«For the last release of the year, we bring you mon0. mon0 (with a zero in the place of the last 0) comes from a small place near Düsseldorf and Cologne, Germany and started his career in music as a Dj somewhere in the last half of the 80's. It was only some years later that he turned to computers and began composing, first with Rebirth and Reason and later with Live.
As he was (is) a big fan of Plastikman and monolake - who probably inspired him when he started to sign his work as mon0, his first compositions were something along the lines of minimal/ambient techno. Most of mon0's releases are along those aesthetics.
But from some time now, mon0 has turned his attention to pure ambient, using only sprouts of percussion elements in his tracks. His latest tracks sound like something Biosphere and monolake could be doing together, without the beats. It's some deep, dense and heavy form of very minimal ambient techno with all the beats taken out. 'Interference' and 'SeNØrd', two long tracks with roughly 20 minutes each, make up this small album called 'Beyond', and if you're into ambient music, you really should listen to this.»
- Pedro Leitão
Oh, and have a nice new year's eve! Happy 2009 to you all!
December 27, 2008
TIDY KID FOR THE EYES
We've added a new video taken from Tidy Kid's 'One Week With My Casio'. It's called 'Coma For a Dog' and it's brilliant. Check it out below.
You can also watch both videos at Vimeo, in bigger windows or even fullscreen, here and here.
«This small album by Japanese musician Naoto Taguchi comes only a few months after he released a four tracker at on;(do) music. Those four tracks were re-mixed and re-recorded, Naoto added four more and an extra one which is a remix of 'Untitled Fragments #3' by Daisuke Miyatani, a fellow artist.
Presentations aside, Naoto's music can be described as a gentle and complex tapestry of electroacoustic, field recordings and lush drones sounds. The release notes of his previous release talk about an artist which «is also an active dj with own distinguished style. His music combines electronic sounds and real-life sounds into static and poetic soundscapes that breathe like living compositions. His unique and precisely detailed music style often evokes listeners moving pictures and stories.», and this is a very accurate description of what Naoto Taguchi's music sounds like to me.
Enjoy this late Christmas present» - Pedro Leitão
«'One Week With My Casio' is a little gem of an EP originally released in cassette by Germany's Froggi Records - talk about being oldschool... - which literally covers a week's worth of song composition and recording around a CASIO CT-102 by NYC based musician Tidy Kid. This K7 only release is limited to 150 copies, by the way.
In approximately fifteen minutes of music, Tidy Kid covers some electro-pop territory from the 80's to current time, while exploring some of its known boundaries. Examples? 'Mute Face's freak-pop which easily turns out as one of the best songs of this year; Shortest dance track ever 'I Lost My Mind', which fuses BoC style pads and eighties dance-pop (video here); 'Pretty Girl' and its 8bit drum kits and droopy synth. And this doesn't end here.
'One Week With My Casio' is a release not short of extraordinary and leaves us wondering about how a full album could've sounded if Tidy Kid spent a month with his CASIO instead of a week. Get this now!» - Pedro Leitão
As a bonus, here's two videos from 'One Week With My Casio': 'Coma For a Dog' and 'I Lost My Mind'. Great videos!
«room101 comes from Slovakia, one of the last european countries to regain independence in the 20th century and also one of the youngest members of the European Union. He crafts some very nice drones based on low-frequencies hums and high-pitched samples. We usually identify this style as Experimental Ambient.
opens up with 'Neurosecretory Cell', one of the two pieces in this album that push the drones into agressive territory. 'Vertical Décalage', 'Cyclic Nucleotide' and 'Subconscious Suite' are much easier to assimilate and provide longer and lasting appeal to the ordinary listener. In fact, the last track is my favorite because it grows in its womb a big, phat and reverberating drone. A beautiful piece occasionally splintered with audio debris, which actually comes as a nice plus as it diverts the listener's attention towards other interesting elements. Well worth of your time.» - Pedro Leitão
December 08, 2008
This is for all you local netaudio and good electronic music fans: next saturday Organic Anagram will be playing a live show in Viseu's FNAC store (check out Google Maps for locations). Admission is, of course, free. If you're in the neighborhood, don't miss it.
November 26, 2008
FIRE, WALK WITH ME
• tube'|147 - Philip Croaton + Ilia Belorukov - Still Fire
«In little over two months, Philip and Ilia from St. Petersburg return with a new Jazzy ambient release called 'Still Fire'. This new work is perhaps heavier on the dramatic side, thanks to some deliberate connections to a couple of works from film director David Lynch: Twin Peaks the TV series and Inland Empire, a 2006 movie which has a most convenient plot connection to Eastern Europe countries, namely Poland. Both 'Lynchean' works tell stories around girls who get into complex episodic troubles of some sort. Anyway, Philip uses some well placed samples to strenghten the dramatic tone of the Still Fire pieces.
This album is a lot different from 'Un[view]mask[ed]'. While the previous release was strongly supported by rhythmic patterns and loops - via sampled drums and bass lines, among several other instruments - 'Still Fire' is a completely beat-free ambient experience, with Ilia Belorukov's trademark sax punctuating occasionally the dense drone surroundings with distinct reverbed phrasings and sounds.
If you're into space-ambient-jazz you can't miss this release.»
Now, Philip Croaton speaks of Still Fire:
«Still Fire was an inalienable part of my Unachievable – a dark, noise-drone album. And after I've finished recording of bass part for SF, I had an idea to put in this composition another instrument – saxophone. I gave first version of SF to Ilia Belorukov with a green light to making everything he likes into it.
At the end we had a strong saxophone-based line as an add to minimalistic bass part, witch became a powerful duet.
After some time, I decided to continue the storyline of SF. So I began thinking about a concept, and replaced bass with electric guitar. And because I really enjoyed Ilia's ideas on SF, I was sure that he would take a part on SF II.
Third part of Still Fire became completive, generalized and fully independent of previous parts. It took all the best of SF and SF II with an extension of new ideas, which made it unique. Once again Ilia Belorukov took part on the writing process with some saxophone additions.» - Pedro Leitão
«Wes Slover is a 21 year old audio engineer from Seattle, and Speed Chess is his first take at a conceptual release of its own. Wes loved music throughout middle and high school as he played in bands and for himself, but his fascination turned out to be with sound itself, as processed or unprocessed audio matter, and I'm sure that's the reason why he can't have enought sound to play with. In his own words: «Any chance I get I'm producing music.». Figures.
Speed Chess' concept revolves around the game of Chess. Metodically and mathematically, Wes works his way in with sequenced rhythms that somehow pay tribute to 90's electronica, via IDM, but also have a strong pop feeling about them. 'Kathryn Elizabeth', for instance, is gentle and sad song about a girl. Some other tracks have strong drum'n'bass and jungle influences, like 'Bedtime for the monster'. There aren't two songs lookalike but they all have in common a very accurate sense of momentum and harmony. The sound design is perfect, which doesn't come as a surprise given Wes' background and present occupation. All the samples, keyboards, drums, beat sequencing and everything else are all of great and solid design quality, and Wes has a real talent to write songs, as I'm sure you will notice as soon as you start listening to this release.» - Pedro Leitão
«David Fungi, from Varese, Italy, is clearly inspired by nature. Field recordings pop up from the initial sounds of “aal_sentieri”, blended with synthetic and metallic electronic sounds which produce the kind of ambience one might recognize from William Basinski. It is this razor edge that defines the strong personality of this recording. Even though “Aal_sentieri” is ambient music, it is also restless, menacing, provokes the listener and gives him a sense of travelling through a mysterious and dark forest. As the piece unfolds through its 23 minutes, the sound layering becomes more complex, while one can only guess the origin of the animal noises underneath. When the path comes to an end, a climax appears in the last 4 minutes, first with a burst of industrial noise and finally an orchestral and cinematic climax, finishing the track. “aal_sentieri” leaves the listener in the company of silence, which in a strange kind of way almost works as a reverberation of the track. It is not easy to capture one's imagination like this, but David Fungi has that skill to mix disparate sounds in a coherent manner, making “aal_sentieri” a fine and peculiar release.»
- César A. Laia
'The Sales Department' is a new ongoing project thought out by canadian MD Matheson, after a successful ten year career with his previous moniker 'Beef Terminal'. While Beef Terminal was probably a more physical adventure, with guitar based musical structures, The Sales Department is completely focused on an emotional and mental connection with the music, through classic IDM rhythmic structures and ambient soundscapes that ultimately work as time machines.
Some (if not all) of those tracks are heavily based on nostalgia components: lush pads, ambient drones, epic keyboards, droopy beats and old-school-like samples.
'[Sub]ways' is also the first effort in a series of releases that test tube will put out over the next year. They should tell a story when combined or listened to one after the other. The Sales Department will also prepare and release a video sometimes after or meanwhile.
