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2006 NEWS


December 31, 2006

FROZEN FLOWERS


• tube'|062 - A Sankip Hummad - Lamiales

«Son of a multi-instrumentalist whom played in New Orleans Jazz/Blues bands, Desmond Hollins started making music in 2001. This Minnesota citizen’s music is being put out under a couple of different monikers. Katrah Quey is more hip hop oriented, Ceptual and Palet more ambient and now test tube releases a record from his new alias, A Sankip Hummad, which reveals some of Desmond’s electronic influences (Arovane, Jan Jelinek, Boards of Canada) and a subtle reference to what people like Prefuse 73, RJD2 or even El-P did to hip hop.
‘Lamiales’ is a sum of his influences, with lots of drowned beats hanging around in a mutant ambience that it’s mostly warm but sometimes everything floats in a mixed scenario surprisingly shadowy and colder, in songs like ‘Inague’ and ‘Sapping Dust for Tyme’. ‘Ysopp’ and ‘Hazel Intentions’ share the world with Boards of Canada in a subtle and gentle way. In the other hand ‘Caltrop’ reveals some of Desmond’s hip hop influences with a handful of cool slowed motion beats.
This first release by A Sankip Hummad is one that will make a good company this winter. It’ll detach you from the cold outside and, most likely, from the rest of the world too.» - André Santos


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December 28, 2006

HO! HO! HO!


• tube'|mix001 - v/a - Xmas Mix '06

Welcome to the first installment of test tube's new series: The tubemixes!
For the first one, aeriolabehaviour has made a Christmas mix with a selection of his personal favourites from our catalogue. We know that Xmas 2006 has already passed, but... well, every day is Xmas to us!

Hope you dig it!


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December 26, 2006

MINIMAL HUNGARY


• tube'|061 - Project Swirl - Alpha Centauri EP

«One day, not long ago, Hungarian Daniel P. decided to create some loops for his radio show at Torespont Radio. Some of those loops grew into tracks and that's pretty much the story behind Project Swirl, Daniel's minimal dub-infused electro outfit. Since then, he has released a couple of EPs - on Eastern Recordings and Inoquo netlabels - and a compilation track in some Russian underground netlabel. Meanwhile, a couple more are underway, and this one 'Alpha Centauri EP' fell in test tube's lap some months ago. And we're glad it did.
Project Swirl's sound comes as a true descendant of oldschool Basic Channel material, with a bit of monolake's minimal techno and ~scape's future dub into the mix. While 'Alpha Centauri' travels mostly into electro-techno territory, 'Logical' and 'Illogical' (two faces of the same coin, so to speak...) are truly dubish pieces, reminders of Deadbeat's more down to earth 'dance' tracks, but with a slight touch of german cerebral techno for good measure. 'Tn' comes from Daniel's more 'experimental' side, if you wish. It's downbeat and not for the dance floor, but nice anyway. Sweet!» - Pedro Leitão


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December 17, 2006

AMBIENTE PROGRESSIVO


• tube'|060 - Glenn Brown - Sodium Light City

«A comparação é porventura, o veículo mais vezes utilizado para descrever um objecto musical. A evocação de referências e proximidades estéticas permite, muitas das vezes, um quase ajustamento semântico entre a intenção de quem se pronuncia em relação ao objecto em causa e a percepção daqueles a quem o discurso é dirigido. Existe no entanto, um problema neste ajustamento. Falamos da relatividade inerente a qualquer obra de arte. À falta de contornos imediatamente reconhecíveis, a apreciação não passa de uma experiência pessoal e talvez intransmissível.
É por isso mesmo que não vamos comparar este “Sodium Light City”, do australiano Glenn Brown, às texturas resultantes dos soundscapes de um Robert Fripp. Não, não o vamos fazer. Têm a mesma rainha e trabalham os mesmos ambientes sombrios – drones arrancados das suas respectivas guitarras, não como quem atira uma pedra à água e conta os ressaltos, mas como quem fica a observar as pequenas ondas que daí resultam. Há contudo uma diferença que poderá escapar ao mais incauto. É uma diferença que se divide em verbos como “cheirar”, “beber” ou “saborear” (sim, a música também tem disso, mas ao que se sabe ainda não abriu restaurante). Se calhar é por sabermos que Glenn Brown é australiano. Pode até ser devido a passarmos tanto tempo a olhar, com os olhos plenos de devaneio, para a imagem que ilustra a capa – a celeridade do tempo traduzida nos ramos secos de uma árvore resiliente, ao final de mais um dia. Se fossemos sempre ao fundo desta relação entre o usufruto de uma obra artística e a predisposição de quem dela usufrui, então, grande parte da arte representativa veria o seu valor conceptual gravemente atingido.
Vamos portanto olhar para o carácter de imensidão que a obra nos sugere, para a vastidão dos elementos que nos envolvem, que nos afectam e pelos quais nos regemos. É fácil relacionarmos tudo isso com a paisagem agreste australiana. Poderíamos fazê-lo com outras, mas sabemos de antemão que acabaríamos lá, no enorme “centro vermelho”. É aí que a escala humana de Fripp é superada pela vastidão do território, pela austeridade do clima ou ainda pelas concepções de um tempo ausente e de um deus displicente, tão bem representadas neste brilhante trabalho de Brown.
Poderíamos fazer tudo isso, mas não o vamos fazer.» - Samuel Jerónimo

«Message to our non-portuguese speaking readers: We don't have proper english liner notes for this release. We have comissioned them to our good friend and fan Samuel Jerónimo (also an artist/composer) and he expressed himself in his mother-tongue. Even a very good translation would lose most of the semantic value of his excellent text, so... we did nothing to it. Nevertheless, I'll try to put Glenn Brown's release into perspective. Mr. Brown is a guitar player from the Jazz/Prog old school, and he does dark ambient with this classic rock instrument. Now don't try to imagine what this aussie has done. Just download it and have a good listen. Play it loud but softly. And up that 'bass' dial on your amplifier.» - Pedro Leitão


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December 11, 2006

TEST TUBE AT RESONANCE FM

Via Marvin Suicide, a really great radio show 100% based on royalty-free/netlabel sounds and releases.

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December 08, 2006

MUSIC FOR SOFAS


• tube'|059 - My Fun - Idyll EP

«Lazy Saturdays, lounging about on the comfy couch while looking out the window into the impossibly blue sky, the slight Autumn breeze kept out by the thick glass while the resonant sound of wind chimes, swinging lazily somewhere out in the neighbourhood as the breeze wafts by, floats ethereally into the house. Pigeons fly. Kids laugh and play. The trees sway. For a moment, everything seems perfect: even in here, with the TV turned on to the lowest audible hush above silence, an imperceptible white noise that fades in and out of the sound picture, along the breeze, the chimes, the kids, the sound of the lift going up and down the building, the doors that slam or the keys that fit the lock, the cellphones ringing in the distance, the soup pot boiling on the stove, the washing machine humming. You find yourself attuned to every single one of these sounds as, like a huge flock of birds crossing the sky, they fly in and out of your sight line — or should that be the hearing line? — in an ever-changing, ever-moving formless shape that changes contours, patterns, length at the batting of an eyelid. But everything seems slowed down, unhurried, deaccelerated to the point of stasis, so you can take the time to absorb and appreciate each constituent of the sprawling aural painting hung up around you; the sound of a lazy Saturday separate from the outside world, just looking inside yourself, aware, at peace, yet amplifying everything that is around you, alchemically transmuted into these four pieces by American sound artiste Justin Hardison. An idyll that makes sense of the here and now.»
- Jorge Mourinha


