test tube news ~ #001 ~ jan 2007
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Hello and welcome to our very first newsletter. This is a service that many people have been requesting since almost 2004, when test tube was born, but unfortunately there was always something to be made, I was short of time or whatever and kept postponing it for better days. Well, here it is now. I hope that from now on all our fans scattered throughout the planet could always be updated (once a month, for starters) on our releases and activities.
For the moment, this is how it will work: Every end of the month, we will compile the relevant news items (or maybe all of them) from our home page and present them to you in a digest form, oldest news last, in HTML format. If your e-mail program doesn't support HTML (very rare these days, but it happens), you can always copy and paste the link found at the start of this page in your favorite browser and load the newsletter. I know there are mailing lists which support both text and HTML but this one doesn't, and frankly, I wouldn't know how to do it properly since my knowledge of these things is very limited.
Keeping track of releases. test tube has a busy schedule - our average is between 3 and 4 releases monthly - so it's normal if you lose track of a couple releases every month (unless you visit our website daily). When reading this newsletter, all you have to do is click the cover of each release to be taken to its own page where all the relevant links are. Maybe we could implement RSS feeds later, I know it's a handy thing, but we'll see about that. Naturally, this newsletter is far from perfect and the idea is to keep always improving it.
Anyway, thanks for joining and don't lose yourself again!
January 30, 2007
• tube'|064 - Feltro - Sunburnt (click the cover to go to download page)
«Feltro is yet another moniker for young portuguese artist André Gonçalves, known under his real name for a multitude of works in various media (painting, video, performance, music, installation) and also known under the Ok.suitcase alias for a number of releases on Crónica Electrónica, Sirr.Records and other labels, since early 2001.
Feltro is another step forward in computer music composition by this talented artist, with this 'Sunburnt' release which comes in two different dosages: 'The Longing', a 20 minute long piece and its 'Radio edit', trimmed down to little over 4 minutes. 'The Longing' is an emotional computer song, possibly about missing someone. It starts with a synth hum and grows from there, leaving André filling it up with granularity and randomized sound processing effects, singing all the way into a sad oblivion. Reminds me of some works by Akira Rabelais and also of Oren Ambarchi pieces. The radio edit version is like a 'portable' version of the main piece, suitable for radio play (of course) but best used as an unexpected twist in someone's ipod playlist.»
- Pedro Leitão
January 22, 2007
As you might already noticed, test tube's artwork has suffered some changes. There are some explanations to be made:
- Extended Players (EPs) will retain our 'trademark' white stripes (no pun intended), but with some minor cosmetic changes to the release number and titles, front and back. We consider an EP every other release running until the 34'59'' mark and having less than 8 tracks;
- Long Players (LPs) will have a 'cleaner' artwork look starting from tube063. We call an LP everything than plays longer than 35'00'' and has 8 tracks or more. This is to state a well deserved difference between longer and shorter works.
I'm also sorting out some other ideas for future releases, but all will be made in its due time. Possibly we will have a couple of invited artists doing covers for us... we'll see about that.
For all of you who might be asking yourselves about the promised newsletter: It's being prepared to go off after the next release is online. I'm not too confortable with spamming your mailboxes whenever a new release comes out. Let's do it once a month instead.
January 19, 2007
2007 A PSYCHEDELIC ODYSSEY
• tube'|063 - DOPO - For the Entrance of the Sun (click the cover to go to download page)
«Quando os Rolling Stones compuseram “Sympathy for the Devil” e Mick Jagger, o vocalista do grupo, gravou sequências de sintetizador Moog para a banda sonora de um filme de inspiração satânica, o mítico “Invocation of My Demon Brother” de Kenneth Anger, e quando Alice Cooper levou uma jibóia para o palco de modo a melhor encenar a sugestão de que uma bruxa havia possuído a sua alma e os Black Sabbath conotaram o som da distorção guitarrística com as missas negras, o que realizaram – em consciência ou não – foi uma deturpação da índole do rock como música pagã. Terão entendido que havia nela algo de celebratório, mas interpretaram essa ancestral vertente potlatch de modo errado. Em vez de exaltarem o carácter de concertação com os elementos e de concórdia social que o ritualismo tinha no passado remoto das primeiras comunidades humanas, deixaram-se fascinar pelo medo do que está do “outro lado” – entre Timothy Leary e Charles Manson, escolheram Manson. Pode até ser que as propostas dos Stones e dos Sabbath nos tenham soado melhor do que as de uns Amon Düül, colectivo hippie alemão cujas habilitações propriamente musicais estavam circunscritas apenas a alguns dos seus elementos, mas o certo é que os inábeis tocadores de bongos que o integravam estavam mais próximos da natureza espiritual do rock, aquela a que foi sendo dado o nome de “psicadelismo”. Ao contrário do que nos vêm dizer uns Sunn 0))), o rock não adora o diabo, mas o deus Pan.