[Sub]ways leaves us wanting more from The Sales Department. We hope that this wait won't take long» - Pedro Leitão
October 25, 2008
AERIOLABEHAVIOUR AT QUEBRA
Tonight I'll be playing some test tube unreleased stuff among a wide selection of netaudio from around the world. Ambient, field recordings, some digital dub shit among from the worlds top netlabels. This will happen at the beautiful riverside city of Coimbra - halfway between Lisboa and Porto. The name of the club is Quebra and I'll be there until 4 AM.
If you're in the neighborhood, you're invited to have a drink and listen to some unexpected music.
«After a short interlude, Matt Cooke-Davis (a.k.a. Craque) assaults our senses with an eclectic amalgam of rich rhythmic patterns that derivate from dub, hip hop, techno and other urban languages, but instead of driving us straight to the physical emotion center, they drive us to the 'braindance' center. We should close our eyes, then, to fully appreciate what's being offered. 'Cirkulit' is all this and more, because it also speaks skewed experimental electronics idioms to our pleasure centers.
Half an hour of Craque's 'Gamma' is all we need to stimulate our craving for great electronic music. Craque isn't new around either, he has excellent works on Stadtgruen, Kahvi Collective and Kikapu. I just love how he uses the bass and lower pitch frequencies, the melodic loops, the ambient pads, the sometimes dirty beats and jazz-influenced improv. narratives. We can even experience some delayed acoustic guitar loops on 'Matterbuss'.
Excellent and extremely elegant electronic music.» - Pedro Leitão
October 13, 2008
• tube'|142 - Umbrellas in the Rain - Wieder Daheim
«Umbrellas in the Rain is the alias of an austrian musician from Vienna, and 'Wieder Daheim' - german for 'Home Again' - his first effort at creating something mature enough worth listening to (and worth releasing, for that matter...). Well, he did it, and with flying colours. 'Wieder Daheim' is a delicate collection of abstract songs that really grab one's heart. They are experimental enough to wander in, but also emotional enough - to the point of being nostalgic - to keep us down to earth.
We can also find enough drones to keep us occupied and plenty of found sounds of everyday objects to let us dream away. The songs are filled with a lot of different instruments too, among guitars, keyboards and xylophones. My favorite track has to be 'Moment of Life', because of the nostalgia that it sucks up from me, making me wander to my past memories like 20 years ago or more... home again yeah,
It really captures some moment of life there. Runners up are 'Birch Grove' and 'The small town we grew up in' just because I'm a sucker for big drones.
The final moment with this big lo-fi track 'Wilted Willows', has some real gems inside, but I'll leave them for you to discover.»
- Pedro Leitão
October 10, 2008
There's a very pungent short movie called 'Virga', written and directed by Ben Spink who made into the Red Bull Reel Life competition. Now, the interesting part is that Virga's soundtrack was made by our very own Daniel Catarino a.k.a. Long Desert Cowboy, and it fits real nicely.
Since Red Bull's screening website is having some sort of flash problems (I couldn't play the video and tried 4 different browsers...), I've uploaded an FLV file (Flash based video, should be playable on Windows Media Player) of the movie to our server. Go ahead and stream or download it.
«What kind of feeling puts together the barren solitude of Sergio Leone's western spaghettis and the ultra heavy suspense of David Lynch's complex dramas? Living in Alentejo may have something to do with it, but Daniel Catarino's own life experiences and close contact with a deserted inland are most likely the paint in the canvas, or the roll in the camera, if you wish.
From 'Western Spaghetti' and 'Sandshoes' to this new work 'Finareia' something changed, and for the better. If Long Desert Cowboy's thick ambient collages borrowed something from Ry Cooder before, they've done the same with Angelo Badalamenti this time, Lynch's favorite soundtrack composer. If you swap the redwood pines for the desert cactus, most of the ambients created here are very reminiscent of Twin Peaks. And in a way, they carry the same dramatic narrative, only to be broken into pieces as soon as you hear Clint Eastwood's 'Blondie' talking to his villainous partner.
Highly suggestive track names like 'Spitting on a dead fascist', 'Hang my gun up in the wall' or 'Hanging a cow by the neck' complete the task of creating the perfect ambient for the listener to dive into, closing his eyes and picturing himself inside a David Lynch movie. Get this now!» - Pedro Leitão
October 05, 2008
ANGELOU IN FRAMES
Check out this video from Project 5AM's song 'Angelou'. Jason Haye says it was inspired by Woody Allen's 'The Purple Rose of Cairo'. He also sent me the following text:
«In a rare public appearance at the National Film Theatre in 2001, Allen listed «The Purple Rose of Cairo« as one of only a few of his films that ended up being "fairly close to what I wanted to do" when he set out to write it. Allen provided more detail about the film's origins in a comment he made a year earlier, during a press junket for Small Time Crooks:
“Purple Rose was a film that I just locked myself in a room [to write].... I wrote it and halfway through it didn't go anywhere and I put it aside. I didn't know what to do. I toyed around with other ideas. Only when the idea hit me, a long time later, that the real actor comes to town and she has to choose between the [screen] actor and the real actor and she chooses the real actor and he dumps her, that was the time it became a real movie. Before that it wasn't. But the whole thing was manufactured»
«Various gadgets are moved by a non-human brutal force. It is almost scary to imagine being close to one of those moving structures considering that they sound as if they were gigantic. 'Sundries' contains complex object orchestrations. Nicholas Szczepanik has an apparent lack of desire to communicate specific musical idioms. The discordant mass of noise produce a variety of fascinating sounds that will keep your attention very focused on what is coming next. There is a clear presence of dust, dirt, grains, and other particles that make the objects move in a difficult manner. Dragging, pushing, banging, destroying, holding, releasing, and many other actions are manifested as you listen. Towards the end, after all the activity, "Sundry Blessing" brings you a drone that will blow any reminiscence of sonic frenzies away.
An intriguing release that holds a deconstructive rigor, and at the same time beholds a meditative quality that can be hypnotic while still challenging the perception of the listener.» - Sebastian Alvarez
September 18, 2008
• tube'|139 - Project 5AM - Quixotes of Moons fights the Windmills of Brixton
«'Quixotes of Moons fights the Windmills of Brixton' is somewhat of an epic-long title for a down to earth downtempo-esque album. Truth be told, this little gem of a release that a british guy - Jason Haye of his name - brings forward is a clever mix of the best in electronic music that Her Majesty's Kingdom brought to the world: really good classic IDM pads, round and juicy trip hop beats, some late nineties ambient and even some slight hint of more recent trends like uk garage and 2step elements thrown in. All wrapped up in a slowed down downtempo - actually more broken beat-ish - rhythms. Really good and chilled out stuff.
Fave tracks are 'Crepuscular', a sexy trip hop trip with overly dramatic strings and keyboards... really nice; followed by 'Wet ashtray', a sumptuous club track, round shaped and bursting of deep basslines and groovy beats with very nice pads... damn, should be longer... and there are other great tracks, but these two are my own cup-of-tea. This a great release to wave goodbye to the summer and welcome the snugly warm autumn. Enjoy!» - Pedro Leitão
September 10, 2008
• tube'|138 - Mons Jacet - Songs of Night and Longing
«From the Baltic coast of Lithuania comes along Martinas Rakshtinas, or Mons Jacet for those of you who enjoy minimalist soundscapes. Mons Jacet has previously released for Clinical Archives and Enough Records in 2007 (two releases for each label) and that should give you a hint of what to expect from this release: Dark, droosy ambient; dense drones and textures based on improvisation and field recording patterns.
'Songs of Night and Longing' has suggestive titles: 'Ships at Night', 'Gnissim Uoy', 'Black Birds' and 'Midnight Farewell'. The cover photo doesn't go far from the dark mood as well: A lonesome wooden bench facing the Baltic on a cold, misty, winter evening.
If you're a sucker for dark ambient drones, creepy moods and solitary dreaming, then this one's for you. 'Songs of Night and Longing' is a hell of a trip into the solitude of cold nights watching distant ships sail away towards the unknown.» - Pedro Leitão
September 02, 2008
BRAZILIAN SUSHI WITH A HINT OF COLOMBIA
• tube'|137 - Lezrod - Fear and loathing in Rio/Tokyo
«By the end of Spring I was hired to compose 10 pieces for a series of 10 videos to be displayed in a Brazilian Sushi Restaurant in Las Vegas. Even though the nature of this pieces is abstract, the fact that they have to work with the videos (produced by Daniel Roversi) and that they were going to be performed in a restaurant somehow brought back 'musical' elements which were part of my early work. After I finished them I felt it might be interesting to publish this material that if it wasn't for this project I wouldn't have ever done it.