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December 01, 2006

WAVEFIELD


• tube'|058 - on_14 - Forest

«on_14 is the new encarnation of japanese Aogu Yoshida, the man who brought us (as AO) 'Endlessly, Sweetly and Slightly', a beautiful two-piece work for guitar drones. Aogu is also the man behind the excellent ON-LI Netlabel (worthy of a visit), where he has more than a couple of releases. So, what has changed between AO and on_14, musically? Very little, actually. The trademark guitar drones are present, the sad and meditative imagery is also present. Even half of the tracks are close to the 10 minute mark. But there's also something new.
'Forest' compiles three new studio recordings and a live one, called 'Taste'. I don't know were or why Aogu recorded this live track and chose to include it here. But, interesting enough, it fits perfectly. 'Taste (live)' and 'After Summer' - the opening and closing pieces of this new EP - are very similar in form and much in the same line structurally as the previous test tube release: long and wavy drones ondulating in the cosmos, freely, in solitude. But there's also a slight difference, because this time Aogu didn't let them loose enough to reach distortion levels.
With the 'Forest' pieces, we also find resemblances to 'Endlessly, Sweetly and Slightly', not structurally but musically: The rough edges of the drones and the 'on the red' distortion pedal effects are pretty much the same. But the similarities end here. Aogu added another layer to the drone mass, a discrete drum beat and chimes. This percussion layer is present in part one and two of 'Forest' at all times, 'though it gets muffled up here and then by the sharp drones. But it's an interesting addition, as it draws the listener away from the noise pool... and back again, repeatedly. And then it comes 'After Summer', which is the perfect ending for this awesome work.» - Pedro Leitão


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November 27, 2006

THE COMMONS NEED YOU!



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November 24, 2006

LOW FREQUENCY SIGNALS


• tube'|057 - Mezzo - Ostracismo

«Miguel Onofri lives in this Argentinian town called Mendoza, population 876 000, not very far from Chile's border and about 1000m above the sea level, up in the mountain plateau. Pretty far away from everything we know, it seems. Nonetheless, Miguel is an active part of an artistic community of visual artists and musicians - Miguel is also a video artist -, they put up shows and invite guest artists, touring around some towns like Córdoba, and they even started their own Netlabel, SincroWeb.
As a sound artist, Miguel is known as Mezzo, putting his laptop to work on low frequency signals and white noise and drone-based minimal electronica. Harsh stuff, and amazingly well done.
'Ostracismo', although being a very small release, inflicts variable levels of damage to our ears. And it's good.
'Track #01' is a small intro of low frequency clicks and cuts, Ryoji Ikeda style, and is somewhat violent. It takes 59 seconds to go away, 'though. 'Track #02', the longest track in this EP, starts with machine errors, like an electrical generator going berserk, sending SOS signals. Slowly, an underlying drone appears and takes control of the track. The rest is up to you to discover.
'Track #03', another short piece, an interlude-type of thing, is of a dissonant type of sound frequencies, a different kind of error, easier on the ears but also very interesting to explore. 'Track #04' is a personal favorite. It's an emotional drone, unfortunately too small to enjoy to its fullness. 'Track #05' is made of another type of interferences. You could almost visualize the wavefields of data being put out. Again, too damn short to put us in a transe. Awesome release. Now, can I have another 40 minutes of this, please?» - Pedro Leitão


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November 17, 2006

THANOS CHRYSAKIS AT PARIS/BERLIN

Hi there,

We're very proud to inform that Errant Waves, a music work by Thanos Chrysakis - originally released here on test tube, as release 029 - has been selected to be part of the Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin's Sonotheque, among various other works of this contemporary audio-visual festival. Check it out here, under the Videolibrary link on the left.

Thank you Thanos, for letting us know of this great news.

Peas,

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November 15, 2006

CLASSIFIEDS

Music people, listen up, a good friend asked me to pass on this info:

«Lisbon-based guitar player seeks interesting projects either to integrate as a band member or to collaborate with, either recording guitar lines for previous recordings or supporting live. I would be happy to collaborate with
independent projects sounding like mogwai, epic45, lee ranaldo, a silver mt. zion or slowdive, or with electronic/abstract projects like belong, fennesz or alike. My gear includes two fender jazzmasters, a fender jaguar, a 68 fender telecaster, a fender telecaster with bigsby, amongst some other guitars, a vox ac30, a peavey classic 30, an orange studio, a marshall vs100, a marshall jcm800, an ada mp-1 preamp, a yamaha spx-900, a ibanez ts reissue, a dunlop rotovibe, a digitech pds-8000, etc. My name is Miguel Azevedo and I can be contacted via miguel.azevedo[AT]idssecurity.org or miguel.azevedo[AT]pt.ibm.com. My personal phone number is +351963511366.»

That's it. Miguel is eager to do something creative, so, if you're interested, write or call him up. The result might be interesting. Long distance collaborations could be cool, you know...

Peas,

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November 14, 2006

22ND CENTURY MEDICAL TREATMENT


• tube'|056 - Siegmar Fricke - Pharmaceutik 06

«Siegmar Fricke started his first musical experiments back in 1981, using tape-recorders and shortwave-radio signals to create collages of musique concrète that has been recorded on various cassettes. After intense activities in the european tape scene from 85 to 93, Siegmar founded the project 'Efficient Refineries' together with Miguel A. Ruiz from Madrid, who was already active in the spanish electronic music scene since the 80's.
Fricke's new solo work 'Pharmaceutik 06' was recorded at his studio in september 2006 and is his clearest musical statement so far, defining his view concerning "Pharmakustik", a new electronica genre in its own right.

According to Fricke, «Pharmakustik might be a new path of sound-innovation in today's technological music that often lacks the approach of intense electromodulation by focusing just on preset sounds, melodies and familiar song structures. Instead, Pharmakustik consists of reduced and syncopated rhythmic patterns clinically filtered ambiences generated by sampling-technology, electro-modulated voices and linear structure. In detail, all single audio elements are heavily modulated by various electronic devices and therefore very futuristic and abstract. So far, the analogue and digital sound processing is the most important condition to create a medical pharma-sound that is clinical, artificial and of highest modulation standard. Automatic rhythm sequences are digitally dissected by bit-crushing and organic ambiences are constantly morphing by trembling waveforms and pitch-curves of complex effect periphery. Metallic minimalism of the rhythmic elements are combined with wide space-ambience. 'Pharmaceutik 06' is robotronic neuroblast in clear digital resolution and constant cellular morphing.»

