test tube news ~ #009 ~ aug 2007
IT'S THE SILLY SEASON, YAY!
We are right in the middle of the silly season, but are we strolling through the hot sand and warm water beaches? No, we're not (*sigh*), but we keep putting out the best netaudio around, for you to download into your favorite mp3 player and head and enjoy the sunny days. Life's good, yeah.
July was a hell of a month (literally, with temperatures rising to 38ºC in the last week) in test tube releases, starting with the return of Aitänna77, who was absent from our catalogue since Spring of 2005. He gave us 'Health Needs', an amazing album about hospitals, suffering, life and death. Then we had another great return from e:4c with a sci-fi tinted album 'Technical Unwanted Signals Vol. 1'. Then we had yet another return (two in one, actually), with Dave Zeal and Daniel Maze cooking up an awesome pop-ambient EP called 'Small Airports'. And last but not least we had - just a week ago - Sebastian Alvarez from Peru, bringing us his outfit Spirit Elevating Brains with some freaky-groovy latin-influenced IDM shit, yo! Really great stuff there!
Now, in August we're chilling out a bit, with two field recording works, one mastercrafted by young genius Christopher McFall and another one, raw, recorded in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest by experimentalist Thelmo Cristovam. Plus, an excellent improv. EP by Billy Gomberg and something more yet to come. Keep your ears... er... peeled.
Knock yourselves out!
July 25, 2007
POST MILLENNIUM ERA
• tube'|084 - Spirit Elevating Brains - Raw adventures of the strident, harsh and sweet returnee
«Don't be scared by the cover artwork. Peruvian born Sebastian Alvarez is not some freaking devil worshipper of sorts. No, he just happen to like strong colorful visuals because he is also a visual artist. Sebastian, also known as SEB or Spirit Elevating Brains, has an interesting background, which led him into creating some very own and peculiar musical work. He is from Peru, lived in Brazil for a couple of years, and then went to USA, New York first, and then Chicago, where he is currently based, working for his degree in Performance Arts.
Sebastian has a previous album (a double-album, actually) released by austrian Chmafu Nocords. His page there has some interesting written stuff, from where I took the following paragraph: "Spirit elevating brains makes music that hijacks into memory, digital nostalgia, pins and needles for the cerebrum. Microscopic sounds come together like intricate metal sculptures, surgeons’ tools, watchmakers’ gadgets, all joining together in unlikely organic assemblages that leap and flap around the room." This is in fact the best description I've read about Sebastian's music. This new album with the title 'Raw adventures of the strident, harsh and sweet returnee' (obviously auto-biographical), dwelves deeper into those intricate structures which are now his trademark sound. But more: Sebastian, because of the places where he has been, was able to capture very rich rhythmic influences and incorporate them into modern structures of electronic music, like IDM and cut-and-paste electronica.
This is an amazing work, full of secrets and scents of distant places, taken from the mind of this young but already very talented artist.»
- Pedro Leitão
July 15, 2007
• tube'|083 - Dave Zeal + Daniel Maze - Small Airports EP
«What happens when two musician friends from Canada get together to work on a release? Good things happen, that's what. And when both of them are talented artists, the results are potentially even better. Fortunately for Dave Zeal and Daniel Maze (and for test tube, for that matter), the result of this collaborative release is the perfect example of a great combination of musical talent. Dave and Daniel are not new to test tube as they both have released with us before.
'Small Airports EP' is a marvellous journey into pop-ambient by these two canadians, which opens with the soothing drone-like structure of 'Boundary Bay'. But it's on 'Sonari' that we first notice the trademark sounds of the duo: really great keyboards and synths with dreamy hazy ambient. '100 Dollar Lunch' surprises us with a slight, brushed beat, surrounded by more uplifting drones plus what appears to be some field recordings. Great track!
Closing time comes with 'We Shielded Our Eyes', another drone piece much in the line of the opening one, with some added strings which fit greatly into the mix. Awesome work, guys. I hope to see more stuff coming from you two in the future.»
- Pedro Leitão
July 13, 2007
Reviews for netreleases are hard to find these days, but our friend Benoît Richard from Netlabels Revue kindly wrote some lines about the latest Aitänna77 album, 'Health Needs'. Here's the thing:
«La sortie numéro 81 d’un des plus prolifiques netlabels qui soient (Test Tube) est signée Aitänna77, soit Mikel Martínez, un musicien espagnol à qui l’on doit un premier ep de haute tenue 'Spring is Coming Soon' sorti en 2005 et qui nous faisait découvrir tout le talent de cet espagnol, créateur d’une musique aussi simple que poétique, un peu dans la lignée des islandais de Mùm.
Deux ans après, il refait surface toujours sur Test Tube avec cette fois un album long format dans lequel on retrouve tout ce qui faisait le charme de son ep. Finesse du son, micro-mélodies douces et naïves, arpèges de guitares délicats, beats légers, notes de vibraphone, de mélodica… composent 13 titres plus beaux les uns que les autres.
Assurément une des meilleures sortie Test Tube pour 2007, et peut-être aussi tout simplement un des plus beaux albums parus sur l’ensemble des netlabels.»
Thanks a lot Benoît!
Also, this weekend we'll have yet another release, this time it's the excellent EP 'Small Airports' by canadian duo Dave Zeal and Daniel Maze.
July 10, 2007
• tube'|082 - e:4c - Technical Unwanted Signals Vol. 1
«Compared to their first appearance on Test Tube, 'Documents', e:4c from Portugal have gone through considerable stylistic changes in their follow-up release "Technical Unwanted Signals Vol. 1": Not only is this release twice as long, but (contrary to what one might expect) their work is now characterised by brevity and focus on essential signals. The music as such remains experimental, but bleeps and blirps are now integrated in a minimalistic post processing style with vast dynamic changes, ambiguous harmonics and vaguely defined percussive structures. Fleeting impressions of unconsciousness characterise e:4c's research of the world from within.
Despite the impressing number of 22 tracks there's no doubt that what seems to be separated tracks are in fact facettes of an entire unit like scenes of a scifi movie (in this case). And so the mothership continues its journey into the unknown, bewildering, sometimes frightening, but also fascinating microworlds, that quickly rearrange themselves like patterns of a caleidoscope, just by the time the listener can get hold of them.»
- Olliver Wichmann
July 02, 2007
• tube'|081 - Aitänna77 - Health Needs
«More than two long years ago, back in february of 2005, Mikel Martínez - an unsuspicious and anonymous spanish musician - sent to test tube his demo, which a month later became the fantastic EP 'Spring is Coming Soon' signed as Aitänna77. A delicate construction of electronic folk micro-epics which no one thought possible coming from the lands of Iberia, was thus presented to the Netlabel community.
After some well succeeded releases, including a couple of self-made ones, we kindly welcome Aitänna77 to his birthplace home, with the amazing concept album 'Health Needs'. Imagine yourself being transported to an hospital after suffering an accident, and shortly after, being processed through the various medical departments struggling for your life, remembering what you're in risk of losing, while at the same time accepting your destiny and embracing your death as passageway to another existence. All this and more in this emotional captivating, sad and joyful, bright and dark journey through the last thirty-nine minutes of everyone's life... someday.
I can only thank Mikel for sharing with us his unquestionable storytelling talent.»
- Pedro Leitão