This one sounded much less like the work of a bedroom producer, the instrumentation was smoother, there were more subtle details in the compositions now. Everything sounded cleaner, but the progressions and passages in particular felt more monumental. They felt so much... more. More solid? More developed? More intense, emotional? I really couldn't tell you, but it was a clear sign that Teis was something special, and it was a sign that something truly great from him would come.

Teis's SECOND leap in quality, also the section where I start rambling

And now we arrive at Parks At Night, released two years after the previous EP. The album begins with I Don't Like Dreaming, and what a way to begin. From the very start, the main passage is brimming with a sense of intimidating wonder. It's hard to put into words the feelings that these chords evoke. I get chills everytime the saxophone choirs come in, it's like the musical equivalent of walking through a dense forest until you exit through the other end and are suddenly faced with a massive landscape that overwhelms you with awe.

Then comes Moments, which is a self-contained journey between different musical avenues that nonetheless feels cohesive in the way they lead to eachother. Fun fact: Teis made a section of this as part of a competition in the aforementioned Discord server, where you had to make an OS start-up sound of some kind, which ended up as one of the main themes in the track. Teis's entry was kind of "whoaholY FU—" inducing though, legit.

To not make this post too long, I'll skip About Right and Relative to talk about one of my favorites in the album, Parks At Night, the title track. This track is particularly striking in how novel the main progresion is, but the melody in the intro is so gawddamn beautiful. It feels like someone on the brink of letting something go, something they don't want to let go, but know it's for the best that they do. That sounded cheesy, but it's hard to put into words the feelings that these tracks evoke. And the descending synth melody much later on is just AHHH.

Dreamfunk, is a great diversion that goes all the way into that sort of nostalgic, melancholic but hard-hitting territory that some trip hop likes to get into. This is then contrasted with the pulsating grooves of Cliff, which features a passage in the intro that is just wonderful. It feels sort of introspective in a way, until the sax comes to complement it and then it feels like it's nonchalantly calling attention to something.

And, on the topic of things that make me go AHHH, the saxophone line that's at around 50 seconds into Silence is one of the cleanest damn things I've ever heard. Another couple things in the album that are absolutely clean are the tracks Leave and Shade, the former adopting a funkier beat while going further with the introspective feeling. Meanwhile the latter has an extremely solid chorus that tempts me to think there's a decent chance a random stranger might like it if it was suggested to them. Shade feels like it'd be hit of the album.

After all that, the album closes everything off with the Aaaaaoutro, which serves as a fittingly dreamy end to the entire thing, with gentle vocals and improvizations that feel like they're looking back on all that has transpired.

Rambling over

Parks At Night is a genuinely beautiful album that I love. Easily in my top 5 ever. It cemented (for me at least) Teis Ortved as a great artist, someone with an insane skill in making jazz that is novel and different, but still compelling and emotional at the same time.

This guy is one of my main inspirations for the music I do, but this was a guy I randomly found on a Discord server! And that's strange to think about; by pure chance you can encounter something that deeply impacts you, that is not known to most other people, and that most others wouldn't be impacted by it in the same way either, but it is what happens with the internet after all, something that has led us to become so interconnected that this probably happens several times each day.

Really though, it is a travesty that not enough people know about this guy. If you haven't taken the hint by now, YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO TEIS ORTVED! DO IT. DO IT NOW!!!

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