The videos were based on cultural elements from both Brazil and Japan but I wanted to make something more universal and I feel my love for soundtracks and film music in general, were particularly influential here. The soundtrack projects of people such as Ry Cooder, Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin, Herbie Hancock, Vangelis, Edward Artemyev, Vincent Gallo and John Frusciante sure served here as inspiration.
The title of this release pays tribute to film director Terry Gilliam and novelist/journalist Hunter S. Thompson and their movie/book 'Fear and loathing in Las Vegas' where a unique atmosphere of delirium and disregard is built through the entire story, creating confusion between the sometimes-vague line between reality and imagination. This confusing atmosphere were present on the videos, as Daniel Roversi allowed contradictory elements to play together, as the relationship between the video themes and the relation between Japan and Brazil culture required certain level of abstraction to work altogether.
Also by the time I composed some of the pieces for this release I had a at home some of Luis Buñuel movies which I am sure inspired this work as well. This release pays tribute to him and in particular to his movie 'Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie' where this delirium and disregard atmosphere can be found as well.
This is a soundtrack for a move composed by 10 chapters, 10 stories that the listener could write, direct, shoot and perform, on his own mind.» - Lezrod
September 01, 2008
D'INCISE IN THE PENINSULA
Swiss artist Laurent Peter a.k.a. d'incise is already here in Portugal for a handful of live improv. electronics shows in collaboration with other local performers.
The shows will be held in several venues including the famous Cabaret Maxime ball room and Cultural Centre 'O Século'. This show will happen this next friday 5th at around 22h. Laurent will play with João Pedro Viegas (bass clarinet and tenor sax), Bruno Parrinha (alto clarinet and alto sax) and João Castro Pinto (laptop). This show is free admission.
The day before - thursday 4th - its the Cabaret Maxime show, with prettu much the same artist lineup: João Pedro Viegas (bass clarinet), Bruno Parrinha (alto and regular clarinet), Miguel Mira (cello), João Camões (viola) and João Parrinha (drums). Acoustics meet laptop electronics in a improv. showdown.
There are one more Lisbon gig but I don't know exactly where (I suspect it might be at Braço de Prata) and next week d'incise travels to Porto for a last gig.
«.at/on is musician and composer Anton Holota from Ukraine, and after releasing with several well known labels like -N, Plex, Telescope and Nishi (among others) since 2004, .at/on comes to test tube with a special EP containing 4 rarities from his repertoire. The 'fon' pieces were previously released through Cifrarec. Project, a long gone and closed for good netlabel from Russia, so they were both unavailable until now. 'Products of Passed Days' and 'scape-01' on the other hand, were previously released in a very limited CD-r edition of 30 copies and also long gone. This was a great oportunity of re-releasing all four pieces.
.at/on main soundwork is offered through electroacoustic ambient and glitch and drone flavors. 'fon a' and 'fon b' are two small pieces of glitch ambient and experimental noise that together make up one complete story. 'scape-01' and 'Products of Passed Days' are much more on the ambient drone side, lenghtier and more spatious pieces, with a twist of dark ambient throughout.
.at/on has great works and a diverse discography and if you happen to enjoy this EP you should investigate the rest.»
- Pedro Leitão
August 22, 2008
Yeah, I surrendered myself to Twitter after getting my own iPhone 3G the other day. The iPhone is not THAT great but nevertheless it shines because of the amount of awesome apps you can fit into it. I use Twitterrific when I'm mobile.
Anyway, I created a test tube Twitter account under my name here. If you use Twitter, follow us and be updated in realtime about new releases, rants and other personal findings. See you on Twitter then!
And stay tuned for a new release this weekend...
August 16, 2008
A JOURNEY'S TALE
• tube'|135 - Ilia Belorukov + Philip Croaton - Un[view]mask[ed]
«Saint Petersburg native Sax player Ilia Belorukov teams up with fellow russian musician Philip Croaton to create a single-piece long player of Improv. Jazzy ambient.
Philip speaks about 'Un[view]mask[ed]' project: «Generally, every composition is a tale. A tale about past, feelings, emotions, etc. And here we have a complete story. I had an idea to create a journey, where some instruments went along with the listener. And the goal was that the listener could see about what happened to composition during this trip. Un[view]mask[ed] – it's a game without masks, witch remains indiscernible.
(Unmasked, but unviewed).»
Philip has been a constant in Ilia's musical work, as producer, musician and sound engineer. This particular work was also graced with the collaboration of trombone player Dmitriy Krotevich.
'Un[view]mask[ed]' is in essence a long, dronesy downtempo-style tapestry of pre-built rhythmic patterns based on bass and ambient loops, that get complemented by several layers of improv. playing of sax, flute, trombone, harmonica and several levels of noise elements and drum loops, culminating in a contemporary electro-acoustic piece of rare beauty. Enjoy the journey.» - Pedro Leitão
August 11, 2008
Here's a review for Neubau's latest work 'Definitions of Nowhere', done by our good friend and supporter Eduardo Chagas (sorry, portuguese readers only):
«Nascido em 1978, na Áustria, Neubau (conhecido nas horas normais de expediente por Arno Steinacher) desenvolve ideias ligadas ao pós-serialismo, que têm a ver com a aplicação de modelos matemáticos à criação musical, numa perspectiva menos laboratorial que aquela em cujo modelo se inspira - Studio für Elektronische Musik, Colónia, Alemanha, anos 50. Neubau procura conciliar este tipo de visão com outra em que é notória uma maior flexibilidade e variedade tímbrica e textural, com um desenho sonoro menos artificial e mais humanizado, que conjuga elementos dos mundos campestre e industrial, temperados de melancolia crepuscular. A ideia do compositor é criar impressões sonoras e visuais no ouvinte à boleia de clusters de sons naturais e fabricados pelo homem (as "mathematical sound rooms", além da presença da voz humana), nascidos de processos idênticos aos que se encontram na análise microscópica, na biologia molecular, nos modelos evolutivos, etc. Serialismo de rosto humano para o Séc. XXI? Pode ser.»
«In native basque - Euskara - language, an 'Ola' is a forge or a mill, used in ancient times to melt the ore which was abundant in that northeastern part of Iberia. There were several types of 'Olas', 'Urolas' - your typical water-mill, 'Jentiolas' - related to basque mythology, and 'Aizeolas' which are perhaps the most common of 'Olas', powered by the wind. Yes, wind mills, like the ones Don Quijote fought in his dreams, which were actually giants that the basque people called 'Jentils'.
Anyway, basque mythology aside, this piece that basque artist Oier Iruretagoiena offers us is pretty much made from wind field recordings that Oier captured in the coastal region of Uribe-Kosta, part of the Bizkaia province, hence the title 'Aizeola'.
This piece, while short, has several parts interconnected through moments of tense silence and suspended dramatism. The first moment is the most visceral one as we are left in the middle of a hurricane of unimaginable strenght. We can almost feel the earth shattering beneath this nature's power, rocks being thrown away into space, chaos everywhere we turn to. After that, the calm, and then again. A short but very intense experience.» - Pedro Leitão
«There is absolutely no doubt that music is an art form, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. But can it also be a scientific project, something closely related to the mathematical ability? Stockhausen - among other musique concréte and contemporary thinkers like Koenig and Beyer - thought so. Austrian Arno Steinacher in his own way, also pursues this ideal. This is taken from his own website: «(...) The focus of my actual works is the implementation of scientific models and ideas into music. not just to translate them: hopefully to dance them through sounds, to let them shine through.» Not an easy feat, Arno.
Recently I found a review of Arno's latest work - signed under Neubau, as this new one we are presenting - in one of my favorite music blogs, Cyclic Defrost. Writer Adrian Elmer writes at some point: «(...) To my ears, what Steinacher achieves is a grand update of the serialist traditions of the mid-20th century. Those ideas came to their climax as Elektronische Musik in Cologne in the 1950s, where purely electronic sounds and sequencing were used to ‘play’ serialist music which was so complex, yet rigid, as to render it impossible for human instrumentalists to create. (...) Steinacher seems to have applied similar serialist restrictions, but with infinitely more interesting timbral variety.»
This is what we're really talking about here: taking those pure, abstract sound forms into something human related, something able to speak to our hearts and minds and make us dream and ultimately, travel away from our physical body. This is the power of music, even if it is science-based music.
'Definitions of Nowhere' is a complex album made from a number of highly texturized drones and percussive sounds. It has the power to make you lose your way, as sometimes you believe to have advanced a couple of tracks but you're actually at the same one. It has the power to make you travel and dream, and also has the power to make your mind tingle. This is usually the result of exceptionally made electronic music. Discover and enjoy.»