Technical explanations apart, what we have here is digital and minimal electronic music that could be one day made by computer algorithms without human intervention. Kind of a 'muzak' concept adapted to medical and laboratory futuristic conditions... when I listen to this, images of George Lucas' THX 1138 feature film come to mind. Sit back and enjoy the treatment.»
- Pedro Leitão


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November 06, 2006

TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA


• tube'|055 - Lezrod - Exploraciones sonoras de paisajes surreales y espacios
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • infinitos

«Biosphere based his last work on the novel "De la Terre à la Lune", written by Jules Verne. He gave us the sounds of travelling into space, and the breathtaking silence of contemplating earth from the moon. Had David Velez, in his Lezrod disguise, inspired himself in the works of Jules Verne for this release, and I would say that he was showing us around the mighty submarine Nautilus, and then taking us in a guided journey through the deep sea.
Is the name "Submar" an abbreviation for Submarine? Only David will know for sure. But in this first piece, everything is dark. Sounds that could almost be labeled industrial group together and are splintered with samples of water moving. Almost no rhythm, apart from the waves of static and the flow and ebb of distant echoes of dark sounds. A gloomy landscape, with the comforting melancholy that only Lezrod can achieve.
The song "Asiv" really gives the listener the impression of being underwater. The bleeps seem sampled off a sonar, the static and electricity that run through all its 18 minutes duration could very well be the soft humming of the Nautilus' engine room, whose motors ran on an electric power source, as imagined by the brilliant Jules Verne.
Lezrod continues in the line of his previous releases for Test Tube and Zymogen. Except that his sound is getting thicker and more intense. A listener that knows his previous work will certainly guess who's behind the wheel here, but on this release, he no longer lets clicks'n'cuts have so much focus, preferring to bring into the light some field recordings, carefully controlled noise drones, static, slow broken rhythms that only start to make sense after a few listens, ambients (aquatic, I stress once again) that seem to flow like waves, and so many more layers of sound. Lezrod's sound is getting more difficult, but more rewarding in equal proportion.
The title says it all: sonic explorations of surreal landscapes and infinite spaces. This is the best description one could give.» - Luís Marta

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November 06, 2006

WARP FACTOR 8, Mr. SULU!

Our release schedule is so busy, with so many good stuff to release that we're gonna crank up the speed until further notice. This is what to expect until the end of the year:

November
This week we will have the return of Lezrod - our man David Velez from Bogotá (now struggling for a design career in NYC); Siegmar Fricke with his clinical pharmakustic style from Wilhelmshaven, Germany; Mezzo and his minimal noise from Mendoza, Argentina and finally on_14 (formerly AO), from Japan with more drone-style guitar walls.

December
Just in time for xmas, test tube will be releasing Florian Fernbacher's weird jazz-tinted electronica - another german friend; My Fun a.k.a. Justin Hardison, the man with the cinematic field recordings from the U.S.A.; Progressive guitar hero Glenn Brown from Australia, one of the two continents that was still missing here at test tube, and wrapping up 2006 in glorious festive fashion, the minimal beats and grooves from Hungarian Project Swirl.

8 great new releases before entering 2007. Just click by!

Peas,

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October 31, 2006

COSMIC SAMBA


• tube'|054 - Line Noise - Spacedust Planet

«From Florida comes Rudy Gonzalez, a young Brazilian-American producer who is true to his origins. Line Noise's release 'Spacedust Planet' is a two parts release, each one divided into three other sub-parts, but you should listen to each of the three parts without track intervals. Rudy combines Funk and Samba inspired percussion with glitchy 8bit effects, breaks and synth moods which are usually found in old and not-so-old works of Intelligent Dance Music.
Most of 'Funk Litmus (Part I)' is assembled with the aid of the Samba-like rhythms I speak of earlier, building up its complexity until close to the end of the track, when it joins into 'Part II' and works its way off into a different set of beats, aesthetically closer to IDM, shifting in style - going back to the Samba beat a couple of times - until it turns into the last part, 'Part III' which sounds like a 'cleaner' version of 'Part II'. More ambient grooves, less rhythm patterns and with a splice of nostalgia.
'Coconut Portals' is a different exercise. Rudy adds an 80's electric bass almost right from the beginning which invites us to dance - or at least to nod. Again, it grows complex through the second part. The bass takes some time off and the beat turns dry and heavy. 'Part III' comes sooner than we think - Funk Litmus is a bigger track - and comes descending, taking down some beats and upping some keyboards.
Rudy also runs Lacedmilk Technologies netlabel.» - Pedro Leitão


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October 21, 2006

SKETCHES OF AN ORDINARY LIFE


• tube'|053 - Landfill - Panorama de uma vida normal

«As your mind gently awakes to the sound of the morning buzzer, as you stretch your arms and clear your throat, a newborn day enters through the cracks of the window, paving the way for our conscious premonition of the future that is about to happen. This is the panorama for any ordinary day.
This album opens with a soft voice whispering a wake-up call in your ear, but it quickly turns into a disturbing landscape, obliging you to open your eyes and acknowledge the fact that there is a life to carry through another day. The monotonous sound of routine reappears as you leave home, balancing through the streets and roads in a desperate hurry to get to nothing dissimilar to yesterday.
It is life in all its extent that is expressed in the mindtripping sounds of Landfill’s first recording. The tone is definitely a post-rock one, with clear Barrett-esque influences, space-rock with its feet on the ground, contradictions and moodswinging atmospheres that allure you to reflection or abstraction, love and hate or everything else you might feel or not.
Cowboys and factory workers dancing in the streets of a long-gone country, as Iceland meets South America and China – this is the soundtrack to any kind of living person in its most absurd and realistic form. The odyssey is not a pretentious one, it leads you only to everything you know, as your knowledge is always limited to everything you conceive as real or imaginary, and the definition of both – and dream...
With old-age keyboards floating on the back of our minds, the voices mumble unintelligible words as the guitars grow into the foreseeable chaos of the end of any given day. There is no illusion to follow, this is a dream as cruel as reality, with roads leading to wrong places, with obstacles around every single bend, and the wind whistling in every direction, assuring you that there is no right path to follow.
Banda Sonora Para Um Dia Normal (Soundtrack to an Ordinary Day) and Vida Constante (Constant Life) – a voyage into the subconscious states of the mind, into happiness and melancholy, rage and reason.
Mais Um Dia Igual (Another Similar Day) is a review of the day that is about to end, with its ups and downs, in and outs, or the lack of any of them.
As pragmatic and absurd as life can be, the journey is granted, whether you like it or not, for life is yours to decide, but only in small amounts.» - António Correia


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October 13, 2006

TEST TUBE - A WEBLOG

Yup, we joined blogworld at last. A blog was created to keep track of the radioshow tracklistings and other relevant issues.

URL is: http://testtube.monocromatica.com/blog
Tune in!

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October 11, 2006

SOME KIND OF GLITCH HOP


• tube'|052 - Con 7 - Don'thavemychance

«Laurent Lusseau returns to test tube with his strange recipe of abstract and non-linear electronica. 'Don'thavemychance' - again, titled after the tracklisting order - is a very short EP focused on voice patterns and percussion/rhythm experiences throughout.
In 'Don't' we can hear the main voice repeating the phrase 'Don't, have, my chance' over and over again, on top of other voices layered under distorted and very acute sounds. Disturbing.
'Have' continues somewhere where 'Don't' left. Another voice, different sounding, is repeating another phrase, something that I cannot understand. My french isn't perfect, but I know it's something weird. Again, several percussion effects punctuate this track, like clapping sounds and steel drums. Feedback screams and horns and various other agressive effects. Massive.
There's a continuous sound right from the beginning of 'My' that can be found on the first two tracks. Perhaps Laurent is telling us that they should be all together, sequencially, but this was not possible by some misterious reason. This is the most kind-of-ambient track. No percussion fuckups, nothing like that. But pretty much agressive like the previous two, oh yeah.
Hélas, and we're down to the last one. Just when this was starting to sound really interesting. 'Chance' has many of the sound elements used previously, but somehow managed to integrate some basic notions of melody and harmony without killing the agressive base that is Laurent's creative signature. This one is kinda Hip Hopish, actually. Dirty and rusty, reminding of some stuff that Daedelus and other beat experimentalists have done in the past. A real keeper! Nice one, Laurent!» - Pedro Leitão


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October 05, 2006

SOUNDCHECK THIS!


