December 31, 2005
• tube'|032 - Reso - Small Music
«2005's last entry, ladies and gentlemen. Please welcome Yuusaku Kubota, also known as Reso.
Reso has previously released two EP's for MiMi netlabel and a couple of tracks in several compilations.
Reso is Japanese, and if we could tell (and we can) that there's a typical japanese sound in ambient electronica, well... this is it. Reso's ambient drones aren't really that far away from Ryoji Ikeda's low frequency signatures. If in doubt, please take 'Introversion' 19 minute trip right away. It is laid and layered as three or four pieces joint together (by the way, a 'joint' is something you will not need here...).
'Small Music' is a title not to be taken literaly, as one might suspect. Apart from the long opening piece, you'll find a small (yes, this one is actually small...) one minute piece, 'Cut Up and Cut Up', an insidious experiment into cut and paste electronica, followed by the second longest piece, and a personal favorite, 'Haze', which is, well... a 'Hazing' drone which lasts exactly 7 long minutes. You'll probably want to crank your volume knob up high on this one, because that's the best way to feel this monstrous drone. It surrounds you completely and draws continuous circles of hazing sound patterns, that go up and down several times before ending up abruptly. Next up, 'Extroversion', is titled as the opposite of the first piece, but it's not. It's rather a follow up. More ambient and glitch patterns, found sounds and tape loops, all processed by a mighty Powerbook. 'Green Lamp' ends up 2005 for test tube, in a beautiful glitchy and harmonious piece that's pretty much Reso's typical soundwork.» - Pedro Leitão
December 28, 2005
*BLUSH TAKE ONE
It's great to find nice words from test tube fans when browsing through the website stats. Check this one, it comes with a couple of reviews:
«Way back in the mid 90ies, the German Mille Plateaux label gained attention by introducing the strange world of pops and clicks. Artists like Oval or Microstoria even got played by John Peel on BBC1 and introduced the world after music: digital fragments split and reassembled. Influenced by Musique concrète, and Serialism these soundscapes expanded and eventually became a genre of its own.
The Test Tube netlabel seems to resemble this spirit with some of its artists. Though relatively new, it already has a remarkable back catalogue I haven’t listened to it in its entirety yet. Quite outstanding in my opinion are the tracks of Thanos Chrysakis (UK) and Darren McClure (Japan). Although there are some similarities in their deconstruction of acoustic snippets, they represent different worlds:
Darren’s sounds, though they may become weird at times, still retain an optimistic warm attitude. the urban world in the morning sun, buildings reflecting orange colours. Thanos, however guides the listener through a frozen, icy world coloured in neon light. Machines that haven’t been exposed to natural light for years, dust covered grounds and fog that’s sure to last for another couple of years. Like Yin and Yan, either side of life belongs together and won’t let us forget about the opposite.
Definetely worth listening to and I’m already looking forward to new releases.»
*BLUSH TAKE TWO
Also, Disquiet included one of our releases in it's best of 2005 list. Right at number 3 on the downloads side, we rejoiced when we saw Aitänna77's name printed. Excellent choice, Marc! Thanks much!
A day earlier, the same Marc Weidenbaum wrote the following about one of our latest releases, DOPO's 'Last Blues, To Be Read Someday':
«This is 2005's final Downstream entry. Seems appropriate to end on something from the test tube netlabel, based out of Portugal. In less than a year and a half, test tube has earned a reputation as a key locale for original, freely downloadable music. Even those test tube releases that are not explicitly electronica, like DOPO's Last Blues, to Be Read Someday, the label's 30th, have an ambient intent. DOPO are reminiscent of John Fahey and Boxhead Ensemble at their most blissfully meandering. Listen on "I Can See the Church Clock from the Window" to how the background feedback drone tempts the drummer to cool his heels, or on "Seaweed" how woodwind and accordion (the latter bringing to mind Dino Saluzzi's better work on ECM) merge into one sinuous wave of warmth. The real keeper on this four-track album is "Distance Again Expands", five and a half minutes of a solemn riff played against a sonar beat, like some aged Celtic band's idea of minimal techno. The files are compressed at varying bit rates, none smaller than 470kbps (three times the size of the average netlabel download), so the sound quality is extremely good. Check out DOPO's Last Blues at monocromatica.com/netlabel.»
What a great way to end 2005. Thanks to everyone that downloads and enjoys what we're doing here...
But one release remains before we start working into 2006. Check back
this saturday, folks.
December 22, 2005
• tube'|031 - Gordon Tebo - Adaptive Immune
«And from Chicago - USA comes Gordon Tebo, a man with a very special music. Test Tube proudly presents 'Adaptive Immune', a kind of an ode to the human being, and his self-healing immune system. Gordon's music goes straight to the cells that we're made of. But don't get fooled by this apparently cold approach to his music. 'Adaptive Immune' is warm, warm like a blanket made of tiny little sound particles that tuck you in your bed at night. Just check 'Homeopath Inversion' and you'll understand what we're talking about. Slow drones of static get to you right from the beginning, keeping you comfortable all the way, inducing you into a dream state like no other. This EP feels like it was made with pretty much care and attention, and with love too. It's delicate, it's pretty, it's almost perfect. Almost perfect like a human being. Almost perfect like our immune system, taking good care of us. And guess what: It works.»
- Pedro Leitão
December 09, 2005
• tube'|030 - DOPO - Last Blues, To Be Read Someday
«It was kind of inevitable. We would take as our own the most recent ways of doing a certain kind of rock. New and our own, mind you. But that’s irrelevant now. They’re here and we took’em. The primacy of the instrumental over the word, the experimentation without knowledge, the dematerialized song and the mashup of different musical genres. DOPO, a collective of five musicians, are clearly implied in this theft. They are sound thieves, which is equivalent to say that they are also sound creators. The four pieces recorded in this EP explain rather well that condition. They happened, pushed against the ground or against the air.
Maybe that’s why DOPO’s music, being so familiar to us, is simultaneously able to become singular as something unstable and without form. We find in it the echoes of blues, of folk but we could also talk about a kind of dirty music. Because made at ground level, of its odours, sounds and colours. In the end, music that could have been made by dirt scratched hands.
Perhaps - we have to believe - it wasn’t. It’s just music made by a small orchestra of robbers and young adventurers that decided one day to challenge the creative act. And this record is the joyful result of that game. We find it in the song that rambles suspended in “I can see the church clock from the window of your bedroom” before interrupting its lonely march; in “Seaweed” where the solitude dissolves into whistled melodies in space; in “Lifting the valleys of the sea” where the sounds are reminiscent of whatever images we choose. But, especially, in “Distance again expands” where DOPO drags us in a passionate way, to the most deep moment and space of that same re-encounter. And we go with it voluntarily and happily.»
- José Marmeleira
December 05, 2005
Round up of new (well, some may not be all that new, but...) netlabels that got to our attention. Ready your downloads and lets get going, then:
Alg-a is a galician netlabel co-run by test tube artist and friend Xesús Vale Pasos of Plumb & Plumber. They're much into experimental languages like ambient, noise and laptop folk. Essential.
Kyoto Digital [URL]
If you're a fan of digital/minimal dub scorchers like the ones from Basic Channel, then Kyoto is likely to become your favorite netlabel. Just get everything, mon!
Yuki Yaki [URL]
With just two releases, Yuki Yaki is already bookmarked and one of our favorite dig sites. Excellent quality minimal techno and dub flavored sounds.
From the U.K. comes this also very new label, Serein, with ambition and a great looking website. Experimental and Electro-acoustic sounds. Check out the first release by Muhr. Thumbs up.
I can't believe
I missed referring this one earlier. Stasisfield is like the Mego or Touch of experimental audio netlabels. It's really that important. Check it out.
December 02, 2005
• tube'|029 - Thanos Chrysakis - Errant Waves
«Closer, and farther... there is a constant spatial fluctuation on Thanos Chrysakis' Errant Waves: a 7-track release built by abstract crystalline/metallic sounding events, happening on different places around you, some of them near, some of them far, and is this distance shifting and amazing space usage, what makes this album particularly fascinating and intriguing.
Thanos Chrysakis is a London living musician of Greek origin, who also writes poetry and does experimental moving image making. His work is well known and has released several pieces through different labels. Now test tube has the honor and delight to release ‘Errant Waves’, one of the most fascinating and best structured pieces that this writer has heard in a big while.
Inscape 10 (track number 1) is a sudden window to ‘Errant Waves’; quickly you are immersed on a strange universe of tiny glitchy sounds and spacey atmospheres. When you already feel familiar and settled with what's going on, distances begin to change and the sounds' source move away, just to come right to your face and then move back again. This song lets you go and grabs you back constantly.
Inscape 11 is a beautiful short piece, with accentuated bass frequencies and beautiful chimey sounds.