- Pedro Leitão
July 27, 2008
MAMMALS WITH WINGS
• tube'|132 - Morgan Jenks - Sound to Activate Space EP
«Throughout the existence of the humankind, the understanding of space - its frontiers and dimensions - has changed a number of times. In "Sound to Activate Space", Morgan Jenks helps us experience another change that expands the boundaries of visible space.
From the beginning, Jenks' unobtrusive electronics add a resonance and atmosphere that can take you to places of inexplicable calmness. There is a reflective melody held at a remote distance in "Gemini" that succeeds in activating spaces inside your memory banks. "An anthem for the bats and their prey" speaks for itself. An atmospheric anthem that will keep you silent until the moment where a group of blind flying mammals echolocate their victim. I assure you that if you close your eyes, you will have a very graphic experience of this encounter. Furry bodies frantically flapping wings and screeching voices that transform into electronic signals.»
- Sebastian Alvarez
July 16, 2008
• tube'|131 - Edoardo Romani Capello - Chrysopraze Spheres
«By reflecting light, 'Chrysopraze Spheres' brings celestial phenomena into the most dark corners of your surroundings. Each song is composed of fine crystals that change color constantly. 'Breathing Sea' elevates you like one of this particles to a 'Shining Blue' sky with 'Cold Clouds'. The enormous 'Shadows' of a 'Lost' 'Damp Cave' resonate from the bottom of the earth asking you to return. As a crystal, you float between the sky and the surface of the earth without belonging to any specific territory.
Most of 'Chrysopraze Spheres' is like experiencing a soothing, dream-filled slumber while awake, and even if some of the pieces have obscure or menacing qualities, the instants of unease are ephemerous, like a passing nightmare whose feeling lingers briefly upon waking but whose content is forgotten.»
- Sebastian Alvarez
July 10, 2008
MAY-JUNE TOP DOWNLOADS
Back again with more download stats. Let's review the MAY-JUNE period, then:
#01 - tube123 - d'incise - Les Restes du Festin [1822 downloads]
#02 - tube078 - Quest.Room.Project - Fiducial Banality [631 downloads] #03 - tube099 - Entia Non - Distal [453 downloads] #04 - tube122 - Entia Non - Lilt [444 downloads] #05 - tube120 - Gordon Tebo - Patina Turner [338 downloads] #06 - tube125 - Uncle bart comes to have breakfast - Some... [299 downloads]
#07 - tube096 - Long Desert Cowboy - Western Spaghetti [293 downloads] #08 - tube121 - Mother - Self Deprivation [289 downloads] #09 - tube110 - Shelter - Sleepyhead falls off the edge of... [284 downloads] #10 - tube124 - OCP - Stepping Stone [282 downloads]
d'incise going strong with his amazing album. Almost triple the downloads of the second most downloaded release, surprisingly, an old one, 'Room Number: Fiducial Banality'.
#03 and #04 belong to Australia's Entia Non - two of my favorite releases from the last months. A couple of older release and more recent ones complete the top ten. It's also nice to see Western Spaghetti again...
#02 - tube123 - d'incise - Les Restes du Festin [716 downloads]
#03 - tubemm001 - David Vélez - 20:51 [494 downloads]
#04 - tube128 - Dan Schreck - Grow in the Dark Watch [302 downloads] #05 - tube126 - 900piesek - Lonesome Abyss [297 downloads] #06 - tube124 - OCP - Stepping Stone [260 downloads] #07 - tube120 - Gordon Tebo - Patina Turner [185 downloads] #08 - tube127 - Jin Men Ju - 01122008 [181 downloads] #09 - tube122 - Entia Non - Lilt [162 downloads]
#10 - tube089 - Clorofila Azul - Revisitado (sem voz) [101 downloads]
More interesting facts here; an older release gets the top #01. Actually, it's not that old... anyway... another amazing album, from Croatian jazz ensemble TrianguliZona. Completely deserved as a lot of people downloaded the album. d'incise is still close to the top with more than 700 downloads, and in #03 comes another surprise (or maybe not) with our first mixed media release from David Vélez, '20:51', getting almost 500 clicks. It's good to see that David still has a lot of fans and they didn't forget how great his music is. Go David! :D
The remaining top is pretty much normal with the most recent releases getting more downloads, except the #10 where we had another older, from Clorofila Azul. Nice.
Keep clicking, people. More awesome music coming up next!
«Polish kid Adrian Kowalczewski (cover photo, black suit) aka Ad.R sent us a nifty little EP a while ago called 'Short Dance Songs'. It took some time to get everything ready for the release but, alas, here it is!
This EP is a nice little surprise, as it covers a lot of electronica's ground in just over 23 minutes. Inside, you will find nicely crafted old school IDM, some breakbeat, some 8bit stuff, some experimental IDM and a little whim of Glitch. Although most people that were big fans of electronica back in the days won't stand IDM in regular doses anymore - so many good stuff to listen to, so little time... - this small dose of really good IDM will take them in a small trip into nostalgialand.
'Out Moon (Of)' sounds like it got taken right off M3rck's or Neo Ouija's catalogue. 'Short Movie Song' and 'Short Vocal Song (parts 1 + 2) would fit perfectly into some of the late 90's Squarepusher records. A really great listen for old school electronica fans.»
- Pedro Leitão
«'Shaman Tones' starts with a Hedningarna cover, unsuspiciously titled, yeah, 'Hedningarna', and with it Polish artist Artur Antonian sets the tone for what will come ahead: Drones, repeated patterns, pagan rhythms and world grooves. This is a long album and Artur tries with some success to cover diferent styles and feelings. 'Flamenco' grabs a set of spanish guitar chords and deconstructs them throughout; 'Elves' goes cyber futuristic with it's blade runner-esque pads and beats; 'Polka' goes... ahem... polka style; 'Shaman Tones' sounds like a cleansing ritual and has someone speaking a strange language at times. And there's some more for you to discover.
Most of the time 'Shaman Tones' feels like a sonic travel through a handful of cultures, states of mind and consciousness, moods or whatever. Breathe deep and come inside.» - Pedro Leitão
June 19, 2008
NEW VÉLEZ REVIEWED
Our friend Sean Monaghan today wrote a very nice shortie for David's latest work '20:51', a mixed-media piece you should download right away if you haven't so yet. Here's the quote:
«This is a delicious immersion into wonderful darkened depths. So well sculpted and taking you in directions you'd never expect - just at the moment that you're thinking that the drones and watery sounds will keeps shimmering and subtly changing, the piece will take a sudden turn. About two thirds through a chord sound leaps out at you, bringing your attention back to the music, and then that sound and variations are explored with more movement and power until the end. And the set of photos make a nice complement to the sounds - stark, evocative images. Overall a slick piece of work.»
This short review was posted on EARLAbs today. You can write your own too!
June 18, 2008
TIME TO GROW INSIDE
• tube'|128 - Dan Schreck - Grow in the Dark Watch
«Dan Schreck is a north-american musician who studies sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In his spare time he also does some credited work with production and stuff and meanwhile, he also manages to get some time for his own experiments with music and sound. 'Grow in the Dark Watch' is another one of these audio experiments where Dan works sound as a medium to achieve particular moods or feelings.
The mood that goes throughout most of this small EP is perhaps close to fear, suspense, or even terror. The first four tracks are kind of creepy in their own way, thanks to the type of sounds Dan choosed to work. Tracks five and six are a bit different and they seem more like experiments on hypnotic drones and loops than anything else. After a while listening to 'Grow in the Dark Watch' - mind you, it's not an easy listening by any chance - you can go two ways: either your brain starts to get into the loops and you feel yourself being pulled into a caleidoscopic journey; or you start to feel uncomfortable with the sharp and pointy sounds and want to terminate your listening right away. I've felt both ways in separate listening incursions and I can tell you this much: 'Grow in the Dark Watch' needs some time and dedication to grow itself into you. Enjoy!»
- Pedro Leitão
«'20:51' is the first release in a new series here at test tube. David challenged me several months ago in doing some kind of book release, and then I though to myself: 'why not starting a new mixed-media series of work?'. The idea started to materialize slowly and now we proudly present this new work from David Vélez.
In the future, expect a different kind of mixed-media works: text and audio, video and text, audio and video, audio and photo, etc. We want that artists feel completely free in aesthetics and form. This is their naked canvas here at test tube.» - Pedro Leitão
«'20:51' is a publication composed of 1) a series of photographs I took and put together as a PDF publication, and 2) a sound piece titled 'Polvo'. This is the first sound work I finish and publish in almost 9 months, a period where I looked around for inspiration and slowed down.
The word 'Polvo' in spanish means 'Dust' but also refers to the sexual act of reproduction: the origin of this meaning is unclear.
Celebrities like Woddy Allen, God, John Lennon, David Bowie and even Pablo Picasso have used the word 'Polvo'/'Dust' on their creations and/or on their quotes and titles.