• tube'|051 - OCP - Sound Check

«OCP stands for Operador de Cabine Polivalente, an ongoing sound project by João Ricardo, a portuguese born world citizen. OCP has released before for the excellent half portuguese/half japanese MiMi Records and for the young but already great british Serein Net-audio Label. João Ricardo suits up his OCP moniker whenever he wants "(...)to develop uncommon sound textures/patterns/compositions taking different approaches, applying diverse techniques." He also produces as Pygar, together with his friend Hugo Olim.
Some months ago, João submitted this 'Sound Check' piece to Test Tube, asked me to listen to it and later to think about publishing it. Usually I like long pieces, yes, but this one got my special attention. This 55 minute track is not your typical drone-ambient-long-as-hell-track that makes you want to go to bed. No. 'Sound Check' has many different personalities inside its shell, many different mood shifts. It has ambient moments, noise and glitch parts, beat sequences, everything you can imagine in the abstract electronics genre. It's sad sometimes, but also has its bright and sunny moments. Taking its title literally, it could be a sound check for João's latest sound database, a work in progress for something else yet to be born. But it's already alive, trying to break the outside shell and mutate into that 'something else'.
One of my favorite sequences starts at minute 20, a funky electro/IDM driven dialogue that wants to pull you out of your chair and throw you into the dancefloor, but never makes the decision. Mighty, mighty soundcheck.» - Pedro Leitão


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October 04, 2006

OUR SPACE, YOUR SPACE

Since yesterday, we now have more disk space that we can handle. 200Gb! Yes, that much and, well, since we will never fill it up in this lifetime, we're offering all our listed and unlisted artists, free space for their own webpage or website. Completely free. For as long as we stay online.

Webpages will have URLs like 'monocromatica.com/netlabel/artist' or 'testtube.monocromatica.com/artist'.
Websites will have their own domain and they are the artists's responsability, of course, but the files will be hosted here, in a subfolder of our domain.

Send us an e-mail if you're interested in having free Test Tube space. We will offer 250 and 500Mb chunks of space. This is limited to the space we have available, so, be quick!

Peas,

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September 28, 2006

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Test Tube is, as of today, featured on Last.Fm - the famous worldwide music community. Last.Fm gives you the possibility to pre-listen all tracks at 128Kbps compression quality, among other features. You can also download them to your computer, but unfortunately at the same 128Kbps.
Anyway, spread the word!

Peas,


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September 26, 2006

OLYMPIA'S FALL


• tube'|050 - Desolation Wilderness - Sense Pulse Vision

«It is somewhat common these times, to see young artists and bands going back to the past seeking inspiration and influence to make contemporary works, today. Nic - Nicolaas Zwart - is no exception. This 19 year old musician from Olympia (Washington, USA) presents us with his third EP, after releasing at AudioTong and at Maetrix Solution. The recipe used by Nic here is pretty much the same used before: Old-school synths, pushed away in long-form dynamic waves, cold and edgy soundscapes with a warm and fuzzy feeling, and artificial and spatial bass lines, where everything else rests on.
'Arc of A Bird' starts with some very emotional synth lines, melodical and nostalgic, that start to open up to filtered percussion and rhythmic fx. There's a twist in it after a couple of minutes, introducing some new elements, like bass, staying in the background for some time. Nic's compositions need some time and room to breathe and gain some strenght to make it to the end. This song is a perfect example.
'Mumbai Slum (Version 2)' is a long piece, which actually feels longer than it really is. Very slow paced, like a slow motion digital symphony, it sucks us into its void of synths until you lose track of time. This is a really hipnotic track, although Nic doesn't use any drone elements in it. Nicely accomplished.
'Winter Forest' works as the EP's interlude, building up a church-like melody of organs and synth effects, with some interesting reverb and sharp sounds underneath.
'Arc of A Bird Part Two' could be the subtitle for 'Street Kid'. Nic uses the same synth lines that he used in the first track, but this is a much more intricate and complex track. Almost crosses IDM territory, when he throws those percussion bleeps and bloops in the first half. It then evolves in a slow and descending march towards the end.
Final chapter with 'Welcome To Nowhere'. Sounds like the goodbye it pretends to be, but it could also work like another interlude, if this EP were to grow any further. More warm synth lines, glitchy but discrete effects and fuzzy melodies wrap up a very interesting EP from Desolation Wilderness.
We're left with the feeling that Nicolaas still has much more to say, and we hope he continues to deliver. Nice one.» - Pedro Leitão


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September 19, 2006

BACK CATALOGUE

Hi again. Our server migration is now complete.
Our entire catalogue has been re-packed, re-tagged, updated and is available for download. Speaking of downloads, they're faster too. Help yourself.

Welcome back.

Peas,


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September 16, 2006

GROWING PAINS

Hello. As you might have figured out about now, we are in the process of changing servers. Test Tube content is being uploaded as I write this post.
You'll find that many of the files are still missing - Jpeg, Zip and Mp3 files - so please bear with us while we complete this painly slow upload process.

Things will be much better from now on. We will no longer be excessively dependant on archive.org server space. All of our releases will be available here at home. Yes, all of them. As such, we expect bandwidth to hit the roof, but we're cool, because now we have up to 1Tb (that's 1 Terabyte) to burn monthly.

Our FTP service for demo sending has changed, too. Please check the 'contact' page for the new details.

Stay tuned for more improvements over the new week.

Peas,


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September 12, 2006

DEVIL IN MY JAZZ


• tube'|049 - Diatribes - Parenthèse Polonaise

«“Diatribes” is the name of a 1996 album by Napalm Death. With no apparent relation, “Diatribes” is also the name of a trio dedicated to improvised music. Originally from Geneva, this trio is Cyril Bondi (drums, percussion), Gaël Riondel (saxophones, clarinet, flute) and Laurent Peter – a.k.a. d’Incise – (laptop, objects, effects). Working exclusively with digital distribution, this swiss trio have released a total of six works to this moment, each through a different label: Edogm, Zymogen, Tulipesä, Insubordinations, Stomoxine and Digitalbiotope. “Parenthèse Polonaise”, their new work released by Test Tube, shows off a band exploring free improv soundworks.
On the trio’s website we find three words to classify their sound: free jazz/electro-acoustic/noise. None of them is wrong, but this may not be the absolutely right definition. More than free jazz or noise, this music is descendant of European driven free/improv, in the lines of Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink or Peter Brötzmann. Right on the first track, “Cieszyn 1.1”, there is a percussion sequence which evokes Tony Oxley experiences. d’Incise’s work, on laptop and effects, complements the percussion action, forming a cohesive sound block. Gaël Riondel’s blowing works as contraposition, in an insanely interaction. Sometimes the drums elaborate a certain rhythmic steadiness, but don’t extend it on too rigid formulas, the blowing is strong and inconstant, and the effects sharp ‘round the corners. The recording, with all the background room and audience noise, probably isn’t the most appropriate for audiophile fans, but encapsulates the session’s informality – and, consequently, the expressively freedom of this music. As the most evident example of this trio’s creativity, there is track #11, “Trzebinia 1.4”, where tribal sounds are mixed together with crescendos and noise. The following track, “Bielsko Biala 1.3”, on the other hand goes to more familiar territories; it is a piece closely related to the free jazz of the New York loft scene, circa 1969. Closing the album, an 8 and a half minutes track starts slowly just to grow until it arrives to a diabolic free finale.
It’s safe to say that these “Diatribes” don’t come from death metal, but they’re not far from the devil.» - Nuno Catarino


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September 01, 2006

SUPPORT TEST TUBE, A BIT MORE

Perhaps you noticed already a little 'donate' button further down this page, perhaps not. But it's there. Yes, we are accepting donations from now on.
We will be moving to a new server soon, probably before the end of October. A bigger, faster... and more expensive server. So, if you feel wildly generous and would like to help us pay the expenses, we would be most thankful to you.
Each test tube benefactor will receive one CDR release of his choice mailed free of charge to his home, plus the chance of being listed in a test tube supporters section that we will add to the about page.