Inscape 12 starts slowly, like a dialogue with an alien that is figuring out what to say as he speaks. Suddenly the track takes an upfront louder mood just to fade away and bring some piano notes superbly mixed with sine waves and hi-pitched micro bells-like sounds. Beautiful.
Inscape 13 starts in an amazing way, with a lot of sounds emerging from everywhere while an expanding/compressing sine wave floats in your head. The track reaches a peak when you have all those tiny sounds sparkling right near to your ears just to fade away leaving the background sine alone just to welcome new beautiful elements and textures that fade and so. Beautiful track.
Inscape 14 is a short piece with some incidental melodies and beautiful sounds moving around.
Inscape 15 starts very sudden; this might be the most emotional piece of the record: there is a sweet melodic low frequency background sound, serving as a soul behind all those glitchy and crystalline sounds. A beautiful emotional journey though abstractness.
Inscape 16 starts very slowly, creating tension and expectation, as new elements appear easing the tension, and driving the song into a fascinating path of shy crispness and crystal soundscapes. As the song evolves, a melodic pattern appears, and gives the song a more narrative meaning. Song ends up superbly with some few elements fading away very slowly.
This is a very special album, one to be listened as a whole with no pauses, and that is easy since the structures and progressions are so dynamic and emotionally grabbing.»
- David Velez
November 25, 2005
TEST TUBE À LA UNE
Test Tube is on focus this month at French portal Musique Libre (noted last week). Look at what they wrote about us:
«A very busy Portuguese netlabel led by Pedro Leitão, Test Tube presents a whole wide and eclectic panorama of today's electro, from Lisbon & Porto, to New York and Frankfurt via Japan, France or Sweden. From etheral ambiant Elian or saturated with guitars AO, improbable white noise sal.. Test Tube catalogue is generous of melodic and rhythmic jewels with the keens of Embark, Gamma Ray Blast, Minus Pilots, or :Papercutz, then folk territory is explored with Bacanal Intruder & Aitänna77, and Frango are on the side of destructured rock. Then it's time for electro-acoustic DIY, with Plumb and Plumber or the amusing Japanstoryboardformulaoneracing from Con 7. An eclecticism that surely will encourage you to test the many other albums... Hard to imagine missing Ubeboet...»
to our french friends for this opportunity.
November 22, 2005
• tube'|028 - Lezrod - Seleccion Natural
«The music scene is really a beautiful thing. There are plenty of interesting things to find, even in the underground scene in which test tube is moving, the netlabel scene.
We're very proud here, at test tube's, to release each and every artist that comes to us with a really original and captivating work, but occasionally, there is one that really stands out of the crowd.
We proudly present Lezrod's 'Seleccion Natural', a four piece EP by Colombian man David Velez, artist and friend, who crafts fantastic electronic constructions, pretty much in the way architects craft houses and buildings.
David loves classic Jazz and Funk, IDM electronics, Contemporary Music and Film music. And it shows.
'Dubid' and its laidback jazz drums, cinematic ambient streams and software glitches is a bliss to our senses. We just let go, gently, watching the movie, tasting the stuff, until 'Apoc' comes forward. 'Apoc' pays a little homage to an IDM artist, who introduced David to synths and to the sounds widely known as electronic music. Its first seconds contain a vocal sample from him. From there it goes to the heart of the machine. This one is technologically cold, with static noises bursting everywhere. Impressively strong and strict and experimental. 'Re' keeps trailing the 'Apoc' path. More experimental noise and IDM crossover, glitches abound, impromptus with religious weight. Awesome, this one, strong personality and heavy as ever. Finally, 'Adios' sends us home. David returns to the beginning, and to where he's strong and at his best. Jazz flows again. The drums, people, the drums! With a deliberate melancholic tone, 'Adios' returns the listener to the starting point. The harmonic tones, the drum breaks, the digital glitches. This is what makes Lezrod's music Lezrod's music. The question that comes to mind now is: Are we ready for Lezrod's music?»
- Pedro Leitão
November 13, 2005
MUSIQUE LIBRE POUR LE MONDE
Musique-Libre.org is a French portal (Un portail pour la communauté Musique Libre) that supports and divulges free music under Creative Common licenses and such. Musique Libre is also a cultural association. Check here.
Test Tube has been working to have its catalogue featured at their website. And its almost complete. Take a look.
You can stream or download directly from musique-libre. Thanks Bituur!
November 04, 2005
SOUNDTRACK FOR PLANET EARTH
• tube'|027 - Elian - We are all visitors here
«test tube proudly presents 'We are all visitors here', an ambient masterpiece by Michael Ferrell a.k.a. Elian, U.S.A. born and bred.
This work is inspired by mortality, in the literal sense of the word. Mortality and
efemerity, because we are all visitors here on this planet, on this universe. We are just passing by, leaving a trail of destruction most of the time, but also of beautiful things that will last longer than us.
When we were talking about the artwork - which is by Seth White, an amateur photographer - Michael and I discussed many things about the greatness of this planet, its mountains and rivers, its gigantic mass and strenght, its destructive and creative power in everything, and how we are microscopically small, we humans and all living things that populate it. Seth's antarctica photo illustrates perfectly Michael's idea for this album. It encapsulates all that greatness, all that power. And on the other hand, our smallness, our efemerous life here. We're all just visitors for a limited amount of time.
This album also encapsulates those cosmic concepts in its long and drony pieces. Some
with suggestive titles such as 'Being on the phone during a thunderstorm' and 'Origin or
Profile'. But the title theme is the real keeper, in its more than 20 minutes of growing drone delicacy.
- Pedro Leitão
October 23, 2005
TEST TUBE AT BASE
BASE PT is a new cultural association that publish and releases magazines and cd recordings. Their first BASE CD features three tracks by three Test Tube artists. Tracklisting of this release is:
1. Nighttime at the playground / :Papercutz
2. Full time orchestra / Bulllet
3. Notre amour platonique / Ka§par
4. Heat seeker / Coden
5. Adventures in stereo / Arkham Hi*Fi
6. Anouk / Com. Gen
7. Pod #3 / Pitch Boys
8. Dromology / Badlobster
9. Micron dude / Rui Canelas
10. Arbitrarily polarized light / Low Pressure System
11. Monologue / Mílanó
12. Cutthroat dub / Beast Box
13. PartnerBilder / António Contador
October 21, 2005
FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE ATLANTIC OCEAN
• tube'|026 - NNY - ECT
«Swiss born Jerome Faria - now residing in his parents birthplace, Madeira Island - delivers a long player of 70 minutes, signed as NNY. 'ECT' is a complex experiment in sound dissection, as Jerome pursues pure forms of sound composition, some being harsh and brute while others are harmonious and contemplating.
'Ngen', for instance, is a ten minute edgy and slightly violent piece, with machinal loops and glitchy granular elements; 'Spctiv' is a completely different approach, where Jerome uses looping piano strings with a rotating noise on top; 'Artria', on the other hand, is an old school IDM ambient, BoC style short piece. Last track is a remix of '1noise' by ps, a fellow Netlabel artist from Enough Records (thanks ps!).
Every track features its new sounds and approaches, and Jerome has used all his talent to surprise us.
Although 'ECT' can be sharp sometimes, it depends where you'll be looking for the sounds that trigger emotions. It has short and long pieces, all with their own palette of styles, ranging from click'n'cuts to dark ambient aesthetics.
An ambitious step for Jerome, 'though easily resolved.
Today is Jerome's birthday, and isn't this a nice way to celebrate it? Happy birthday!»
- Pedro Leitão
October 19, 2005
Some Netlabel links for your bookmarks:
- Zymogen ~ a new and very interesting italian label;
- Beat is Murder ~ various styles, excellent selection;
- Complementary Distribution ~ also new, also very good one;
- Filament Recordings ~ this one is to be launched by December;
- Surreal Madrid ~ Surreal netlabel from Spain's metropolis;
- Rope Swing Cities ~ beautiful start with a release by Ten and Tracer;
October 14, 2005
HAVE A GLASS OF RED WINE
• tube'|025 - Rui Gato - Transit
«‘Transit’ is a transdisciplinary journey through the Muzak concept. Rui Gato masterfully approaches the sensorial trips that we are subject to. An enriching experience of the informative everyday present.
There is no shortage of elevator trips, pastoral enchantments, mixtures of instruments from all continents, supersonic airplanes - with stops in Rome, Saint Tomé, Madrid, London and Budapest -, portuguese guitars, the charm of the ‘fadista’ bum, and Portugal characterized with detail and accompanied by the Ribatejo vineyards, where grape variety ‘Tinta Meúda’ is produced.
Brian Eno had thought of airports, Rui Gato was more genuine, patriot and, well, more refined and subtle, and chose a wine from his birthplace.
