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Estère - Album review: My Design, On Other's Lives

07 May 2018 // A review by jacquiew

It’s no surprise that Estère recently opened for Grace Jones. In some ways Estère is a sonic acolyte of the magnificent Jones, particularly in the sense that she is endlessly fascinating and mesmerising.  

Take a deep breath, you’ll need all the oxygen you can get to listen attentively to all Estere’s new album has to offer.

My Design, On Others' Lives is a fantastic, immersive adventure absolutely packed with creativity and invention. Close your eyes, turn up the volume, and enter the Estère dimension.

Mixed by Lee Prebble, Simon Gooding, and Benny Tones, mastered by Mike Gibson and Benny Tones and produced by Estère herself, this clever album is endlessly surprising and full of delights.

The first section of the album entitled Part 1: My Design demonstrates Estère’s command of driving rhythm and her ability to create hooks that are veritable earworms. Control Freak has an immediate appeal. Grandmother is a beautiful love song to the mother of her father. Yet even as she articulates the tenderness of the track’s subject matter, Estère is constantly exploring the boundaries, catching the listener’s attention and never allowing complacency to creep in.

Pro Bono Techno Zone is a highlight of Part 1. “Up the rivers rise, down the shadows fall. What we thought was free isn’t free at all.” The addition of the backing vocals from a group of young singers really adds to the track. 

Part 2: On Others’ Lives continues Estère’s exploration of sound. Rent is memorable, not least because of the power of the lyrics. “I don’t need to ask nobody else to know deep down I’m doing well…because I can pay my rent”. Gun Kid is the stand out track for me with the shifts in style within the track and combination of smooth vocals and pure grit. It’s a really extraordinary piece of work, once again with lyrical bullets that really hit home. “You’d better guard your front door. What do you think I’ve got MY gun for?” Guilty rounds out Part 2 with its truly beautiful guitar and vocal work.

My Design, On Other’s Lives really is a brilliant piece of work. It might defy easy categorisation but what a rich and rewarding creation it is.

★★★★★ (5 stars)


Review written by Jacquie Walters.

 

About Estère

Estere doesn’t play music - she creates sonic amalgamations that merge culture, language and legend. She breathes life into narratives that marry the acutely human to the achingly mythic. Her vocals soar and then swoon, beckoning sultrily and opening gates to new interpretations of age-old tales. Estere plays 'electric blue witch-hop', as she calls her dimensions of electronic, folk and R&B. The New Zealand Herald calls it "a beautiful mix of everything the music world is lauding and lusting after right now."

She began her journey as a bedroom producer with an MPC called Lola. Her first album, Estere, released in 2015 via Paris-based record label Prospect, earned her accolades from prominent media outlets such as Elle Magazine (FR) and Portals. In 2018, Estere’s second album My Design, On Others' Lives was championed by Radio NZ as "an exceptional record." Afropunk called it "an immersive experience unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed."

Estere has brought her unique live show - she plays guitar, keyboards, drums - to Europe, Africa and Asia, including slots opening for Grace Jones and Erykah Badu. Estere’s on stage talent and energy has earned her invitations to international festivals including Glastonbury (UK), Afropunk Paris (FR), and Bushfire Festival (Swaziland). She has also headlined sold-out shows in the UK, France and New Zealand.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Estère

Releases

My Design, On Other's Lives
Year: 2018
Type: Album
My Design, Part 1
Year: 2017
Type: Album
New Species
Year: 2015
Type: EP
Estère
Year: 2014
Type: Album

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