This doesn't mean, obviously, that we will not keep working the same way, and stop releasing new and free music if no one donates. This will not change, ever.

But thanks anyway, because when you download our releases, you are already supporting test tube.

Peas,

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August 31, 2006

UNDER THE AFTERNOON SKY


• tube'|048 - Dave Zeal - Trinidad

«Back to IDM again, by the hand of Canadian boy Dave Zeal. Zeal has previously released works on italian Sinewaves and on Top-40 netlabels.
'Trinidad' offers us eight tracks in twenty minutes, which seems somewhat short, but Dave crafts some pretty interesting IDM textures into those short bursts. This work sounds like it's clearly influenced by early nineties Warp artists, but also by some north-american IDM, namely from defunct M3rck label.
Angled beats carried around freely with backdrop dreamy keyboards on 'Cube Dweller'; Caribbean percussion under the influence of BoC-like textured ambience on 'Panmen'; Fuzzy Hip-Hop, heavy filtered through 8-bit-beat machines on 'Dive'; Future Jazz piano paired with broken but steady beats on 'Shorts' or Ambient cinematic soundscapes on 'Trinity Haze', the longest piece, and a personal favorite, which really stands out here. Find it all in Trinidad. We could easily take another twenty minutes, Dave. C'mon...» - Pedro Leitão


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August 25, 2006

TEST TUBE ON FM RADIO

True... starting September 7 (thursday), Test Tube will host a radio show, broadcasted on Química FM (105.4Mhz) from Alcoitão (Cascais), covering a huge radius with thousands of homes around the area (Sintra, Cascais, Oeiras and even some parts of Lisboa).
This weekly show will run for two hours, starting at 23h00, and will feature many specials, not only Test Tube material repertoire, of course. We plan to do interviews, Label and Netlabel specials, Specific artists specials, maybe some live stuff in the studio, and son on...
Sometime next week we will do a test broadcast to see how it goes.
Oh, and it will be a live show... no safety net.

Looking forward for it... :)

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August 19, 2006

UKRAINIAN MUSIC BOX


• tube'|047 - Ceckj - Lone Night Thracks Vol. 1

«Maxim Shubski - the person behind Ceckj - comes from Ukraine, formerly a Soviet state and now an independent country in its own right. Amazingly or not, some of the best eastern bloc contemporary electronica comes from Ukraine. Names like Gultskra Artikler, Andrey Kiritchenko and Katia Zavoloka, among others, are getting some well deserved attention from international mediums like UK's Wire Magazine and a bunch of music news websites. Not surprising, because Ukrainian Electronica is really something unique.
Ceckj may well become another name to keep. Maxim blends edgy and rough samples with chamber-like organ music, delivering some weird but emotional soundscapes. Take 'Blood Thrack', for instance. It could easily be part of some horror movie, illustrating a scene where some victim is being observed, before getting brutally massacred. Or it could be something else completely different. Ceckj's music is so full of layers and tonalities that it's hard to catalogue into a single style or mood. But it's a downward spiral, nevertheless. 'Tubby Thrack', with all its different reworks mashed together, is a perfect example of Shubski's multiple mood swinging. Highly recommended.
'Lone Night Thracks Vol. 1' is better with headphones on.» - Pedro Leitão


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August 10, 2006

GHOST WORLD


• tube'|046 - Peacee F Moya - Mouth for Sore Sight

«First of all, Frango were born: a free-rock trio from Barreiro - south bank of the Tagus river -, keen on unaligned electric improvisations, that got some credit among the new generation of underground Portuguese music of the 21st century. Then, the attention first gathered around the trio, passed on to Rui Pedro Dâmaso, one of Frango guitar players who revealed himself in his solo outfit “PCF Moya”. On the first recording “Surgeon Surgeon” (2005, Searching Records), circles of improvised guitar sounds are sketched and notes are lost inside maze-like paths or simple spirals. On the second release “Untitled / God Slot EP” (2006, Merzbau), the atmosphere is denser and shapes are fuzzier, one suspects a more rigorous creation process, the guitar is sparser, the approach is not so direct. Now, on this new “Mouth for Sore Sight”, Dâmaso shows us a different path. The guitar isn’t there anymore, now there’s only effect pedals and tweaked mikes. To emphasize this difference, the artist name is slightly mutated: “Peacee F Moya”.
Moved away from the untied notes which were characteristic of his previews works, “Mouth for Sore Sight” divides itself into two long tracks [“Four” and “Three (Exodic)”], two creation places that grow as they absorb small elements along the way. Here the work is all about the progressive adding of elements which sustain some immense spiral stairs made of sound. In the end, all that remains is an almost ghost-like ambience feel: almost, almost whispered slow-motion post-rock, Peacee F Moya is uncompromised freedom in permanent construction. “Lo-Fi isn’t an aesthetic statement, it’s the logical result of a somewhat disorganized working method”, Dâmaso once said. If disorder is in some way responsible for the creation of these unsuspected droopy textures, then let the world abandon once and for all that yuppie thing about organization.» - Nuno Catarino


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July 09, 2006

730 DAYS, 45 RELEASES AND COUNTING

test tube is now two years old! Thanks for all the downloads!
Hope you're still here downloading a year from now... :)

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July 09, 2006

REWIND/FORWARD


• tube'|045 - Daniel Maze - How's the Serenity EP

«One who looked into the netaudio scene over the last few months couldn't have noticed the proliferation of amazing works signed by Daniel Maze, published through many different netlabels around the world and always characterized by different sonorities one from each other.
This Canadian producer from Vancouver is known for approaching many various styles and with this EP he adds another variation to his musical research.
Through these five tracks you'll find a common element which always returns (in the cover artwork too) and that's the possibility to stop, rewind and forward every sound and explore its gradient with analog tape, creating atmospheres full of memories making you feel like watching old photos in black and white or a forgotten film of your parents.
Every song has the typical melancholy of past memories and, like we do in our mind, Daniel stops and rewinds a detail or a particular element to focus on it, freezing sweet melodies and textures, and then, suddenly, blocks everything out, remembering you that nice memories sooner or later end, and a song like “Don't cry Jennifer” is there to give you these kind of feelings.
The ethereal melodies of “Chamber Music One” and “How's the Serenity” are even more evocative and the final “Safe for now” sounds like a recording session for magnetic tape, drones and stretched guitar... amazing how this strange ensemble works well together.

In this EP, Daniel sketches very emotive experimental music with a noticeable attention to melody and consistent to what he did before, but adding a delicacy and an inspiration that's not easy to find elsewhere.» - Filippo Aldovini

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July 04, 2006

IT'S A NETLABEL WORLD

New netlabels on the scene. And they're good, people. Checklist:

EKO
Minimal and contemporary ambient from Paris, France.

Famous for 15mb
Multimedia netlabel whose specialty are small releases.

Arterija
Ukrainian netlabel into twisted electronics.

Selva Elettrica
Rome based open source music.