An unparalleled journey.» - Bruno Barros
October 06, 2005
THE IPOD RELIGION
Our friend and artist Kenneth Kirschner, from NY, was recently interviewed for one of our favorite reference music blogs, Disquiet. Marc Weidenbaum asked, and Kenneth answered many things about his creative process and the concepts behind his beautiful music pieces. A must read for fans of his work and experimental and indeterminate electronica curious alike.
Kenneth: "If I have a religion in life," he says, "it's the iPod."
Read the complete interview here.
October 04, 2005
IN GOOD COMPANY
News update: We shall say only the leaves are scheduled to play live tomorrow at our dear ZDB venue, in Lisbon, joining forces with americans Oval and british Icarus.
The reason: Cosmopolis Lisbon Festival. Check the complete programme.
If you're around, go see them. Tickets are cheap and the place has style.
September 30, 2005
POST-ROCK FOR GEEKS
• tube'|024 - We shall say only the leaves - Exploding Whales
«Once a 'conventional' post-rock band, We shall say only the leaves are now more interested in electronic textures. They still have a live drummer and bits of live guitar, bass and tape-loops and Chicago post-rock influences, but they are much more than that now. 'Exploding Whales', their first release (after an mp3 demo on their website), is a collection of songs recorded this year, their second year of existence. You can hear Tortoise in the rich drum textures and some of the melodies, but there is so much more than that. 'Creation' starts with laid-back free drumming that turns into a beat, complete with dubby bass and what sounds like a one-note guitar sample, while 'Tight Circumference' starts with bits of static noise and guitar and soon turns into an almost-tribal beats extravaganza. The most post-rockish of all five tracks, 'Pomme de Terre' features a lazy, gentle guitar and an almost metallic (in the true sense of the word) beat. And then the record ends with what sounds like a tape disintegrating. This is their first real adventure yet, and although it shows a lot a promise for the future, you can enjoy it right now anyway.» - Rodrigo Nogueira
September 26, 2005
JAPAN MEETS FRANCE
Funny shit: A french guy, using the alias Phoebus - not 'our' Phoebus, which is portuguese - loved so much our last release, by japanese artist AO, that made his own version of its two tracks. Guitar drones meet Electric piano.
Download it here.
September 20, 2005
Many new reviews added, and here are some quotes from them:
«I think if I can find a way to purchase something by them I will.»;
«Simply amazing. This whole EP is just calm and beautiful. I can't get enough of 'An Exit'. 5 stars.»;
Both from tube'|010.
«I have the pleasure to listen to another Pitch Boys release, and just as expected, it is once again filled with precious electronic gems only forged by musicians that want to push the boundaries of electronica.»;
«A very strange trip into various fields of travelling.»;
«This is great work. All sorts of different diverse sounds!»;
«Great ep with many styles. I love it!»;
«'Red Horses'. A pleasingly weird & crunchy bit of techno from the netlabel Test Tube. This track evolves slowly and noisily into a swirling little wall of yum.»;
Both from tube'|019.
«Nicely done, wonderful vast virtual landscapes, creeping drones and gravity sweeping tones! Excelent all around!! 5+.»;
«La chaleur nous enveloppe au ralenti, poisseuse, dégoulinante, étouffante. Somptueuse vision, purement réaliste selon moi. Magnifique.»;
«Taking this music in conjunction with the summer - artwork gives an astonishing mood.»;
All from tube'020.
«Other variations include scraped percussion and a moire pattern of pizzicato action, but the real keeper, "Rhythm III", sounds, of all things, like ersatz African juju pop music, complete with sour bent notes.»;
«C'est plutôt une agréable surprise que ce Rythm 'n' Drones, même si les "drones" sont finalement assez discrets, ou du moins se rapprochent de ceux qu'un Freeform peut libérer de temps à autres.»;
Both from tube'|021.
«Darren McClure propose une ode électronique, limite new-age, pour le moins ambiante.»;
«Ein magisches click-release auf Test tube ist perfekt zum aufwachen…»;
Both from tube'|022.
«The piece ['Blue'], a 12-plus-minute drone, goes loud and wide quite quickly, as if it is dropping into view suddenly from an overhead cloud. It's a piercing work, like something U2 guitarist the Edge might play late at night when he's alone in his studio.»;
September 17, 2005
ENDLESS GUITAR DRONES
• tube'|023 - AO - Endlessly, Sweetly and Slightly
«Guess what: another Japanese artist on test tube. AO - real name Aogu Yoshida - has previously released on MiMi, another portuguese based netlabel, and has to offer two long, brilliant and immersive space drones for our delight. Although fairly similar aestheticaly, these two pieces have distinct approaches on sound design.
'Blue' starts with a slight fade in, only to burst itself into a long cascade of acute drones, building on each other, saturating themselves in a religious and intense light side high.
'Thyme' seems identically at first, but its more like the follow up to the previous track. Its structure is the same, but to the trained listener, it feels like a second act, shorter, narrower and endlessly more violent.
Both pieces share the same threshold that exists between a beautiful and uplifting melody, and a darker, heavier trance-like drone. Guitar based computer music. Just close your eyes and let go of yourself.»
- Pedro Leitão
September 14, 2005
Soon we will release tube'|023, an EP by AO. And one more before this month ends. Three in September!
Meanwhile, check some new reviews of our latest release.
Also, Phoebus - who opened test tube to the world with 'Peri Sable EP' - has a brand new website!
Check it out: www.phoebus.pt.vu.
And speaking of Phoebus, he will be playing live at this year's EME Festival, to be held at Igreja de Santiago, inside the Palmela's Castle. Palmela is a very small but very nice city near Setúbal, here in Portugal. Carlos Zíngaro, Nuno Rebelo, Freiband, Stephan Mathieu and Vitor Joaquim are some of the artists that will be there. It's next Thursday!
September 01, 2005
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
• tube'|022 - Darren McClure - Unmoored
«Darren McClure comes from Japan and brings seven pieces of introspective and spatial ambient, of the dark kind. Opener 'Tap' breeds an intense drone since its childhood into a full blown adult, all in under four minutes. An excellent start. From here, Darren starts fiddling with a very wide pallete of sounds and frequencies: breaking glitches and examining computer entrails on 'Container'; Bleeps, digitized encounters, walls of low-frequency vibrations and melancholy on 'Pines and fall foliage'. Fall, indeed. 'Thaw' will either put you to sleep after 2 minutes, or put you together with your favorite drug for a 5 minute trip. This is the one you'll want inside your iPod, next to the Brian Eno ones, I hope. Next, we come to the title track. 'Unmoored' is the real dark one here. Heavy bass drones wrap around our heads, taking you to a landscape of electrical circuits. It's night, and the leds going on and off are the stars in the sky. The gravel under your feet feels like cinder, as you walk into an 'Afternoon walk'. Again, heavy drones whisper in the distance, like a storm announcing itself at your path. You'll arrive by 'Removing the last pieces'. Closing time for Darren's amalgam of bleeps and ubiquous drone sequences. Bleeps start unfolding, shutting down systems, winding down, going into sleep mode. Fade out.
Oddly enough, Darren's music doesn't fit the genre as we'd expect. His pieces are rather short, never getting to see the six minutes mark. They're concise, compact, everything included. In such a way that we'll come back for more, repeatedly.
One of my personal favorites this year. Thank you, Darren.»
- Pedro Leitão
August 28, 2005
Found via DE:BUG:
Music Industry giant conglomerate Warner is about to jump on the Netlabel-ish concept. According to this news, «the new mechanism will be called an "e-label," in which artists will release music in clusters of three songs every few months rather than a CD every few years.». E-label is such a crap title, isn't it? Why don't they like "Netlabel"? Too obvious, perhaps? :)
Also, they've come up with this revolutionary idea: «The e-label will permit recording artists to enjoy a "supportive, lower-risk environment" without as much pressure for huge commercial hits. In addition, artists signed to the e-label will retain copyright and ownership of their master recordings.».
Pure genious. Expect to see Britneys's next EP as a Netlabel release, in a near future... Damn, don't they have enough billions already?
August 19, 2005
TABLAS AND HYPNOTISM
• tube'|021 - Jo Jena - Rhythm 'n' Drones
«Contrasts, micro-tonalities, complements, embryo structures, drones. All this, in the casual and systematic exploration of the moment, elevates ‘Rhythm & Drones’ to intemporality, thus inhabiting the present and the history, so we could freely trail this ‘trans-temporality’ without preconceptions.
‘Rhythm I’ is the initiation of a savage ritual, rough, hot and bewitched by a drone submitted to the rhythm of the tabla. A cerebral hypnotism that leads the listener to the most obscure swamp, as if Frankfurt was the starting line to an urban safari.
‘Drone I’ is the hermaphrodite being par excellence, the melting pot of Hermes for the percussion and Aphrodite to the machine like glitch.
Divided in seven pieces, the avant-garde sound of Jo Jena, Frankfurt born musician, is a dive into the duality and the relentless search for breathing freedom.