"...quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris... ".
("...for dust you are, and to dust shall you return...").
...is a quote taken from Genesis 3:19 in the Bible. Some intellectuals claim that this Bible quote is the origin of the use of the word 'Polvo' to refer to the sexual act.
The cyclic and finite/infinite notion that are found on the use of the word 'Polvo' are quite inspiring and probably influenced the way the piece sounds and feels, since the title 'Polvo' was assigned to the piece before I composed it.
Dust was here before us, dust will remain here after us. That fact makes everything else simple, ephemeral and harmless.
There is not a manifest connection between the piece and the photos.»
- David Vélez
«Hailing from Forth Worth, USA comes Jin Men Ju - real name Terry Horn - with the weirdest and minimalist acoustic based folk we've listened in years. Terry uses a power tour guitar toy, a nintendo ds with jam sessions and a ibook g4 to create hypnotic layers of strings repeated through infinite loops.
You'll need a good stomach and a mind wide open enough to enjoy Terry's compositions, and if you do, you'll achieve levels of satisfaction you never thought possible. '01122008' is reckless and adventurous minimal music, and it will crosswire your brain for good. Enjoy!»
- Pedro Leitão
June 03, 2008
If you get our newsletter you already know that tomorrow we fly to Sevilla to participate in Territorios Digitales, a free admission section of the bigger festival TERRITORIOS SEVILLA, held in the beautiful Andaluzian city.
Monocromatica/test tube will participate with a DJ Set (by yours truly) and a live concert by Platform of improvised electronics. We play on friday starting at noon (12h00 CEST). Opening the section tomorrow will be Deadbeat, which is one my favorite electronic acts and I already had the occasion of booking him to a local concert almost three years ago. It will be nice to meet Scott again.
Alongside the concerts and showcases, Territorios Digitales will host several conferences about digital creation, digital music and all things digital in the new millennium. There will be workshops as well and demonstrations from some of the brands present at the stands (where we will be present too).
I'm sure this will be a rewarding experience for everybody. Saturday I'll return with some news about the event, and next monday we will have a new release. See you!
«Matúš Mikula is from Slovakia, one of the youngest members of the European Community, and as 900piesek he brings us a soothing sci-fi ambient release, packed with nostalgia and warmth. 'Lonesome Abyss' is Matús' third album already, and it can be somewhat defined as a dark ambient work, although it's a bit bright in the end. In Matús own words, this album is about the «death of the astro navigators», whatever that means... metaphorically speaking, it's about one's journey from the ocean shore to the abyssal deep. The plunge, the descent, reaching for the thin line between life and death. Just you... and the darkness around. Enjoy...» - Pedro Leitão
May 26, 2008
• tube'|125 - Uncle Bart comes to have breakfast - Some paradoxes (...)
«From fragments of some (other) space free jazz in ‘Interlude…’ to the perversion of a spoken word in ‘Metamorphosis…’, going through the post-minimalism of ‘Cyber Chaotic Zen Paradox’, it’s a whole universe almost cinematographic – which goes beyond transcending labels and classifications – the one that we are given to discover in this excellent work from ‘Uncle Bart comes to have breakfast’.
Deep spaces of deceiving sound weirdness, where the ripping of pseudo-narrative perspectives intertwines with timbric instrumental explorations, in the quest for a new and rigorous sound.
Music in which distant and disperse ‘ethnics’, permeate a never-ending journey of disturbing beauty, in an apparent noise amalgam.»
- Carlos Zíngaro
May 23, 2008
I decided to go back to January and do a recap of our 4XT top. At last we will see which releases were the most downloaded from January to April.
Let's start with January then:
#01 - tube106 - Norman Fairbanks - American Case Study [9952 downloads] #02 - tube103 - Motown Junkie - Plagiarism Perversions [977 downloads] #03 - tube102 - Krypton - Silent Drama [769 downloads] #04 - tube046 - Peacee F Moya - Mouth for Sore Sight [708 downloads] #05 - tube107 - Cristian Gualpa - Flotante EP [506 downloads]
#06 - tube002 - Pitch Boys - Random Teleports I [476 downloads] #07 - tube007 - Ubeboet - Bleak EP [474 downloads] #08 - tube006 - Lanolin - Untitled EP [436 downloads] #09 - tube105 - Eye - Plays [393 downloads] #10 - tube078 - Quest.Room.Project - Fiducial Banality [381 downloads]
#01 - tube102 - Krypton - Silent Drama [1180 downloads]
#02 - tube106 - Norman Fairbanks - American Case Study [885 downloads] #03 - tube105 - Eye - Plays [845 downloads] #04 - tube103 - Motown Junkie - Plagiarism Perversions [817 downloads] #05 - tube110 - Shelter - Sleepyhead falls off the edge of (...) [788 downloads] #06 - tube108 - Multi-Panel - The Door [662 downloads] #07 - tube112 - Lee Rosevere - Light Years [638 downloads] #08 - tube111 - Petr Drkula - Two Trips down Market Street [570 downloads] #09 - tube109 - Bård Farbu - Zink EP [557 downloads]
#10 - tube107 - Cristian Gualpa - Flotante EP [540 downloads]
#01 - tube080 - Post Human Era - Where I'm Going (...) [3375 downloads] #02 - tube070 - Jan von Grafenstein - 13 [3351 downloads] #03 - tube113 - TrianguliZona - Flossy [2012 downloads] #04 - tube087 - Juan José Calarco - Plano Vertical [1594 downloads] #05 - tube101 - G.A.F. - Atractores Extraños II [771 downloads]
#06 - tube100 - Pitch Boys - Son of a Pitch [758 downloads] #07 - tube097 - Organic Anagram - London By Night [715 downloads] #08 - tube115 - Adrián Juárez - Planicie Corrediza [651 downloads] #09 - tube098 - The Turtle - Hyper Riot [623 downloads] #10 - tube116 - Pocka - Wanderweg [425 downloads]
And that's it. In a couple of weeks or so we'll reveal the May 4XT.
Also, we have some exciting news to tell you about other projects. Meanwhile, the second volume of our DVD is almost ready for shipping. Official release news coming up next.
«Three/four releases a year is the average production coming out of João Ricardo's lab, making him a very busy artist and producer. Even with such a rate of releases, quality is not an issue, as João - aka Operador de Cabine Polivalente (OCP for short) always makes really interesting works.
'Stepping Stone' is one more of those works. Again, João takes the 'single piece' approach for added immersive experience. The piece shapeshifts through its thirty-two minutes and a half course, filled with highly textured sound palletes. A focused listener will find at least three distinct 'movements' in this piece, or better yet, three core ones with an additional smaller interlude-ish one. The second main movement is an organic symphony made from string notes colliding and overlapping themselves into repetitive loops. The final and last movement - and my favorite - starts with a dub ambient approach to a sci-fi drama; dense and heavy and glitchy, and rapidly turns into a full glitch/field recording/improv. long finale, with warm, rubbed-out edges of awesomely (is that a word?) well made ambient.
Someone once wrote in a review that there's never a dull or boring moment in João Ricardo's works, and that never was so absolutely and undeniably true as it is now.» - Pedro Leitão
«Rhythms that bleed. Rhythms that rust and fall apart. Rhythms that fracture your perception of time. D'incise's decompositional approach is charged with an electricity that turns actual objects into distorted images. At times, you will find your neck's vertebrae moving back and forth to keep a time only existant in your mind. In the collaborative nature of "Les Restes du Festin", we can hear micro-cuts from various improvised music recordings of Johann Bourquenez (piano), Christian Graf (guitare), Christophe Berthet (saxophones), Gaël Riondel (saxophones), Cyril Bondi (drums) and d'incise (piano and percusions). In addition, we can hear the talented intervention of Lena, Bluermutt, Hopen, Ibakusha, and Monsieur Connard.
Here, electronic thoughts are translated into numerous acoustic dances to the point of loosing distinction. Dancing thoughts of electronic motion. A grand piano that stands up as anthropomorphic figure to interact and dialogue with the player. Frequencies that tickle the tympanic membrane in order to descend through the eustachian tube reverberating eternally. Binary codes that materialize into percussive instruments; number ones as drumsticks, and zeros as bass drums.
Dusty pieces of metal falling through a waterfall of sound waves until they reach the depths of an ocean of noise. Water ripples become multicolored threads that float around a beam of light. Mercury plugs that melt when plugged into amplifiers. Unidentified Flying Objects that become cymbals and give a message about phenomenal spaces. Static hairs follicles that abandon the skin to encounter the vibrations coming from the speakers. These are some of the visions I receive when listening to this sonic constructions. Micro-cuts from a macro-musician.» - Sebastian Alvarez
A little more than a year after the first volume, here is the second one: test tube collected, from release 076 to 124. With a slightly redesigned cover and with a completely new set of 10 different artworks to choose from.