Knobs
Lithuanian 4/4 techno.

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June 26, 2006

CHEW ME UP


• tube'|044 - Maina - Love them, Hate them

«Isaac Cordal, multidisciplinary plastic artist, member of the Alg-a community, has always featured a metamorphic affinity with the human body through his works, be it with photography (Ola Calma, 2004) or be it with sound installations (Re-poso, 2004).
In this work, titled ‘Love them, Hate them’, Cordal accompanies himself by Maureen Kinnear, the voice that serves as a pendulum for the sampled sound oscillations which Isaac works on and filters out. In this EP, which takes us into the fantastic world of Antye Greie’s (AGF) e-poetry, and also to several cities, Maina sampled the most intimate and inhabited urbanity, the pain, the innocence, the screams and the revolt, which are here transformed and (re)created in a complete exercise of emotional self-closure.
The voice and the silence hand-to-hand, with the machine acting as language.» - Bruno Barros

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June 17, 2006

FREE AS IN NETLABEL

Marc Weidenbaum of Disquiet fame was kind and interested enough to do an interview piece with me, András from Complementary Distribution and Nathan from Dark Winter. In no more than a couple of weeks, with Marc's guidance, we discussed and covered several themes around the Netlabel subject.

Read the full article here.

Thanks, Marc, for helping us spread the good word :)

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June 16, 2006

DARK IDM


• tube'|043 - Kubik - Infinite Territory

«Victor Afonso is a portuguese musician living in Guarda, a city lying near Serra da Estrela (Star Mountain) at some 1000 meters above the sea level. He has been releasing music under the name Kubik (2 albums) as well as in many other projects. “Oblique Musique” and “Metamorphosia” albums recorded as Kubik showed up a musician deeply inspired by cinema and also by a great variety of music, from eastern europe folk to contemporary drum’n’bass. This alloy allowed Kubik to develop a very personalized and surrealistic sound, which defies the listener imagination with a wave of references sequenced in a way that take shape in the form of musical pieces. “Infinite Territory” is his new release. It is a departure from earlier works, because here Victor Afonso decided to explore electronic music more close to the IDM genre. It is obvious from “Infinite Territory” that musicians like Amon Tobin or Aphex Twin play an important role as sources of inspiration. This EP is very well balanced between ambient soundscapes and bursts of drill’n’bass, showing Kubik at the maximum of his skills and inspiration. From phantasmagorical pieces like “Bona Fide”, to kinetically unstable tracks like “Infernis”, “Plus Ultra” and the surrealistic “Non Hilum” (perhaps the track more related with his previous works), Kubik shows up his personal view of what electronic music (or IDM) can be, with a great capability to create images in the mind of the listener, rather than being purely another kind of dance music. “Infinite Territory” is therefore a kind of a soundtrack of a lost science-fiction movie, lost in the outskirts of the galaxy (or, more precisely, of the mind), exploring lost territories and lost spirals that lie within the more pristine forces of nature.» - César A. Laia

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June 14, 2006

BUSTED

Still here, people.

Almost a month later and a couple of releases behind schedule but we're here again. Explanation: Test Tube's computer, with all the files, releases, graphics and stuff, went bust by the end of May. Machines... always acting up...
But after the ordering of some replacement parts - CPU, Board, PSU and GFX - it's up and running again!

Since we got a little behind schedule on the release department, we'll do a two-in-one release somewhere in the middle of the summer. Summer is chillout around these parts, anyway...

Just sit tight.

Cheers,

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May 15, 2006

IMPROBABLE MUSIC


• tube'|042 - e:4c - Documents

«e:4c are H. Vasconcelos and J. Correia, a laptop duo from Porto, Portugal, and they build skyscrapers made of heavy pre and post-processed field recordings, cable static and general software sound generation. This is usually filed under 'experimental improvised electronics' and e:4c are obvious followers of Vítor Joaquim, Paulo Raposo, @c and other renowned portuguese laptop experimentalists and composers, and they are extremely good at what they do. This is laptop electronica at its best.
'Documents' contains two long and untitled pieces, #1 and #2, with many distinct moments between the two, some lighter and some deeper. While #1 is a dark themed mass of artificial inteligence sounds, filled with glitches and static, machine crunching of binary data, supported by a low hum of drones, #2 is all light: a nostalgic and emotional piece, technologically advanced, full of spectral sounds, cymbals and processed voices like some living building struggling to reach the sky high. Keeping the analogy, #1 could be the underground section of this life-pulsating tower, with all kinds of machines feeding electrical energy into the upper floors, maintaining a constant flow of information. #2 is the visible part of this living synthetic organism, it's where it all happens, where it processes and catalogues all information gathered, like a gigantic database, building floor over floor, trying to reach the infinite. Amazing stuff.»
- Pedro Leitão


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May 09, 2006

BROKEN MIRROR

Hi again.
Unfortunately, our local mirror closed down yesterday. In a few weeks we should have another one mirroring our catalogue locally, but in the meantime we can only offer our portuguese listeners Zip files of each release from the Inercia mirror (see last month NEWS about this).

We appologize for this inconvenience, people
.

Peace,

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May 05, 2006

MUSIC THAT HAPPENS SOMEWHERE ELSE


• tube'|041 - Sticking Drops - Meteo EP

«"Music happens somewhere else". I came up with that phrase when I needed one for lezrod's myspace site and later found that somebody else conceived it for an article on William Basinski and Richard Chartier's self-titled on the german magazine DE:Bug. This phrase describes very accurately the new release from Sticking Drops, a two people project from Italy. "Meteo" is one of the most interesting releases I have heard through 2006, and indeed happens somewhere else.
Lorenzo Tomio and Nicola Luchese managed to ellaborate an album where darkness and detail result in an awesome sonic experience where time runs in a creepy mode and space is merely a bizarre consequence of that.
This mixture of organic timbres and fragmented/chopped guitars creates a constant tension that results in a very hypnotic and fascinating experience; "Meteo" manages to keep the focus very intensely as the structures work in a very narrative way, very storytelling and yet very abstract.
Test Tube always releases pretty amazing material, but I have to say this record was very special for me and I am very honoured and glad to get to review it. Indeed an album that stands out.» - David Velez

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April 23, 2006

SCENE.ORG MIRROR

Hi there.
Thanks to ps (aka Filipe Cruz), all our zipped releases are now available for download at the inercia portuguese scene.org mirror, right here.
Happy downloads.

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April 22, 2006

THREE-DIMENSIONAL REIKI


• tube'|040 - INVADER - Reikai Sounds

«Founded, to a large extent, on strategy of a surreal nature where the robotic vs human paradox is elevated to an aesthetic category, INVADER is the 21st century Reiki. Here, every sensory organ is invited to listen to a renewable energy, creating a resonance of the artistic self, which extends the body and the senses.
INVADER provided soundtracks to several games for the Nintendo console (don’t know which ones), and turned them into great live performances, where noise almost engulfs the whole aesthetic concept, experiencing great moments of apocalyptic tension and threat, in a constant search for an end (?).
This EP, named “Reikai Sounds”, is not at all like the animalistic material we can see on the latest live performances (on Japanese ground). If we focus on the body domain, of our still human body, and try a loose comparison with this unavoidable tension between technology and the self-body-entity, then yes, we can easily verify that also our tech-body is dependant on the threat to its own perfection, at least until its total termination – the extinction of the vital functions… “life is a plastic entity which associates the rigorous construction to the variability of expression.” [1] But let’s go back to the EP, a work constituted by 7 tracks that, I must confess to you, after watching the performance video, felt like a body massage somewhere in Tibet.
Cascading sounds of extreme purity, structurally well done and with a solid cadency, “Reikai Sounds” elevates the spirit and controls the mind, like harmonical vibrations on the quest for a vital energy from (to) the Universe. Low rhythm games, with no place for words, but with a place in the soul.» - Bruno Barros

[1] SILVA, Paulo Cunha e, O lugar do Corpo, Lisboa, Instituto Piaget, 1999, p. 154.