The claustrophobic ‘Novaya Zemlya’, site for the investigation of weather radiations, is a white-gown convention, and the perceptional guitar ‘droning biorhythm’, the conclusion of the study observations. To conclude, not end.»
- Bruno Barros
August 17, 2005
Japanese Music & Art Netlabel Collective. Very cool design and imagery. Excellent sounds. One of 2005 favorites.
Montreal, Canada. Peromusic is a dance floor oriented Netlabel. Great for Dj's. But you'll love it too. Check them out.
Noisejihad's releases are all live recordings from jams and lives of their gigs. They're very much into noise/experimental stuff, hence the name.
If you're into that, go get all of them!
HUNGRYMEN RECORDS [link]
Is a Berlin based Netlabel that releases Hip-Hop, D'n'B and other electronica. Worth a bookmark and some downloads.
August 06, 2005
ORGANIZATION IS COOL
Yes it is.
We've organized old news by year and month.
And by hand, because this website isn't php-based, yet.
Just check below on this page, if you want to find previous news items.
Also, we've added total time info to feature releases (current, next and special).
test tube: always improving...
August 04, 2005
We added some more reviews taken from our EARLabs pages.
Here are the most recent ones:
«The distorted backward masked communications that brings melodies to new scapes with 3-D living cubes! Loved it 5/5!.»
- Phoenelai on tube'|010
«This is go out our control.»
- Mikel Gaizcoleta on tube'|012
«I don’t know how to explain the thoughts and feeling that have brainstormed my mind when i heard “Sitting San”. One of the things that occurred to me was: “Tortoise”! I apologize for the comparison but it was indeed that what happened. I pictured far lands in my head. Far lands of my head! A verb to describe this album: travel. When you hear this album, you’ll be instantly projected in far lands, and just wonder. For a debut album, i believe it’s really an impressive piece of music, and thank god they’re Portuguese! We needed a bright, talented and fresh band as “Frango”, in this music scene. One of my top 3 music discoveries on 2005. Thank you Frango.»
- Pedro Andrade on tube'|013
«This is one of the best albums i have heard in a while. droning tones and glitchy textures create beautiful hypnotic atmospheres. this is a must listen for everyone into glitchy experimental atmospheric music.»
- David Velez on tube'|018
July 30, 2005
LIGHT DARK MOODS FOR THE SUMMER
• tube'|020 - Vägskäl - As Summer Comes Creeping
«Erik Svensson has many names and faces for all his musical personalities. This time, he slips into Vägskäl, an outfit previously used to release 'Last Summer' on our favorite portuguese netlabel, Enough Records. Erik is using Vägskäl to make 'Dark Ambient' - or so I've been told - but honestly, I don't believe he has completely succeeded into it. Not with this 'As Summer Comes Creeping', he hasn't. Vägskäl is beyond dark ambient on this one. This is clearer and wider. This is big and sunny open spaces as opposed to small and dark crawlspaces. This is light, in the true sense of the word. Look to the artwork. Let's see if this works.
'Outside My Window' couldn't be better named. You open this window and float outside to a tropical beach. It's raining and you can hear the ocean bathing the sand and the docked boats, and the wood crackles, as if they were trying to sing a song. You hear the sweet melancholy pouring out of the sky, and down on you. You feel happy, and you are in love with someone who isn't there.
'The Fading Star' is the drone masterpiece of this EP. You can almost taste the liquified metal, as it reverbs in and out of the spectrum. A bit more dark, but the light still shines there, somewhere, and it lifts you up high. Six and a half minutes have passed, but it felt like much less.
'A Song for a Girl' is the keeper. It's still ambient in a way, but it incorporates a steady mechanical beat, like some sort of steam engine, pounding, fully synchronized. Drones fill up the space left, adding dense layers into the song, some lighter, some darker. And love clicks.
We say 'Goodbye' with the most dark of the lot. Sparser, lower and lonelier drones build up slowly into the track, keeping it steadily growing, adding new elements to itself as it intensifies in weight and strengh. It ends in an amalgamation of clicks and crackles, and consumes itself into silence.
Repeat.» - Pedro Leitão
July 28, 2005
test tube's Sitting San, by Frango, got mentioned in the 'Global Ear' feature (dedicated to Lisbon) of latest WIRE issue (August), by Pedro Gomes, one of our local cultural activists.
Great article! Kudos to Pedro for paying some attention to our releases.
We're on WIRE, people!
July 26, 2005
NETLABELS AND OPEN CONTENT: WHAT FUTURE?
On last March, Bram Timmers - a Dutch Art student from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands - started an academic research on the Netlabel phenomena. His goal: to understand «the netlabel scene and its social and technical consequences for our reality and putting it in perspective with the open content movement.».
Well, the research is now completed and its a 31 page deep and insightful work on everything that its part of the strange world we're in - The Netlabel World.
If you want to better understand what we're dealing with here, download and print it, and then read it. Make Bram's excellent essay worthwhile. And share it.
Here's the links:
• Bram's website: www.c3.hu/~bram/
• Bram's research: [PDF]
July 25, 2005
LABRADFORDIANO, MA NON TROPPO.
Found a curious italian review of Frango's Sitting San. It's readable, people:
«Formazione prettamente acustica, con un retro-calore psych statunitense '60, i Frango possono ricordare anche cose della ESP, o certe elongazioni dei Limbus tedeschi, comunque musica abbastanza singolare, tipo anche i Thuja, con un vago sapore algarviano sospeso in una specie di siesta infinita da qualche parte tra Sagres e Olhao, tra oceano e mediterraneo.
Molto rilassato il primo brano, "Muito Tempo", in cui la chitarra genera armonici e il basso ondeggia come a simulare il fluttuare delle onde.
La lunghissima "Rusty Allen", quindici minuti detemporalizzati da stille di piano e da una chitarra acustica silentemente labradfordiana (ma non troppo)
riecheggia ricordi marini finiti in trame moresche fittamente istoriate di echi come una Alhambra, pigramente sostenuta da una ritmica titubante ma
accorta...» - S [NewsLand.it]
July 24, 2005
mono¨cromatica/test tube is about to move to a new and bigger office soon.
We expect to have everything set up at the new address by September this year, but you may use it already, starting now. The new details are:
test tube netlabel (mono¨cromatica)
C/O Pedro Leitão
Rua Damião de Góis, 16 - 3º ESQ
1400-089 LX (Lisboa)
Use it wisely. Thanks.
July 21, 2005
Well, Bacanal Intruder scores another nice review. Comfort Music dixit:
«If you're like me, stumbling across a beautiful & quirky netlabel release is like getting a nifty little early Christmas present. (Of course, if you're like me, you're also digging frantically at the side of your face with a shrimp fork, trying desperately to get the voices out once and for all, but there's nothing I can do about that.) So imagine my delight when I stumbled across Bacanal Intruder - I mentioned the part about "beautiful & quirky" already, so let me just tag on the obligatory comparison to The Books (this is softer and less intense than The Books) and be done with it. (...).» - Scotto [Comfort Music]
July 20, 2005
LIKE JIM O'ROURKE SODOMIZING LULLATONE
New review of Aitänna77's release. It goes:
«Esperanzador debut del "castelloniano" Mikel Martínez (personajillo importantísimo dentro de la escena e-zines en spagniolo), para el netlabel Test Tube (subsello del sello fisico Monocromatica). Cuatro temas paisajísticos a medio camino entre el songwriting de Drag City y el pop travieso de Audiodregs. David Grubbs o Jim O'Rourke sodomizando a Lullatone o E*vax. Xilófonos y guitarrillas entre secuencias de blips y plofs. Otro valor en alza del intimismo electrónico made in Spain que, como todos los demás, ha optado por buscarse la vida en formato virtual. Altamente recomendado para los amantes de la artesania pop.» - culocranky [Ich Hasse die Media]
July 17, 2005
GROWING LIKE MUSHROOMS
Let's get your Netlabel bookmarks updated, folks.
BUMP FOOT [link]
Yet another Japanese netlabel. Check out its three excellent releases so far, one by Zuchinni and the other two by Tetsu.
term. is the online label from well known 12k records, Taylor Deupree's home label. Great selection of free minimal music exploration. Don't let anything out.
I've been exploring Mirakelmusic catalogue from some time now, and a proper link was already in order. They have many great releases for you to explore. Ubeboet, Danny Kreutzfeldt and Mendigo are among my favorites, but you should get everything. Trust me on this.
With almost 30 releases under its belt, Textone says of itself: «textone is an online electronic music magazine and label, manifesting itself in word and sound; a channel that lets ideas and expressions circulate freely in public, with the goal of generating an open exchange of thoughts and works within the electronic music community.» Sounds good enough for me.