Os portugueses DOPO seguem essa tradição quase perdida do rock (digo “quase” não porque o modelo death/doom metal se tenha tornado hegemónico, mas porque o “mainstream” deste domínio musical escolheu outras místicas: o dinheiro, a fama e a moda). São ritualísticos, psicadélicos e deliciosamente não-virtuosísticos, “tocam” a vida sem a mínima pretensão de dela fazerem Arte, improvisam. Nos antigos rituais, música e dança não eram ainda a música e a dança que conhecemos, disciplinas artísticas, mas expressões cerimoniais da vida, destinadas a estabelecer vínculos entre os indivíduos (ou a resolver os seus conflitos) e a comunicar com o além. O que ouvimos no novo “For the Entrance of the Sun”, e mais acentuadamente ainda do que no anterior “Last Blues, To Be Read Someday”, tem essa dimensão simultaneamente “folk” e “sacra”, é música do povo e do espírito, ainda que se trate de folclore imaginário (pudera, num tempo em que os alicerces de betão substituem as raízes das árvores!) e de um sacralismo alternativo ao das religiões instituídas, obviamente não reconhecido por estas e não enquadrável com exactidão em tal termo tão delimitativo, se o lermos segundo a grelha judaico-cristã do entendimento. Encontramos elementos das músicas orientais? Decerto, e isso porque as ditas estão ainda hoje mais próximas da terra. Há algo de antigo (medieval, porventura) no trabalho das guitarras? Haverá, e porque este rock procura a intemporalidade e não um qualquer situacionismo geracional. O órgão Antonelli fabrica uma base sonora “drônica”, em tudo semelhante às produzidas pelos harmónios indianos, mas a percussão é fortemente sincopada e mesmo tribal, inclusive nos momentos em que o navio África atraca no Tibete.
Assim como a nova improvisação “near silence” ganhou mais um centro nevrálgico em Portugal com músicos ou não-músicos como Ernesto Rodrigues, Carlos Santos, José Oliveira e Pedro Chambel, o rock neo-psicadélico, rock em reconciliação consigo mesmo (o que é verdade até nas situações em que a condição rock parece desaparecer), tem mais um nome a acrescentar a um painel onde já constam Loosers, Caveira e Frango, e esse nome é DOPO. É bom fixá-lo de uma vez por todas...» - Rui Eduardo Paes
«There's a moment about a minute and a half before the close of DOPO's track "For the Entrance of the Sun (Pt. I)" when a bit of feedback peaks out, glistening and razor sharp. That snap breaks open the group's droney, folksy, communal music to reveal its darker operating principle.
Electric instruments are nothing new to folk music, no more so than is the psychedelic imagery DOPO embraces. But the five-person DOPO takes its electrical charge seriously, dancing with that power. The snap in question hints at the way that gentle sounds can be found, in time, to have hidden deeper impulses.
Here are eight tracks of magical, trance-inducing music, less composition than rituals, and each one of them keeps a meditative state at bay by summoning the power of that electrical charge.
Sometimes it is literal, as on "Horses Running Towards the South," with its serrated halo of woozily strummed guitar, and "All the Mountains Are Dancing," which has more than its share of chord shards. Those sparks bring a certain friction to the cycling percussion, slacker rhythms and junk-pile arrangements that are DOPO's stock in trade.
The most trenchant pieces on Entrance, though, like "17 Ways to Kill a Man" and "Time Floats by the Window," manage to separate that electrical power from its source. They jettison the objective specificity of an individual instrument and emphasize the tonal purity of amplification. In this environment, a bit of feedback isn’t a mistake; it’s a quick flash of insight.» - Marc Weidenbaum
January 18, 2007
So far, it has been a calm start for 2007... we are preparing our first release of this new year, the debut long player from DOPO - freak-folk-neo-hippie band of sorts - and dear people, the album is enormous! Check back tomorrow when it goes live.
Also, a newsletter will be sent to all our registered subscribers - a number that has been growing rapidly - promoting the new release.
On another note, seems like the Netlabel Marathon broadcasted last saturday by Tõréspont Rádió (Hungary) went along pretty good. Average 40+ listeners per hour with a total different listeners of 350. Congrats!
Project Swirl was so happy with it that he released an official mix of the show. Grab it here!
That's it for now.
January 11, 2007
A NEWSLETTER AFTER THREE YEARS
Yup. We know, we know. A newsletter should be one of those basic tools every label should have since day one... well... after almost three years, we finally built our own mailing list thingy (actually it kinda came included with our hosting service...).
Anyway, here it is. Feel free to submit one of your e-mail addresses using the form at the right INFO box. We promise not to spam you a lot, maybe just one or two times a month...
January 09, 2007
TEST TUBE AT A NETLABEL MARATHON
This saturday at Tõréspont Rádió (Hungary), Daniel P. aka Project Swirl will be presenting a Netlabel Marathon radio show.
Test Tube is one of the invited labels.
Check out the marathon's website for more info.
January 01, 2007
Another year for us here at test tube. And what a busy year it was, almost 30 releases were put out! That's around 2,4 releases per month :)
Not that we're trying to break any world record, no. It's just that so many great stuff from really talented artists comes to our hands that it would be a shame to let it rust in some hard drive. We can't do that.
Our new year's resolution is to try our best and balance between the best releases and a reasonable schedule for letting them out. Also, we really have to put together some kind of newsletter. Many of our fans are getting lost between the avalanche of releases. Adittionaly, this year we will introduce a slight different design for our artwork, something in the lines of the Xmas Mix release.
But more on that later on... A great 2007 to all!