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April 05, 2006

NOSTALGIA FOR THE FUTURE


• tube'|039 - Norman Fairbanks - Graceland EP

«Now for some easy chillout breaks, for a change. LA based Norman Fairbanks doesn't do what we like to call 'difficult listening music'. No, he doesn't. Instead, he crafts some of the best lie-down-and-try-not-to-think kind of tunes that I've had the pleasure to listen to this year. Take a look at his website and tell me if those Hollywood streets aren't just the perfect scenario to enjoy the kind of lush downbeat tracks that make up this Graceland EP, while driving to your Corvette at cruise speed.
If you've listened to Norman's previous release on Pentagonik - West Hollywood EP -, you'll see that this is a rather different outfit. Instead of electro beats we've got smooth pads. Instead of body dance music we've got mind chill electronica.
Opener 'PCH1' stands for 'Pacific Coast Highway 1' and features very nice drumpads and all around great chillness. Sooothing synth melodies and quirky old school hi-hats with a dubbish reverb feel are also included.
'Mystified' goes back to Boards of Canada's earlier future nostalgia material, nineties. Starts off with acoustic guitar plucking, very pastoral, and turns into the most danceable track of the EP.
'90026' goes more downbeat ways again with more old school synth lines, and 'Graceland' finishes off with more upbeat beat programming, close enough to minimal techno that one could easily dance to it.
This EP perfectly encapsulates the sunset drive-by-feel of hollywood streets and boulevards. Chillout, LA style. Enjoy.» - Pedro Leitão


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March 25, 2006

CREATIVE COMMONS HEADLINES



a)

Oh yes.
It's all over international news. A Dutch gossip magazine published some photos which were licensed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons (CC) license, without permission from the copyright holder. And guess what: They lost the case in a court of law. The owner of the photos was none other than Adam Curry. Mr. Podcast himself.

Read more about this here.

b)

CC based labels continue to multiply themselves like rabbits. Now it was time for Beatpick - a british online label (netlabel, yeah.) - to enter the scene. They sell CC licensed music from an eclectic roster of new uprising artists. All under Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs licenses. Which means: Buy it, share it, play it, modify it, do whatever you like with it.
This is great news for the music community worldwide. CC are here to stay. Power to the people!

By the way, we use Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs licenses too.

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March 17, 2006

OLD SCHOOL CLASSICS


• tube'|038 - irish - The Pretty Album

«Maybe you remember irish from one of our first releases, tube008. More than a year ago, we wrote: «irish’s Understandings is a beautiful EP that sets the melancholic tone right from the beginning». Well, we can easily pick up where we left. irish's tone is still sad and melancholic much like it was months ago, but he has developed his style since then. He has cleaned up his sound a little and invited two of his friends to sing for this release.
'The Man of Dead Letters', featuring singer Mississippi Sunburst, is a childish-like song, with english male lyrics over a slow and heavy bass beat, soft keyboard drones and an insistent, deliberately untuned guitar. A mellow start for a 'Pretty Album'.
'Rave at Mt. Eboshi' is the first of the two instrumental pieces. Its strong IDM architecture pushes up the beat some notches and adds some cut-and-paste voice sampling for a great Sheffield feel. Did you mentioned 'Old School' and 'Warp' in the same sentence? Yep, rightly so.
'Theme of Emi', featuring japanese artist Tsurutin, is a beautiful little jewell to keep next to the heart. It balances some sweet girly lyrics - spoken in japanese - adorned by some really sad keyboards with more classic, dissonant and round IDM beats, to create a distant nostalgic effect. really special, this one.
'Curtain call for The Man', the last instrumental piece, closes this release with a nice touch: A kind of a lo-fi hip hop tune, with bubbling effects, lots of vinyl scratchin' and a weeping cello. Priceless stuff.» - Pedro Leitão

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March 01, 2006

ROCK 'N' ROLL!


• tube'|037 - The Union Freego - Greetings from the NE

«And now for something completely different! The Union Freego (TUF) is a classic pop/rock band from the North-East of Italy - hence the title 'Greetings from the NE' - that plays classic indie-rock, north-american style.
We usually don't release rather obvious music genres or styles, but TUF seemed a nice twist to a somewhat linear catalogue, and after some listening we decided to go forward with it. Another recent motive for releasing this EP comes related with the band leaving electric instruments behind and focusing on acoustic ones, and also because one of the original members left the band and was replaced by a new guy.
Fans of Luna will find TUF their cup-of-tea right after the first song 'Something's Wrong'. R's vocals have that kind of bittersweet sounding that goes perfectly with the guitar and drums.
'Judo' is my favorite song. It has a delicious rhythmic section right from the start, and the lyrics are quite nice too.
There's not much more to be said: Well sung indie-rock played by alpine italians with a knack for basslines and nice guitar riffs.
18 minutes worth listening to.

Visit TUF's website for more info on the band.» - Pedro Leitão

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February 27, 2006

NETLABELS A-PLENTY

New round-up of Netlabels that we found out to be our cup-of-tea.
Put your bookmarks to good use:

~ 12rec [link]
~ Hellven [link]
~ SIlence Is Not Empty [link]
~ Dark Winter [link]
~ Oblast [link]
~ Insubordinations [link]
~ Standard Klik Music [link]
~ Hippocamp [link]
~ Natural Media
[link]
~ Arterija [link]

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February 19, 2006

BITTERSWEET SYMPHONIES


• tube'|036 - Barcos - Lyonteque

«I was asked to review this release by Pedro and didn't get any info on the artist, which obvioulsy I would get later... anyway I will review it only after hearing their music.

The first track "It's Beer" is quite drunk, sweet and harsh at the same time, with extremely groovy beats and basslines, and some background f/x reminding me of the semiconscious state of full drunkeness. This tune is really phat and gets me in a dark twisted groove.
"Kebuok", the second track, is rather sweet like a light hangover on a beautiful day with some nice feminine companion making you coffee and making you feel better all around. Very nice melodic progressions, the songs evolves in such a natural and beautiful way that you can do nothing but love it. Kebuok is very uplifting and fills your soul with joy and bliss: towards the end, the song takes an interesting turn that only enforces what the song already did over the first 3 quartets.
"(Fuck The, We Want)" is a short piece that momentarely puts you inna very scary and dark place.
"Toothless" is a groovy tune, with some harsh sounds and some really phat basslines and beats. Towards the end it gets a bit wilder and chaotic - which I love - and makes me wanna jump and go crazy all over.
"Dois Velhos" is an atmospheric piece, very uplifting and touching, which transports you somewhere else, where time runs slow and thoughts fade into contemplation. The song seems to keep reaching for a zenith and reaches it as it just gets creepy and harsh. Lovely soundscapes lead this song to and end.
"Tolos" is pure bad ass hi tech hip hop, love the sounds and the bass is simply dope. Really nocturnal and agressive tune, with some abstract backgrounds. Later it just gets ill, very ill at the point it will mess with you. Awesome piece really really sick.
"Pombos Perfeitos" is very overwhelming and epic, and turns from sublime to chaotic and stressful, and later finds a balance full of joy and intensity. Towards the final, it gets really interesting with an aftermath feeling to it. So sinister and beautiful. Great track.
"Poker" has also a southern hip hop-like beats but way iller and minimal. Some abstract background sounds give the tune some structure and progression. At one point song's totally losses it, diving into a sea of madness. Extremely great sound design, very dark. This song is a trip through twistedness and desolation.