The first volume's artwork was dedicated to the flora of central europe, and this one is dedicated to some of the invertebrate underwater species of the world, beautifully illustrated by the hands of late Professor Ernst Haeckel. Check out all the covers at the release page.
Available for delivery only by the end of the month, but you can and should pre-order it now because as before, this will be handmade and packaged in limited quantities. And if you don't already own a copy of the first volume and want to have both delivered to your door, we will set up a proper PayPal item for the bundle at a special price. Soon.
EXTRA: The first 25 people to order our new DVD release will receive as a thank you present a deluxe edition of the next release - d'incise's 'Les Restes du Festin' with their package. Be quick if you want one. This offer was only possible thanks to the generosity of the artist himself. Thanks Laurent!
«As promised, we're back with another excellent work from Entia Non - aka James McDougall from Australia - called 'Lilt'. Like the previous one, expect to listen to lots of juicy field recordings from australian whereabouts artfully mixed with soothing ambient tones and drones of rare beauty, and also organic backgrounds to complete. For this release, James went to capture new sounds to some well known 'sand islands' located on the eastern coast of his enormous country, namely 'Stradbroke Island'.
'Oxide Pearl' and 'Littoral Glades' are my favorites and the ones that best capture Entia Non's essence of 'australian ambient/field recordings' work. Warm and dense backgrounds, moist and organic f.r. full with birds singing and water flowing and daily familiar voices and sounds. There's not many more to be said to fairly describe what you'll hear (or are listening to right now through our flash player), so if you please, head straight to the download link.
This is another keeper, folks. We hope you enjoy it to the fullest!» - Pedro Leitão
«Once again, Chris Komashko releases a compelling set of sonic options to cerebrate upon. According to most dictionaries, deprivation is the loss or absence of parts, powers, or things that are needed. Is the self a part? Is the self a power? Is the self needed? In any case, listening to "Self Deprivation", you will encounter the pleasant absence of melody, familiar chords and structures. This absence can make you reflect about things that are not longer present. Hence the expression "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Is heart the self?
Along these concise tracks you can be lifted momentarily by soothing ambiances, or be taken by the sudden arrival of extraneous sounds that keep you in a very attentive mode. The atmosphere created in this album has the power to raise different types of questions. Some of this questions might be about the strange nature of what you are hearing pan around your head. Like the nature that surrounds us, this creation is still unknown and that probably will remain like that for ages to come. In this album, "Mother" communicates in languages that can be understood only in thoughtless awareness. Even-though the titles of the tracks appear to be very humane, they carry a profound celestial meaning. Mother is full of human moments that suddenly take a divine turn. Within this divinity, a wide range of dark and light moments show you different aspects of the living and the non-living, the organic and the non-organic. Let Mother grab your hand and take you into territories without distress.» - Sebastian Alvarez
April 23, 2008
Tomorrow begins this year's edition of STFU Porto, at the same place where it happened in 2007: Fábrica de Som. Here is an image wih the complete programme.
Unfortunately test tube will not be present physically, but we sent some DVD's of our catalogue (vol. 1) to be offered as present to the attendees. That's one more reason to be there!
«Remember Gordon Tebo back from tube031? Probably not since it was like two and a half years ago... still, Gordon offered us at the time, a nice little release called 'Adaptive Immune' and it was a conceptual EP about the human body system. Musically, it was minimal/experimental/noise at the very least.
Well be prepared now... because Gordon is back, and he's different. 'Patina Turner' - funny name for a release - is like a 360 degrees turn for Gordon, as he now enters minimal techno territory with it. But not down-to-earth minimal techno like that one coming from Germany and other european countries. No, Gordon did his own minimal techno blend, and, from Gordon's own words: «it's all got something very slightly fucked about it, almost unnoticeably.» Something unnoticeably, like the picture on the cover... And yes, it is fucked up, but in a gentle way. Gordon knows what's he's doing and what he wants, and he also threw in some ambient to boot, and the result couldn't be better: Four hypnotizing and extremely danceable tracks that have that special power to put us into 'nod mode' even if we are sat down in a comfy chair.
Opener 'People Mover' couldn't have been more appropriately titled and it's the real keeper here. 'Phone Home' is also a special little gem. Braindance, people!
Best with headphones or very loud speakers. Enjoy.» - Pedro Leitão
«'Pulsos Temporales Memorias Estables' is the second album from SEB here at test tube and this time he made it even bigger than the previous one. Twenty tracks of SEB's trademark 'digital nostalgia' style of clicks 'n' cuts and weird sampling. After a couple of listens, it's clear that Sebastian has been refining his sound. He's more precise and to-the-point when he tries to capture an emotional essence into a track or simply by telling us a story. Most of his new tracks are also smaller and more effective, like a new engine model that consumes less but takes you farther. Some of this tracks work a bit like interludes of sort, filling the gaps between heavier, denser and more mesmerizing ones.
A couple of my favorites are 'Microcranes from jpeg' and 'Transitorio en'. They're both round forms of loop samples put under a warm blanket of nostalgic ambient. Sounds a bit like Animal Collective's craziest tracks if they ever went all electronic, or maybe a bit closer to Panda Bear's latest solo incursion. But SEB is also a sucker for nice beat sequences, and this becomes obvious after listening to 'The fall felt the fall' (awesome title), 'Our meat politics' and 'People vanished too'. Speaking of great titles, SEB has a knack for picking colorful and funny yet interesting titles for his songs, titles that leave us wondering about their true meaning, if any. 'Perra con chompa' is one of the most intriguing ones. 'Perra' must be female from 'Perro' which is spanish for 'Dog', and 'Chompa' seems to be a sweater or similar type of clothing. Pretty weird, huh?
In the end, Sebastian Alvarez offers us 20 wonderful tracks for us to dream about metaphorical titles and the unknown dimensions that inhabit his mind. Have a nice trip.»
- Pedro Leitão
«Platform was the first electronic band RuiGato formed little after he went solo as Outersites (later an audiovisual duo) - from Elastic Void, his first individual effort. For Platform he teamed up with Nuno Clímaco Pinto, a friend guitar player strongly influenced by european jazz and experimental rock. Gato on laptop and modular synth and Nuno on guitar synth and effects they started composing new material built on percussion bases with improv. phrases on top and went to play it live almost immediately. It was never meant to be a studio project but rather a pure live one. Their compositions often changed from gig to gig, although they kept the same percussion elements throughout the lifespan of the duo. In 2004 they put Platform to sleep as Nuno moved to a different city.
Well now, after this 3 years hiatus, Nuno got back last year and a month or so ago, an opportunity arose for Gato to perform in a culture fair in Pontevedra, Galiza (Northwestern corner of Spain) called proxecto-edicion. They decided to reactivate Platform and began rehearsing straight away. Then we had the idea to take some of the best live recordings back from the Platform concert days to do a 'special' release here at test tube. The boys re-mastered 8 tracks for 'Templates' and incidentally, they're playing today at the mentioned fair so it is with special pleasure that we release the record today.
Hope you enjoy this as much we do.» - Pedro Leitão
April 02, 2008
Some of you are probably wondering why there hasn't been much activity here in the news - apart from the stuff that keeps getting released -, with the newsletter and everything else. Well... there has been a lot of activity in my personal life, a 'moving out of Lisbon' situation approaching and some other familty matters have been taking much of my time, and the few couple of hours a week that get spared are all spent with releasing work and submission analysis. But we'll get back to everything else as soon as I clear my head.
Some of you have probably noticed that our next release was changed yesterday to Platform's 'Templates'. SEB's 'Pulsos Temporales Memorias Estables' was changed to tube119. It was the first time we did a last minute change to the releasing schedule, but there's a very good reason for it: Platform is an old project of my very good friend and artist Rui Gato that was put aside some years ago when the other half of the duo - Nuno Pinto - moved to another city. It happens that they got back together recently with new rehearsals and an opportunity emerged: they got the chance to present a live concert in Pontevedra, Spain - which happens tomorrow, btw - for the first time in 4 years. They also decided to take some of the old live recordings (studio tracks were never recorded, this was always a live-only project), re-master them and put them out as a test tube release. Since they're playing live tomorrow we thought this to be a great chance of releasing the stuff in the same week. So...
«When the particles of dust along a curve start floating, they carry miniscule pieces of metal, plastic, and glass. As these particles float, they reflect natural light to become visible to the human eye. In a similar way, A Sankip Hummad lifts tiny glitches, clicks, and bleeps out of their technological environment to infuse them with a special type of light and compelling traces of human memory; memories of a utopia that never existed or perhaps nostalgia for something we do not know yet. In any way, the clever compositions of Desmond Hollins continue to captivate the attentive ear with slick grooves capable of taking different dimensions within time and space.
