“Estara” originates from the Spanish word for “to be,” a future-tense, third person pronunciation of a persons immediate emotion, location, or status. Essentially, the tense and verb as the most indefinite form of a word about a quickly changing status. E s t a r a, as a record, comes in as a revelation in the current musical environment. Three years after the compilation Collections 01 and four years after his debut Ardour, Mtendere Mandowa, aka Teebs, has returned with a record that already has listeners from Highland Park to Highbury bobbing their heads. A producer and a painter, this record sends a defining sound of atmospherics, improvisation, and articulation of electronic music.
Clocking in at thirteen tracks, E s t a r a might feel like the quickest record devoid of cynicism or motive. Each piece flows into each other, buoyed by bursts of silence. Yet a hazy, cloudy atmospheric covers each and every track, hi-hats muffled and drums smack the off beats. But guest appearances illuminate the vision to astonishing levels. Stones Throw signing Jonti adds a melodic to the romance of “Holiday” while “NY Pt.2” might be the essential collaboration of the year, the fractured and meticulous addition of Prefuse 73. “Wavxxes” feels like icing on the cake, with Jaga Jazzist front-man massaging the track with a harmonious sax line. A soundtrack to the present and future, E s t a r a occupies that rarified air of ambient and electronic classics that is traditionally reserved for to Aphex Twin, Arthur Russell, and Brian Eno. Grab this on vinyl and let it bring in your spring.