After I reviewed his album, I learned that Barcos is Vítor Lopes, who also records with the trio Frango. Well, Vítor's 'Lyonteque' is a great record with a bittersweet flavor, that sometimes has a sky-blue tonality and sometimes is dark as a dungeon.» - David Velez

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February 17, 2006

TEST TUBE INTERVIEWED

Test Tube was interviewd for Otites blog recently. If you want to know us a little better, go ahead and read it. This is only for portuguese readers, though... Thanks for the opportunity.


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February 09, 2006

MIDNIGHT SUNS


• tube'|035 - Motionfield - Northern Lights

«Swedish born Petter Friberg is a veteran when it comes to electronic dance music. He started producing underground techno back in the late 80's and issued a couple of twelve inches. After that, with partner Martin Frick under the alias Superstereo, he released three EPs of groovy danceable tunes, but after a few years he got into Eno and The Orb and began working in the ambient electronica field. As Motionfield, he has two excellent works published - one on Stadtgruen and another on Autoplate, Thinner's sublabel for ambient grooves. So, it's no less than an honour for test tube to feature his latest and third work, "Northern Lights".
Shorter than an album but a bit longer than an EP - kind of a mini-LP - "Northern Lights" is inspired by the long and bright summers in Scandinavia, the 'midnight sun', which never goes down in that time of year. Naturally, 'Nordic Lights' is a blissful start for this release, shifting between two different layers of ambient, closely reminding of 90's ambient electronica and also of more recent Boards of Canada material. But nature also plays a role in this release: 'Enter the Polar Circle' recycles early Biosphere ice-scapes into a post-millennium Vangelis, Blade Runner era; 'Sounds from a lonely forest', grows from a cold cavern-shaped musical score into a sweet little drone, ripped out from - again - Boards of Canada's best interludes. There are truly promising works here. Other tracks like 'Turning the plate' or 'Depend on me' play more into dark ambient territory, scandinavian flavored. And others yet, are perfect old-school ambient tracks, carrying us fifteen years back. All in all, a perfect release for the nostalgic 90's adolescent inside us all.» - Pedro Leitão

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January 25, 2006

LIVE DOPE

Our friends from DOPO will premiére themselves live at the infamous ZDB Gallery, next week, February 4th. Veados com Fome and Lobster will join them that night. You can expect a rather weird gig, where the festivities will range from instrumental noise rock to sweet hippie lullabies. We're so there!


Before that, this saturday 28th, Phoebus will open for the amazing Murcof. Place is the same, ZDB Gallery. :)

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January 23, 2006

GHOST CITIES AND HAUNTED PIANOS


• tube'|034 - Minus Pilots & Kenneth Kirschner - Unlit Cities

«In the first half of the twentieth century, the basic concepts of contemporary art and avant-garde were almost automatically connected to the ideology of progress. New York was the center of the world, a center "illustrated" by the gestures of Pollock's action painting, by the dripping of Kooning's grotesque work (see Women) and by a vast supply of right hemispheres capable of creating an equal whole without a central focus.
Music gave birth to Feldman and Cage, Busoni's pupils, and all of them were improvising textured pieces, registries and intervals, some of which with more than 6 hours.
Kenneth Kirschner, since he begun his recent work with Taylor Deupree, has demonstrated that if he was more than 60, he was surely to be a member of the New York School. In this particular improvisation work, Kenneth samples and manipulates some tail piano's notes, while British duo Minus Pilots picks up where he left and tries to tame the empty spaces, through a minimal digitalization, almost microscopic and microtonal. This experimentalism-based sound ornamentation is able to establish some kind of well structured "open source", but capable of an entirely non-patterned functional freedom, for a sound progress without an end, just like in Feldman's works. One of the best releases I've heard in a while, and an excellent start for 2006. Amen!» - Bruno Barros

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January 14, 2006

MONKEY IN THE MACHINE


• tube'|033 - Símio Superior - Como na Rádio

«Símio Superior is André Abel, also a member of the noise-funk band Dance Damage and one half of electronic experimentalists Tropa Macaca. He is solo here, manipulating samples to extreme sounding conditions, achieving some interesting and repetitive percussion forms.
Travelling close to industrial territory, Símio Superior (roughly translated to 'Simian Sapiens' from portuguese) sounds like a noise-rock band, without the drums and guitars, pushing noise boundaries to the limit, but never getting too close to feel the pain.
Keeper is the drone shaped 'Carabina, latrina' with an oblique glitchy sounding circular movement, but that's not all. 'Tez morena' grabs some voices sampled from the Animal Collective's repertory, cuts them to pieces, drowns them into sulphuric acid and bangs them into a wall while listening to some weird sounding african drums. Terrifying shit, I tell'ya.
'Laranja papaia' is the cleanest track of the lot (by André Abel's terms, that is...) with a nice little background hiss and chiming little bells, while the artist gently whispers something unintelligible into our heads. Creepy and great uneasy listening.» - Pedro Leitão

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January 04, 2006

DELICACY OF TEST TUBE

Japanese Acowo website dedicates this week to Test Tube. They called it 'Delicacy of Test Tube'. It's a kind of a 'best of' week. We're very flattered, of course :)

Thanks for being so kind, Kengo! and a Happy New Year!


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January 01, 2006

BRAND NEW, YOU'RE RETRO

2006 is here.
Although just an invention of the calendar, an year change is handy and gives us a good excuse to make those nice best-of-the-year lists, flashback into those moments, curse the bad ones, etecetera. We're not different here at test tube headquarters, so let's see how was 2005 for us, statistically:

- 25 releases (13 hours 38 minutes and 20 seconds of music in 1,2Gb);
- 9 portuguese releases from 8 different artists including 6 all new;
- 9 countries and 3 continents present;
- around 31780 unique visitors and 49498 visits;
- 162237 pageviews;
- 2026566 total hits, which gives more than 5500 hits per day;
- 186,18Gb transfered.

Plus, we got dozens of reviews in several websites and weblogs, most of them nice. Our reputation (if any) has grown, as well as the number of demos received through post and e-mail.
A couple of releases were even featured in best-of-the-year lists, among regular releases from regular labels. So, we're very happy because many people like what we're doing. And that's all we need to keep it going.

Now it's thank-you-time. Our big thanks go to (in no particular order):

Pedro Rios, André Gomes, Rodrigo Nogueira, Miguel Azevedo, César Laia, Luís Marta, José Marmeleira, Luís Florêncio, Darren McClure, Johannes Hätscher, Laurent Lusseau, Bituur Esztreym, Xesús Valle, Rui Gato, Adam Barringer, Eduardo Chagas, Kengo Miyazaki, David Velez, Filippo@Zymogen, Afonso Simões, Tiago@Merzbau, Fernando@MiMi, Pedro Gomes, Rafael Toral, Carsten Nicolai, Francisco López, Adriana Sá, Henrique Pinto Alves, Miguel Ángel, and to everyone who contributed in some way. Hope we didn't miss any of you.

Many thanks to all for supporting
test tube.

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