If "Le Sac" = The Bag, and "De Sonido" = of Sound, then imagine a bag that transforms the objects it is carrying into sound. Everything you put inside loses its material form to become sonic messages that inspire you to move slowly forward. As you walk balancing this bag, a metric level of pulses is heard and consequently your steps become rhythmic. Soon, "Le Sac De Sonido" takes you into a journey through landscapes where everyone greets you with meditative gestures. In this trip you are allowed to use the bag to collect your "objects" and transform them into vibrations, or simply just go with the flow.
A Sankip Hummad understands how to guide us into our psycho-geography with groovy aural maps that take cartography into a whole different level. Enjoy the trip.» - Sebastian Alvarez
«'Wanderweg' is german for 'Hiking Trail' or 'Hiking Path'. Brad Mitchell recently lived and worked in Switzerland - before moving back to his Springfield, Missouri home, so it's no surprise that the lower Alps, the Black Forest and other typical surroundings inspired him with their nature magic. 'Wanderweg' is also the title of Brad's latest drone album, before putting his Kikapu netlabel to rest. This marvellous collection of guitar-based ambient drones sends us into deep nostalgia-mode right from the opening piece 'Burg' - german for Castle, while guiding us through the autumnal-afternoon, lower light-brimful landscapes of some far away medieval germany. If we close our eyes, we can be and feel there for a fraction of a second.
The whole album feels like a hiking day trip, and the song titles emulate familiar themes: 'Felsen' (Rock), 'Bäume' (Trees), 'Weg' (Trail or Path) and 'Fluss' (River). All of them built up from guitar dones, some heavier/darker than others, but generally pointing to an 'upping' or 'rising' feel, like 'Bäume' which starts at the ground with a short paced loop only to flatten itself after a while, and rising to the skies until the end. 'Fluss' is probably my favorite piece - and the longest one with more than 20 minutes, and it really sounds like the flow of a river. The highest frequency sounds actually resemble water, liquid movement, while a massive drone throbs over them. There are pitch variations in the drone throughout the piece, the best part of it being somewhere along the middle, where the riverflow seems to gain strenght - perhaps because a waterfall is approaching.
'Wanderweg' is a dense, emotive, and beautiful drone collection, ripped from the guts of mother earth somewhere near the Black Forest.
Thank you very much for this, Brad.»
- Pedro Leitão
«Adrián Juárez is a sound experimentalist from Buenos Aires, Argentina and he has been working with different sound languages since 2005. Not long but he has already spawned an impressive number of solo and collaborative works since then. Adrián works with various genres and sytles, ranging from IDM, vocal music, ambient, post rock and experimental to orchestral music, afro, percusion, latin american folk and others.
'Planicie Corrediza' is one of his most recent works to be filed under improv./experimental, and one that test tube has the immense pleasure to release. With mysterious titles like 'Batanonabitidolac' or 'Cadoltibina', this EP is roughly 25 minutes of pure, unadultered ordinary and out of the ordinary sounds. Adrián uses water and dirt, bubbles and sand, cardboard boxes, wood planks and pieces, acoustic guitars in pure agony, tin cans, plates and glasses, bassdrums, chimes and whistles, voices and throat sounds, PVC tubing and a whole lot more that cannot be effectively described - we can only imagine. This sound architecture results in completely organic non-music, non-compositions, incidentally without any narrative but telling us some kind of story at the same time. Music from the earth, from within a house, from someone else's day or night, music built like a tree-house where we keep adding pieces of wood and metal and found parts and it gets bigger and different and special every time we add something new. Every object has its own life and produces its own distinctive familiar or unfamiliar sound. This is improvisation music made out of unorthodox instruments at its best, and the experience of listening to it is more than special, it's an experience»
- Pedro Leitão
March 10, 2008
Following our recent 'Flossy' release, by Croatian Future-Jazz ensemble TrianguliZona, there are a couple of videos that you can find on - where else - YouTube. The first is from one of the album pieces - 'Rippling' - and the second is from the piece 'Making New Directions' - not included in test tube's release.
«The collaborative nature of spanish composer Juan Antonio Nieto has taken him into different journeys. What happens when the continental drift process suffers inversion? The union of intangible terrains is becoming more clear each second. At this point, we know that language is truly unstable and absolutely turbulent. We would like to be in control and arrest this flux of events that surround us. Pangea's "Tradition" is an album humble enough to keep its language free and resonating without any familiar order. Its unexpected interventions always enter from different directions (South, North, East, and West) and keep you at the verge of a forgotten continent. A massive continent of sound once united when structures were inexistent.
Pangea reminds you of those times before each of the component continents were separated into their current configuration. With astonishing sessions that go galaxies beyond free jazz improvisation, "Tradition" creates epic musical forms out of deeply explosive and gentle moments. If you allow it, these forms are capable to join disperse theories and hypothesis in the depths of your mind.»
- Sebastian Alvarez
«Under the media hype-fueled turmoil, in deeper underground zones lives a multitude of organisms, which discreetly threads its way seeking the opportunity to call our attention. Such is the case of the Croatian collective TrianguliZona. Ivan Kapec (electric guitar and electronics), Andrej Jakuš (trumpet, flugelhorn and electronics), Janko Novoselić (drums) and Vladimir Končar (video), have been working in the confluence of different languages in modern music, a complex reality which, pointing at several directions, blurs the borders between genres and styles. From electro-jazz with distant references to 70’s electric Miles Davis, to ambient-flavored experimentalism, to Steve Reich’s minimalism, going through dub and loop techniques, all framed with a live improvisation setting, there are recognizable signs in the music of TrianguliZona. This blend results in a homogenous sound, with an experimental flavor. Instant composition as a result of the sound-image interaction, in which sound and vision acquires a special place in live performances. The main impression is jazz-fusion, based on progressive electric guitar, trumpet with pedal and electronic effects, and this mighty groove, balanced with creativity and good taste. Melodic and hypnotic, delicate and subtle, the TrianguliZona sound is likely to become the soundtrack to that special road trip. It grabs us, sooner or later.» - Eduardo Chagas
«The dazzling state before the magnanimous perspective of space is something that affects most people. The infinite, the fascinating void… the senses numbed by the impossibility to explain everything that surrounds us… these are the first images that ‘Light Years’ - a new release by Lee Rosevere – awake in our mind. Lee has been releasing his works mostly through his own label Happy Puppy Records and a few others like my good friend Adam’s Proc-Records.
The beginning of this work starts with a drone that moves around within minimal frequencies, as if it was the soundtrack of a voyage through space and everything it represents – the emptiness and the fullness. Micro-tonalities gravitate and leave us in static before the sound waves that fill the universe. The cosmos, nebulae and aurora borealis saw through a sonic telescope made of abstract frequencies, that could prolong into eternity like a Buddha Machine. In ‘Onyx’, time advances at light speed only to land in a future inhabited by machines, cold magnetic sounds that collide with the dirty steel of robots. All the speeches are strange, indefinite, leaving behind only minimalisms which end up dominating us in an almost hypnotic manner. An invasion with license to travel (to dream)…»
- Pedro Nunes
February 15, 2008
• tube'|111 - Petr Drkula - Two Trips down Market Street
«Our Czech friend Petr Drkula is back with another healthy dose of minimalism for all you loop addicted fans out there. Inspired by the amazing photo taken two centuries ago by photographer Geo. R. Lawrence over San Francisco in ruins - after the earthquake, 'Two Trips down Market Street' illustrates what our imagination builds while listening to the frantic piano-keying and looping.
Imagine a silent film of old San Francisco, where people run around working their way out of the disaster, rebuilding the city and their own lifes in an unstoppable frenzy, expanding the city. Imagine the buildings rise up in fast-forward style, workers running back and forth like tireless ants hoarding off for the winter. Imagine a black-and-white, scratchy old movie showing all this. How would the soundtrack of this movie sound like? Well, 'Two Trips' is the perfect soundtrack to this silent film that your mind had just pictured.
Just press play and close your eyes.» - Pedro Leitão
The nice people at StillStream - an ambient net radio station (and a good one, I might add) - have picked test tube to their website's most recent feature. They wrote: «Test Tube doesn't focus on any one genre, but rather focuses on presenting new artists who are exploring new sounds. But the ambient genre features strongly amongst Test Tube's many releases, and we heartily encourage our listeners to check out this beautifully executed netlabel.»
Thanks for the nice words, guys. It means a lot! Happy Valentine's!