July 09, 2005
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
Yes, today test tube completes its first year of existance. It has been an excellent year, with many submissions from artists interested in being part of our roster. At this moment, we already have releases scheduled for January 2006...
We must catch up on everything really soon. After summer we'll start by putting out 3 releases every month, as long as our server holds. Our local mirror should make it possible.
It has been an incredible ride so far, and you can bet your iPod that it will get even better. Thanks for riding along. Keep enjoying our releases, and remember: Share them with your friends!
Anyway, we were planning a special limited edition compilation release around this date, but unfortunately things slowed down a bit and we're re-scheduling it to be released after summer. This release will feature some tracks of test tube artists from previous releases - kind of our personal 'best of' - plus some invited ones that we greatly respect, like Alva Noto, Francisco López, AGF, Rafael Toral and Adriana Sá. This release will be limited to 300 numbered copies and will feature a hardcover book with pictures and notes from test tube and some of the artists invited. We can't advance any prices yet, because we want it to be sold at the cheapest price possible, very close to production costs. Remember that we're Creative Commons based. We're a Netlabel, and all profits will go directly to the artists involved.
We'll have more details on this as we get close to September. Stay tuned.
Now for our 19th release:
• tube'|019 - Embark - Red Horses EP
«Embark is the dance outfit for a french artist duo. They've released an EP before, for the Acrylik Netlabel imprint. Expect an aesthetic twist from our latest releases, because Red Horses pulls you to the dance floor with ease.
Starting on a shoegaze-like, slightly rock-oriented theme, 'Red Horses' sets the right melodic tone to what will come later. This has 'french electronica' written all over it: crunchy snares, ethnic drums, vintage synth and keyboard effects, 80's bass lines, some vocoder phrases and vocal samples here and there. It takes downtempo to a seemingly nostalgic level. It goes from Chillout to Deep House in a matter of 15 minutes.
'Aqualandia' picks up where the first track left and takes you to the House floor, nineties style. But you should call it Ambient House, I guess.
'Before To' heats up the dance floor, so that you can warm up and be prepared to the last track: 'Catch the Light'. A full, close to the ground old-school House killer. Can your feet hold up to the task?» - Pedro Leitão
July 01, 2005
Just some quick notes before next release:
- New artist Vägskäl, from Sweden, with some beautiful IDM landscapes;
- Plumb & Plumber webpage updated and a review from LaFresto added.
Next up: Embark. Gang way for some catchy dance tunes.
June 25, 2005
YIN & YANG
• tube'|018 - Plumb & Plumber - Organic Feedback
«Yet another Spanish talent. And talent is the keyword here.
Plumb & Plumber, also known as Jesús Valle Pazos, comes from Vigo, Galicia, the northwestern spanish province. Cold and wet in the Winter, Sunny and warm in the Summer.
'Organic Feedback' revolves around ambient and cinematic electronica, where tape and field recordings are a warm layer of analog tapestries and dissonant electric guitars explode in a fuzzy and mechanical chaos. These ambient textures share the space with fingerpicked acoustic guitar chords and spaced-out sluggish drones, inviting us to an irresistible journey Through Plumb & Plumber's delicate universe.
You'll hear broken banjos, untuned guitars, steam engine noises, a pope doing some sort of a speech, ground recordings, an old woman singing a lament, 8 bit sounds, shoegazing drones, ambient space music, birds chirping, radio traffic and hiss, tons and tons of hiss. This is almost pure Library Music.
What Plumb & Plumber builds on 'Organic Feedback', with great knowledge of sound editing techniques and a rare and subtle - and genuine - aesthetic appeal, is a magnificent experimental EP, both fragile and strong, clear and dense, light and dark. Yin & Yang. Both parts of the same. Plumb & Plumber.
I can't find the perfect words to describe this. Pure, almost brute melancholic beauty. Get this now.» - Pedro Leitão
June 22, 2005
It's the Netlabel Times!
Mexican label with some great minimal techno, minimal house and dub-inspired IDM releases. Check out the Zofa release.
YELLOW BOP RECORDS [link]
Yellow Bop Records is another Essay Collective affiliated project.
Mission: To release high quality tunes from some of the Collective's prolific members. Oh, and it's from Portugal, of course. Welcome aboard, guys.
If Experimental Electronics are your cup of tea, then point your browser to the German netlabel's website. Worth a look!
June 15, 2005
FAST BROKEN RACING ENGINES
• tube'|017 - Con 7 - Japanstoryboardformulaoneracing
«French musician La Fresto is no stranger to test tube. He's been following and reviewing our releases almost since the beginning, and now he's at the other side, submitting his most recent work under a new alias: Con 7.
Japanstoryboardformulaoneracing, in short of a better title, is a collection of lo-fi electronic dance tracks. By using only a small spectrum of samples and sounds, La Fresto creates almost skeletal but effective beats. There is no fat here. This is raw clicks'n'cuts for the new millennium.
Each track features completely new samples, all precisely layered on top of the first one. Sometimes we get the impression that this is another random work, the disturbed mind of a sample head put to use on one more derivative collage, but that is a wrong impression. This grows, slowly, making space under your cerebelum, launching sinewaves from time to time, helping you to organize your mind. Noise also has some moments here. Good moments, I mean. Typewriters typing broken typos on 'Formula'. Broken engines mixed with geek techno. Audio tape being maimed without mercy. Screaming fields of sonic mess, for sure. And it finishes up with rather intensely drones. Weird shit.
Conceptual? Maybe, maybe not. Interesting? You can bet your old PC on that.»
- Pedro Leitão
May 20, 2005
WORKING FOR IMMORTALITY
• tube'|016 - Gamma Ray Blast - 5 Dimensões EP
«Portuguese musician José Paulo Andrade is a former member of 80's urban folk band Ocaso Épico, known for its mindblowing performances at the extinct lisbon venue Rock Rendez Vous (RRV). He also played guitar in a rock band called V12. Ocaso Épico released one album - 'Muito Obrigado' - in 1988 and was ready to record its second one some years later when band leader and menthor Farinha Master died unexpectedly, putting a premature end to the project. The remaining members scattered and José begins learning and exploring new tools, mainly software based ones.
'5 Dimensões EP' is the result of his 3 year evolution journey as Gamma Ray Blast, in which he gathered influences from the 90's so-called 'ambient' precursors, such as Kruder & Dorfmeister, Thievery Corporation and Badmarsh, among others, all wrapped up under a genuine Sci-Fi feel. Gamma Ray Blast operates on a lush and soothing beat base, very melodical, mixed with oriental and traditional portuguese elements, such as sitar, portuguese guitar (mainly used in the Fado genre), flutes and percussion.
Then we get to the third piece, called 'Paredes' which is a humble homage to the late Carlos Paredes, a true genius of the Portuguese Guitar. It contains a couple of samples from his work, like the song 'Verdes Anos' one of his most known ones. Fourth track 'Grândola' is another homage, but this one is dedicated to the April 25th political revolution that freed Portuguese people from the dictatorship regime, back in 1974, where we can hear Zeca Afonso sing the words of the first song to be played on the (at last) censorship-liberated radio, 'Grândola Vila Morena'. Musically, these two songs show the strenght of their dramatic and political meaning, but also the smoothness of lounge electronic music.
Last track is an original from Ocaso Épico/Farinha Master, reworked, called 'Adamastor'.
Everything is in its right place, making this EP a joy for the senses.
Two thumbs up.» - Pedro Leitão
May 12, 2005
MORE REASONS FOR DOWNLOADING TUBES
Here's three reviews for our two most recent releases:
«The new album from Sal., 'Öhne Titel Mit Titel', now downloadable from the Test Tube netlabel, will appeal mostly to veteran noise fans, but there are nods to a more general audience. While three tracks are about as pleasurable as the wind breaking against a cheap microphone during an ill-fated field-recording trip to the shore ("Compreendo perfeitamente a tua estupidez.", "Compreendo perfeitamente a tua necessidade.", "Compreendo perfeitamente porque e que e redondo."), the irritants here can become attractors. In particular, "wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" (yes, that's the title) is far more complex than it initially appears, a fevered rash of conflicting cogs banging against each other, spitting up tiny, high-pitched sparks. For most listeners, though, the one real keeper is "Parte Primeira," which opens with a pleasurable rhythmic lope and hints at the fire of feedback, and then evolves through an exploration of murkiness, before splintering into a wash of sine waves and white noise.»
- Disquiet / May 5, 2005
«Je me souviens, c'était il n'y a pas très longtemps, je me disais que le projet publié par Test Tube qui me plaisait le plus était celui d'Aitänna77 ('|012), premier représentant sur ce label d'une folk électronique. Et bien, Bacanal Intruder est de la même veine, issu d'un moule hispanique similaire, avec tout le plaisir que cela peut me procurer. Six pièces ciselées avec toute l'insouciance et cette forme unique de nostalgie qui ne sied qu'au folk. Sauf que là, c'est encore plus profond. On imagine très bien une mini-fanfare post-moderne de Chicago rencontrer un Pascal Comelade qui reprend goût aux jouets qu'il affectionnait tant à ses débuts. Bacanal Intruder respire cette bonne humeur teintée de fraîcheur, cette musique de chambre qu'on rêverait de croiser à chaque coin de rue, en lieu et place de la gouaille néo-réaliste ou des violons qui pleurent d'ennui.»
