Crawl Space (Arts & Crafts)
Born Valerie Teicher in Argentina, Tei Shi split her formative years between Vancouver, Colombia, and Quebec before hitting music school in Massachusetts, and then finally settling in New York.
It was in Boston that she hooked up with producer Gianluca Buccellati, who has been a frequent collaborator ever since. Buccellati helped make Tei Shi’s first releases, the EPs Saudade (2013) and Verde (2015), as well as her cover of Beyoncé’s “No Angel”, which set the blogosphere ablaze in 2014.
Tei Shi is no mere singer, though, on Crawl Space. For all of Buccellati’s input, Tei Shi owns her music as a writer-producer. In fact, she tried to hide herself in her early music, blending her vocals into a layer rather than making them the focal point lest she be boxed in by misogynistic creative assumptions.
She has spent a fair amount of time hiding, in general. Fear of the dark led a young Teicher to spend time in her claustrophobic crawlspace in order to overcome it. If nothing else, Buccellati helped her come out of her shell so she could share more of herself with us, and Tei Shi has put herself way out there with Crawl Space.
There is as much creativity as vulnerability on this album. Her gorgeous voice projects confidently as she explores deep yet relatable autobiographical themes, while her instrumentals deconstruct pop and R&B like a more polished Evy Jane or a less eccentric Grimes.
Her whole life has led to this album, and she has clearly grown up well.