February 07, 2008
SAD LOVE STORIES
• tube'|110 - Shelter - Sleepyhead falls off the edge of the world
«'Sleepyhead falls off the edge of the world' is a hip-hop mini-epic for all the broken hearts out there. Love stories gone wrong... not your typical theme for an hip-hop release, I guess... but Shelter makes it work really really well. 'Sleepyhead...' is a small gem of an EP, in fact, it's a reissue of the original which came out on Shelter's old weblog more or less an year ago. I kind of bumped into it by accident and almost immediately 'Sleepyhead...' became a regular on my winamp playlist since then. Musically, think of BoC-style nostalgia keyboards and electronics and Marshall Mather's style vocals and flow, but Swedish pop way - Shelter is from Sweden, and you're there. Excellent production, very good lyrics and an awesome sense of narrative throughout. This is the most perfect 20 minutes of hip-hop I've listened in a long time.
This release is also a good excuse to show off our new standard design for the cover artwork. Hope you dig it!
Furthermore, keep your eyes peeled for a new EP to be released very soon on Shelter's own website.» - Pedro Leitão
February 04, 2008
Added some new labels to the 'links' section which was being shamelessly overlooked over the last months. No time to go one-on-one with each label but they're all good and they're all worth several good minutes of your time.
Some of them are (alphabetically): 8bitpeoples, Archaic Horizon, Cyan Recs, ElectroSound, Frozen Elephants, Insubordinations, Proc-Records, Resting Bell, Share My Wings and Upitup. Mmmm... guess I listed them all :)
«The metallic name given to this EP does not misguide the listener: what this release from Norwegian sound designer Bård Farbu offers us, is about 17 minutes of cool and concrete ambiance. These tracks should be listened with high volume in order to be captured by the intense metallic sounds on it. Rather than new-age dumbness, “Zink EP” manages to unrest the listener with the sound bursts that reminds musique concrète works from earlier electronic recordings of the last century. Additionally, these are like soundscapes that seem to be inspired by nature itself, in such a way that puts Bård Farbu in the same vein of fellow Norwegian Biosphere, although the sounds in this release are unrelated with the chill ambience of Biosphere. In fact, Bård Farbu gives his personal view of the relation between sounds and nature, without any techno beat underneath. Of course, the sound design and production here is superb, and any further description will not fully characterize this work. Each one should listen and unravel what these abstract sounds can mean.»
- César Laia
«Another extremely nice EP for those of you fond of Múm and other acoustic pop delicacies. Multi-Panel - real name for dutch artist Ludo Maas - delivers in just little over 15 minutes, 7 great tracks soaked in nostalgia, droney keyboards, soft beats and acoustic guitar pluckings. Reminds me a bit of other test tube releases from Aitänna77 and Bacanal Intruder.
'Radio' is the opener and my favorite track of this record. Starts slowly paced with a gently plucked guitar, metronome style wood beat and dreamy keyboards for a perfect match. The rest of the release follows the same steps of this one: short but to the point tracks, rich in melody and drama and easily remembered. After a minute short interlude, we come to the second part of this EP to find a more downtempo and less acoustic oriented set of tracks, some voiceovers and human samples, culminating at the title track, which is actually a full ambient composition.
Now all we need is a full lenght of material to enjoy Multi-Panel magic to the fullest.» - Pedro Leitão
«Hailing from Mendoza, Argentina, here is an EP release of warm ambient idm beats, from Cristian Gualpa, called “Flotante”. In five tracks, Gualpa explores an electronic language of aquatic beats, somehow related with the kind of stuff explored by artists like Arovane, and also a language with the laboratorial driving force that one can usually recognize on releases from labels like Raster-Noton. Indeed, while the last track “Capital Solar” develops a warm sense of melody, tracks like “Buenhogar” or “Al Aire” enter the mathematical domain, with a techno background underneath. Listening to these tracks is like admiring the architecture of a building, with one feet dancing at the same time. Dark ambience comes along with “Previo”, but even here the mechanical beat gives way to an ethereal melody. “Posada” sums up the ideas expressed before, and is both a relaxing or restless place to stay, depending of which things the listener pays attention to: the warm aquatic melody underneath or the drilled beat that gives structure to the track, which reminds of early Autechre releases. With about 20 minutes, “Flotante” is enjoyable brainy electronics, to be listened with headphones, and an excellent debut for Cristian Gualpa.»
- César Laia
January 09, 2008
For some unexplained mysterious reason (probably because of me...), the newsletter sent today - just some minutes ago - went as TEXT and not as HTML as always, filling up your e-mail account with ascii garbage and possibly being flagged as spam (for some lucky ones...). For this we present our humble apologies... please don't cancel your subscription! :>
We sent a new one in regular HTML, so don't erase that one... I mean, if you want to erase it go ahead, but, it's readable now. Carry on.
EDIT: Ok, now this is getting ridiculous... the second newsletter, which was supposed to be the right January newsletter, went as the December newsletter... damn... everything happens today. I'm tired and tired people shouldn't be doing this kind of stuff. Anyway, I sent a third newsletter (sorry for the mailbox spam!) and it should be REALLY right one this time. Sorry for all this. I promise to go to sleep and get a good night rest.
January 06, 2008
#01 - tube070 - Jan von Grafenstein - 13 [5375 downloads] #02 - tube102 - krypton - Silent Drama [1101 downloads] #03 - tube078 - Quest.Room.Project - Fiducial Banality [865 downloads] #04 - tube103 - Motown Junkie - Plagiarism Perversions [645 downloads] #05 - tube099 - Entia Non - Distal [619 downloads]
#06 - tube090 - meta:Human - The Dark Ages of Technology [585 downloads] #07 - tube104 - Cory Allen - Satori in Atlantis [568 downloads] #08 - tube105 - Eye - Plays [458 downloads] #09 - tube096 - Long Desert Cowboy - Western Spaghetti [422 downloads] #10 - tube095 - Long Desert Cowboy - Sandshoes [374 downloads]
Ok, last top of 2007, december. Surprise, surprise: an old release at #01 with an amazing number of downloads. Jan von Grafenstein's release became popular among chillout and downtempo fans but we weren't expecting this in december. Congrats for so many downloads, Jan!
Another nice surprise at #03 with another 'old' release from 2007, by russian musician Bogdan Dullsky a.k.a. Quest.Room.Project.
The remaining entries come as no surprises, they're all recent releases, except maybe for #06, meta:Human which is the third oldest one. Nice to see as well my good friend Daniel Catarino #09 and #10. Both are excellent 'ambient country'
We wish we could do a 2007 4XT, with all months combined, but unfortunately we lack the statistics from a couple of months and we can't compile a list without them. We hope to do it by the end of 2008, 'tho. Thanks for participating!
Speaking of lists and tops, test tube was among some netaudio fans' picks of 2007. Some local, like A Trompa, whose menthor Rui Dinis picked out 6 releases for his TOP150 (only local releases), and some global, like Phlow Magazine and Disquiet (a personal favorite around here) which picked Juan José Calarco's amazing 'Plano Vertical' and Benoît Richard's Netlabels Revue which picked Aitänna77's release as its 2007 #04 netaudio release. We're very happy to be among the best because we work hard to deliver you the best.
As always, thank you very much for supporting, downloading and enjoying test tube's music.
January 03, 2008
BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES
Another memorable year for test tube has passed. 44 new releases were added to the catalogue... I know, I know... maybe we've pushed too hard. 44 releases is way too much to keep up, but we had to do it because they were piling up inside the hard drive. Plus, they'll never run out of stock so everyone can keep coming back to download them, or, they can buy one of our DVD collections.
Anyway, this year will probably be way calmer when it comes to releases, because I will have less personal time to give to the label, plus, I was thinking of creating a new one... an idea that's not new but it's starting to grow arms and legs and will need it's own space soon. But more on that in due time.
Things have been changing lately in the music business and 2007 was a very important year for everyone involved. Peer to peer networks are even more consolidated as a 'service' and the newest generations don't ever think about downloading an 'illegal' track as being a 'crime'. This has come to a point in which the industry needs to re-organize itself and start giving away mp3 music for free. I believe that it's the only way to catch the attention of the new kind of consumers to their 'products'. Nowadays, music is much more than the sum of its parts: It's art, it's culture but it's also so much more. It's a product, it's a marketing medium, and it's becoming something new as well: a service. A service like electrical power or water to your house. We have to think different about it, and let it evolve like the newest generations of music lovers and consumers are evolving.
I watched the documentary 'Before the music dies' the other day, and it explains very well some of these concepts and the state of things in the industry today. I recommend everyone who loves music to watch this movie. Get it through emule, utorrent or whatever, but get it and watch it. You'll learn about aspects of the business that you usually overlook. A must see.
In other news: I'll come back later tomorrow or this weekend with some test tube charts for the year that ended recently, and I'll give you some highlights of what's to come in this first quarter.