- LaFresto / May 10, 2005
«Pouco mais de um quarto de hora bem medido é quanto dura em tempo real 'Herramientas Para Abrir Un Libro', recente realização de Bacanal Intruder, músico espanhol que toca babypiano, melódica, harmónica, guitarra, contrabaixo, copos de cristal... e computador (glitch e beats de muito bom gosto). Nova edição da excelente netlabel lusa test tube, que não pára de nos surepreender pela positiva.
Música que se ouve de frente para trás e de trás para a frente, reversível como as memórias que acumulamos no tempo que nos cabe. Assim se condensa num pedaço de tempo o tanto que Bacanal Intruder armazena nas estruturas que compõem esta bela e estranha caixinha de música. Adequado contraponto electro à folk acústica que perece estar em franca expansão no mundo da música pop. Há um fio ténue de latinidade que atravessa os temas de 'Herramientas Para Abrir Un Libro' e lhes dá um travo especial. Sopram brizas cálidas de quadrante Sul em noites de Verão.»
- Eduardo Chagas / May 9, 2005
May 06, 2005
BABY PIANOS AND RUBBER DUCKS
• tube'|015 - Bacanal Intruder - Herramientas Para Abrir Un Libro
«test tube proudly presents Bacanal Intruder, real name Luis García-Pumarino, who is another Spanish folktronica discoverer, together with Aitänna77. Both of them mix analog and acoustic instruments with computer generated glitch layers and beats. Bacanal Intruder has some twists of his own, though. He uses some toy instruments, like a baby piano and a plastic duck, plays doublebass, and sings. Yeah, he sings a bit. He's also keen for short songs, with the longest one going at three and a half minutes. They're short, but consistent. Let's go over them, one by one:
''D' Song' is a cute little glitch-folk tune, with an acoustic guitar riding by its side. It catches perfectly those summer vacations that seem almost lost in time.
Harmonica is strong within this one;
On 'Paper Bach', we get to hear Luis singing a bit, but hiding its voice behind glass music, more guitar and melodica. And those crunchy beats give a little edge on the experimental side;
'Melancoholic' sounds like a follow up to the previous song, starting with melodica cut-and-paste experimentation, toy sounds, and giving room to the Bacanal Intruder's trademark glitch beats and bleeps, which appear in the middle of the track. Ends up deconstructing random guitar chords;
'One month as a mini-weekend of sand and seahorses' (nice title) captures that 'summer at the beach' feel I was talking about before, being driven by a toy piano in an ambient mood. This could be a perfect intro for a Yo La Tengo song;
'Oh! My beautiful friends of mine' has to be the most weird song here. First, it breathes joyand pleasure in every detail, like cow 'moos', bird 'chirps', bathroom baby ducks or water glass 'clings'... then it gets a little dramatic and experimental near the end, slowing down as if it is a baby toy unwinding;
This EP ends with 'In loving memory to a grandma', which seems like a love song. This is the most beautiful and down to earth song of the lot. Very simple in melody, but very intense.
'Herramientas Para Abrir Un Libro' - 'Tools To Open a Book' - is a 16 minute long happy/sad journey through electronic folk that makes a really enjoyable listen. I couldn't recommend it more. Use it wisely to mend broken hearts.»
- Pedro Leitão
May 03, 2005
FIND YOUR LOVE
Lisbon's ZDB Gallery is a unique place in our country when it comes to music gigs and art performances. It's operating in a centenary building at Bairro Alto, heart of the counter-culture movement in the capital, where it's usual to find techno joints next to fado houses and biological food stores. ZDB will soon enter in it's 11th year of existance. This calls for some celebration.
This new festival endorsed and organized by ZDB Müsique includes two test tube artists, Frango and Phoebus (playing live on May 13 and May 14).
Rightfully, we're very happy. Because they deserve to be heard and because now there will be more people believing in our combined energies.
Price? Just 20 € for the 3 nights. So, where's your love?
More information here.
May 01, 2005
CREATIVE COMMONS GOES YAHOO!
This are excellent news for Creative Commons supporter artists and structures. Now we have a tailor-made (still at beta stage, though...) search engine to help internet surfers find CC content much easier.
Respect to Yahoo! for that.
Here, try it.
April 25, 2005
LOVERS TORTURE MOMENT
• tube'|014 - sal. - Öhne Titel Mit Titel
«sal. is a bit of a multi-talented artist. He does photography, new media, mixed media, he runs a multi-cultural venue called ovírus (the virus) with a group of friends, and of course, he makes his own music (most people do it in these days...). But not any kind of easy, unsuspected or familiar music, like garage pop-rock, hip hop, techno or whatever. sal. makes pure noise music, also called 'white noise', based on static electricity fluctuations and stuff. I really don't know how he makes it, but he knows how to make it. And it hurts. It hurts a lot. His music hits you so hard, that you'll feel like you've been run over by a train.
Now... I could write some lines here, about Merzbow, Ryoji Ikeda and maybe Scanner and others, and how sal.'s music picks references from each one of them, etc. It would be rather pointless, because although most Noise and White Noise music has a solid structure, usually we get carried away by the violence of its sound and we tend to overlook those basic structure references and movement sways, and hidden patterns, hence, any reference to this work or that artist wouldn't do much for you, dear reader, just listen to the damn thing.
SOME IMPORTANT NOTES BEFORE TAKING THIS EXPERIENCE:
'Öhne Titel Mit Titel' needs you to be fully awake, with your mind and ears set to 'i-don't-know-what-the-hell-i'm-going-to-listen-to-but-i-don't-fucking-care-anyway mode', to be completely and truly... ahem... enjoyed.
Also, you wouldn't want to listen to this with your stomach empty. Have a snack a couple of minutes before, or something like that. Some tea would be nice, too.
Lie down on your bed or sofa. We want you to be at your most comfortable position. Don't even think about taking this out to the street.
And please, try this first with your volume set to low, then gradually upping it until it reaches the borders of pain. You're set to go.
Test Tube is not responsible, in any way, for future hearing problems related to the overuse of this release. Use it at your own risk. You have been warned.
And no, this is not a joke. I'm not laughing.» - Pedro Leitão
April 16, 2005
News on the Netlabel world. Check out:
Berlin based Netlabel with one release so far. pntg001 'Pentagonik Label Compilation' is a collection of nine old-school electro-techno hit-the-floor tracks. Fabulous selection. Keep 'em coming, guys!
-N (minus n) comes from Russia, apparently, but this information isn't confirmed. Could be japanese... anyway, -N is pretty new to the scene, but, as Pentagonik above, started off with a bang compilation, 'va - First'.
Great ambient and shadowy music, an excellent selection of artists and tracks, with irish featured on the list. This is a good one to follow.
[edit: it's japanese].
Philadelphia Found Sound Records sister Netlabel, unfoundsound explores Field Recordings based music, with beat experimentation in mind.
foundsound says: «this new philadelphia-based label showcases quirky, dancefloor-friendly minimal techno and microhouse constructed from fragmented samples, sounds, and random field recordings.».
unfoundsound says: «(...) in addition, unfoundsound provides a series of free downloadable field recordings (the unfields) available to everyone for creative sampling, musical composition and whatever your fuzzy, little heart desires. enjoy!»
April 14, 2005
NEW, NEW, NEW!
New artists added. We're getting stronger, people. Here they are:
- Gamma Ray Blast(Portugal);
- Darren McClure (Japan);
- Jo Jena (Germany);
- Plumb & Plumber (Spain);
- Con 7 (France).
Some great releases are coming this way...
Meanwhile, new reviews:
We added a couple of new ones for tube012 and tube013.
Yes, already one for our latest one, thanks to our big fan (and now test tube artist Con 7) LaFresto. Peace, man. ;)
Also, a new live date:
Phoebus will do a gig at Via Latina, Coimbra on April 30th.
April 12, 2005
OH, THAT IS SO UNPREDICTABLE!
• tube'|013 - Frango - Sitting San
«All improvised music compositions, and most instrumental pieces, are strongly illustrated by the freedom they concede to the interpreter. On ‘Sitting San’, the composers act on the work’s structure and reflect on the notes duration or sound streams. This collective, called Frango, has Jorge Martins on guitar & bass, Rui Dâmaso on guitar & drums and Vítor Lopes also on guitar & drums, and they write unfinished and indefinite messages all over this release. We are not (at all) before a work that asks to be rethinked in any given structural direction. There are 5 tracks full of improvisation patterns, and they have the ability to unbalance the order therein (yeah!).
Throughout ‘Sitting San’, drone guitars humanize the process, with synapse-like and stripped down keyboards here and there, and hit-and-run drum breaks, which transports us to a creative work that is - lets say - not tonal, as if there were no laws and no dogmas, taking away from the listener the possibility to predict where the compositions are heading.
‘Sitting San’ keeps evolving towards its end, adding new space, our space.» - Bruno Barros
April 05, 2005
Another excellent review of our latest tube...
«SUPERB SPANISH FOLKTRONIC MP3 EP:
The latest from the Portuguese netlabel test tube is a truly superb mix of acoustic and electric elements, with all the elegance of classic minimalism and all the presence of an early-1970s singer-songwriter album. It's sure to appeal to fans of Greg Davis' Arbor (Carpark, 2002), and other so-called folktronic music. Credited to Aitänna77 (aka Spanish musician Mikel Martínez), the 'Spring is Coming Soon' EP's four tracks mix gently plucked acoustic guitar and a smattering of digital effects. What makes the work special is that the blend of analog and digital isn't predicated on conflict, but on how the elements work together. This isn't the countrified hip-hop of the Dust Brothers' collaborations with Beck, or the electronified blues of Moby's Play, in which contrasting sounds rub against each other to stoke the frisson of pop fusion. On the title cut, soft hums serve as ghost images to the melody, and then bits of reverb exaggerate the finger picking. On "Licking Ice Cream Cones", which has John Fahey's way with a lifting melody, guitar parts accumulate thanks to multitracking, veering slightly apart from one another and lending the cut the hypnotic quality of overlapping patterns. Other instrumentation on the brief set includes electric guitar, xylophone and that touchstone of dub, the melodica. Be sure to check it out, at monocromatica.com/netlabel.»
- Disquiet / April 1, 2005
March 28, 2005
IT'S A LIVING THING
Website changes worth mentioning:
- Releases page update: less horizontal scrolling. lets save on mouse mileage;
- Reviews added to tube011 and tube012, both by french artist LaFresto;
- We're updating archive.org's links and adding some Zip archives while at it;
- Finally, soon we'll have another mirror (pt) serving our music to local fans with bandwidth limits, courtesy of our good friend Miguel Azevedo.
And now, a self-indulgence moment: test tube is featured in an article by Spanish webzine '>>Forward' - you can read it here and here, if you understand castellano. It's a mini-dossier on the portuguese digital & sound art scene, by Spanish artist and musician Longina. This is great for motivation.
Thank you, for supporting and sharing our sounds.
March 24, 2005
FOR THE ALL THE LATE SPRINGS OF OUR LIVES
• tube'|012 - Aitänna77 - Spring is Coming Soon EP
«From Spain comes Mikel Martínez a.k.a. Aitänna77 with an EP short on time but big at heart. 'Spring is Coming Soon' is the perfect company for those last winter days, when the sky is beginning to open up to let the sun smile on us. The pace is very slow, full of simplistic and down to earth elements, like acoustic and electric guitar, melodica and xylophone, processed afterwards with laptop electronics and glitch-pop beats. Very close to post-rock and post-folk, whatever that is... with a hint of downbeat clicks. Anyway, it all sounds good and very much in place.
"I sit myself over the frozen lake and think about the things i've never done. I close my eyes thinking and wishing for the warm days and the warm arms around when we paint the night with colours.
Time never goes silent and the sounds are like a campfire when the moon is full and a bear comes knocking at your door for a hot drink.
It goes on, dreaming with the sun that gently leaves your body over the trees to see everything: the mountains, the lake, the houses, the city, the old man, the working woman, the places that you were always hungry to feel."
'Spring is Coming Soon' is a delicate collection of click-folkpop melodies, very harmonical and dramatic. Four stripped down and lo-fi avant-folk songs, to make us smile for almost fifteen minutes of spring.
You won't even miss the lyrics.» - The Caped Crusader and tortura
March 23, 2005
PORTUGUESE NETLABELS UNITE!
Very nice piece/interview on the growing portuguese Netlabel scene by Mariana Teixeira Santos. If you're a portuguese reader, go read. We've also made a PDF for downloading purposes. Grab it here.
March 21, 2005
Some website updates were done. Lets see...
- A new review was added to our latest release page. check it out;
- The artists page was re-organized. It's less confusing now;
- New artists added (Alva Noto, Francisco López and Rafael Toral). Watch out.
And stay tuned for March's last release, Aitänna77's 'Spring is Coming Soon EP', out this week.
March 11, 2005
SOUNDTRACK TO A MURDER STORY
• tube'|011 - Pitch Boys - O.S.T.
«Nuno Meneses, under his Pitch Boys moniker, brings us a new work, thought and worked out as a soundtrack to a non-existant film. The task of writing the script is left to us to complete. Or we can sit back and choose to let Nuno help with that.
Movie starts. Soundtrack comes up. Voiceovers, and sampled dialogues from films, kick in at some places throughout the narrative, linking possible scenes of the picture between each other, guiding the listener seamlessly until the end of the first take, a hefty hour long one. The opening credits and the story are in this one. There aren't subtitles, but we can understand what kind of story is being told. There are action scenes, love moments, sad stories. All wrapped up in intelligently made breakbeats, dub flavored basslines, detroit techno moves, tension harmonics and danceable rhythms. Plus some ambient and soothing parts, which aren't usual in Pitch Boys's style.
Track 2 could be director's cut material of any kind. Something that was censored, an explicit sex scene, or a violent murder. The listener is free to make its own and very personal reading, and that is the most enjoyable thing while listening to conceptual music: you can be in control, if you wish. You are the projector guy.» - Pedro Leitão
March 03, 2005
WANNA GET PAPERCUTZED?
:Papercutz, which was our tube005 release last year, has got a brand new website here. Coolish!
February 24, 2005
OH YEAH, JAPANESE GEEK FETICHISM.
Or perhaps some sort of scientific achievement. Check this: I did a google search for 'Chaosmos' (I do that from time to time) and came across this page, on a japanese website. It has nothing to do with Rui Gato's recent release, but has a video worth checking out. A Wave Machine, hmmmm.... I wonder how useful is that...
FERNANDO PESSOA WOULD TRIP IMMENSELY
Here's a nice review of tube009 from Disquiet:
«Straight outta Portugal (the country that birthed the poet who gave this website its name, it's probably worth mentioning) comes Test Tube, a netlabel with 10 sets under its belt, one of the most recent of which is Rui Gato's Chaosmos EP, three long-form tracks of slow-build drone ("M1," 17 minutes), glitched-out field recordings and modified acoustic instrumentation ("M2 Extended," 7 minutes), and a bit of granulated fire that slowly evolves into brittle minimal techno, then into a florid industrial wallop, before fading out with enough grace to erase the any memory of the recent unease ("M3 Final," 11 minutes). "M1," which starts in silence and masters a rich verticality necessary for repeat-listen ambience, is the keeper. Check them all out at monocromatica.com/netlabel (Monocromatica is the parent label of Test Tube). More on Lisbon-born musician Gato at elasticvoid.monocromatica.com.»
February 22, 2005
• tube'|010 - Minus Pilots - Central Industries EP
«Resist to the paradigms of conventional aesthetics, resist to the sound language simplifications and resist to - and subvert - the protocols and flows of information. This is the work of Minus Pilots, a multinational duo (recently upgraded to a trio) that absorbs and paints it by meticulously manipulating information provided by the media (copy-paste), mixing it with its own counter-information. Voices, characters, phrases and words echoes and slips from the hypothalamus to the cerebellum, managing to achieve that information subversion which has been faithfully provided before. A coming and going of atmospheric sounds which not only relaxes but also shuffle the perception and the time-sense of the listener. The constantly ascending and descending mental states (!), reinforced by delays and soundscapes, create a unified conductive thread, between the digital and the analog, giving it the necessary amplitude, creating sound consistency and making this an excellent EP.» - Bruno Barros
February 20, 2005
Check out the new site additions:
- New artist added, Aitänna77, and scheduled for an April release;
- We have 10 new banners! Including 5 from the latest Mars Express mission;
- Our logotype is now available for download, in the about page;
- Some new Netlabel URL's worth checking out:
CANDY MIND [link]
«Candy mind records is a record label and web portal, focusing on cutting edge music and electronic art in all forms. We are trying to focus on artists who are creating and inventing new music and sounds instead of just repeating others.»
«The Komplott label was established in 1999 as a reaction to the limited scope available for experimental and electronic music in Scandinavia at the time. The initiator Maximilian Moulettes runs the label with colleague Frans Gillberg from the Komplott headquarters situated in Malmö, Sweden.»
Bulgarian Netlabel, offering tunes from Hip-Hop to Dancehall to Experimental Techno Ambient music.
SINE FICTION [link]
«launched in 2000 and curated by a_dontigny, the sine fiction series is a No Type thematic project whereby each release is an invented soundtrack to a notable science fiction novel.»
February 15, 2005
WHERE'S MY 9 MINUTES AND 47 SECONDS, MAN?!
Ok, we don't know how to put this, but... you've been conned. Yes you've been.
We sincerely appologize for this we're about to explain:
The first part of our last release - Rui Gato - Chaosmos EP - which is a 7 minute and 41 seconds piece called 'M1' isn't, in fact, complete. The real and finished one has 17 minutes and 28 seconds! That's more than twice the lenght. To those of you who loved it so much, who wrote nice reviews and sent comments by e-mail, we appologize for misleading you into a slightly different experience.
Explanation: when we were transferring the data between servers, the file got truncated somehow, and was cold-cutted near the end. But fear not, because, weirdly or not, the original 'M1' last seconds are very close to what you heard in the 'wrong' version. We believe that it will not ruin your experience.
Please, forgive us, and download the complete 'M1' to enjoy the full piece.
Thanks for understanding.
February 13, 2005
NOT FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED, NO.
Milieu has a review on our latest release tube009. The reviewer, Alex Young, has even found the 'hidden' frequencies in the first piece. You can only spot these when you crank up the volume to violence inducing levels, so, Alex, watch out for your ears, ok?
February 10, 2005
SEAMLESS MOVEMENTS INTO THE CHAOS
• tube'|009 - Rui Gato - Chaosmos EP
«After some generic and proximity, let’s say ‘audible’, works, Rui Gato returns with a piece divided into three movements. We ask that you do a complete listen of this EP, not because of commercial reasons – we don’t ask for money – or even of aesthetic imposition ones, but quite simply because of the Deleuzian way in which Chaosmos EP is presented.
‘M1’ is nothing more than a landscape of silence, without self-imposed forms. It’s the beginning of the order in itself; it’s this un-organized state, the ‘absolute zero’ from where the whole piece starts evolving. ‘M2 Extended’ assures us that the order is not universal and pummels us to and from distinctive elements in its formal composition. ‘M3 Final’ is the end, the finish line, a proliferation of material signs that illuminates its unformed character, and even manages to approach chaos. A chaos of image/fragment/fracture/remain.
Musically speaking, the subtleties of dub-soaked disperse particles, fill up the last movement. The comprehension of this work cannot be achieved by accessing the origin, but by understanding the way all the events intertwine (M1+M2+M3) and build their own origins. Apprehend the plurality as a plurality implies that the effects of the unity must not be re-evaluated, in the same way that understanding the difference implies that the effects of the identity this work possess must not be re-evaluated. Superb!» - Bruno Barros
February 09, 2005
BROADCASTING INTO DEEP SPACE
Ubeboet's Bleak EP tube007 is featured on Sinsal Radio until the end of this week. Listen to it, you haven't done it already. Bleak EP is one of last year's favorite tubes.
February 2, 2005
Igloo Magazine, an online USA publication dedicated to electronic music, does today an extensive article on the Netlabels issue, complete with some recommendations, where to get started, etc. From contributor Michael Upton.
It's an excellent guide for you to get on browsing free and quality music online.
STREAM ME, BABY!
We added links to M3U streams (Winamp and compatible audio players) to each test tube release, for your convenience. Try it.
January 30, 2005
Just a quick update to let you know we've added some more Netlabels to our links page. Check them out:
CHELONIA MYDAS [link]
Belgian Netlabel distributing high quality post-rockish, jazzy, ambient and experimental electronica. Well worth the visit and the downloads. Latest release by Teuk Henri is of great beauty. They also have excellent artwork.
Another excellent Netlabel coming from France. They range from techno oriented dance music to experimental electro-acoustic ambient drones. Latest release comes from Spanish artist Chiu Longina, a well known experimentalist who has done a very good release for Portuguese Crónica Electrónica. Another label we're sure to follow.
German based ambient/techno Netlabel, with an excellent database of releases, including personal fave krill.minima, one of Martin Juhls's aliases. Marsen Jules - another one - has been recently added to City Centre Offices roster, with a new release coming out next month: Marsen Jules - Herbstlaub.
Stadtgruen wants your attention.
January 27, 2005
IT'S A RESONATING UNIVERSE
Ubeboet's release, again.
This week, two of his tracks were featured on one of Resonance FM's shows:
Framework - phonography/field recording; contextual and decontextualized sound activity, presented by Patrick McGinley.
«We took detailed looks at a few releases in this edition, namely the latest instalment of the Phonography Organisation's series of raw field recording compilations. We also listened to several tracks from Crouton's reissue of an early irr. app. (ext.) work, 'dust pincher appliances', Keith Berry's latest release 'Buddha's Mile', and a recent release from the copyleft netlabel test tube by spanish artist Ubeboet. coming up this friday, we'll be listening, among other things, to the and/oar release by Sawako, 'Yours Gray', and some internet-released work (on the netlabel Stasisfield) by and/oar's (and phonography.org's) own Dale Lloyd.»
SOMEONE WHO LIKES TUBES
Someone (LAJ) posted a list of favorite unbannered netlabels over at Archive's netlabel forum, and we're on it. Still not happy with this, he posted M3U links to some of the selections. Ubeboet and Kenneth Kirchner are part of the menu.
He didn't stop there. LAJ's selections covered another theme, Seasonal Mp3: A Tribute to the Four Seasons. Ubeboet, again...
But there's even more... LAJ is having a great time digging releases, it seems.
Do yourself a favor and check out LAJ's choices. The man deserves some attention. He has great taste, and covers almost every genre available.
Great, LAJ. Very cool. You're there, man.
January 26, 2005
IT'S VITAL FOR YOUR EARS
Ubeboet's release was reviewed at Vital Weekly's latest newsletter. It reads:
«Every day sees the arrival of new artists and today it's (a.o.) Ubeboet, aka Miguel A. Tolosa from Spain. He has five interesting pieces of soundscaping. Hard to tell what kind of field recordings went into producing this EP, because the treatments are numerous. The resultant five pieces are quite drone related, with lots of time stretching and plug ins. The darker undercurrents in this release are alike say the works of Jonathan Coleclough, although not enirely there yet. Isolationist music at it's best. Maybe not entirely new thoughts going on here, but I thought it was quite enjoyable, appealling to me as a fan of Mirror, Coleclough, Ora or any of those drone meisters.» - FdW
January 22, 2005
NAGASAKI'S TAKE ON LAPTOP FOLK
• tube'|008 - irish - Understandings
«Japanese artist Irie Yoshihisa - irish’s real name - was born in Nagasaki, and makes music using a computer since 2001. He has previously released an EP for MiMi, which is an also Portuguese based Netlabel, called ‘Killaz Sleep Peacefully’. Before that, he has done a CD-R: ‘Manufactures’, in 2003.
irish’s Understandings is a beautiful EP that sets the melancholic tone right from the beginning. ‘Coma and Pray’, a down-to-earth IDM track, opens the set, delivering round punchy beats a-plenty, completed with angel-like, almost childish voice sampling and a deep ambient layer on top. Resembles much of WARP’s early material, back from the distant nineties. Short but effective, and very enjoyable.
’Square and Triangle’, being less emotional and more scientific, features some skewed beats and clicks, nice music-box keyboards and reverse/forward structure movements. What comes to mind after listening to this track for a while, is our summer vacations in the countryside, watching the birds, the trees and the sky, joyfully away from the city’s concrete buildings, dirty pavements and dark roads, which is not what it sounds at first approach: a cold and distant laboratory theme.
irish closes this release with an improv jam, between his quirkiest laptop electronics and Kazuya Iwamoto’s acoustic guitar, entitled ‘We played for about one hour but only 20 minutes had been recorded.’. This long take extends under our feet gentle guitar and click’n’cut electronic effects and sine waves. I call this ‘psychedelic folktronica’, but you can call it whatever you wish. IDM and Improv Electronics fans will love this one.» - Pedro Leitão
January 14, 2005
UPDATE YOUR AGENDA
It's today, folks. And tomorrow too. Take note:
Phoebus + The Dead Texan (LIVE)
• January 14, 23h00
• Galeria Zé Dos Bois, Bairro Alto - Lisbon
• A ZDBMÜSIQUE Event.
• 7,5 Euro (at the door)
• January 15, 23h45
• Passos Manuel, Coliseu do Porto building - Porto
• A SOOPA Event
• 7,5 Euro (at the door)
Do not miss this, for anyone's sake!
January 10, 2005
New site updates. In short:
- New artist: UK based Minus Pilots are part of our world, now.;
- Added quoted reviews to some of the releases.;
- 2004 news moved to archive. Check below;
- Minor GIF swappings, and general HTML optimization.