test tube news ~ #010 ~ sep 2007
SETTING THE RIGHT MOOD FOR THE FALL
Hello good people,
August was the perfect month for field-recording-drone hardcore fans out there. 100% american sounds. We had four amazing releases from Christopher McFall and Billy Gomberg, both from the USA, Juan José Calarco from Argentina and Thelmo Cristovam from Brazil. Thelmo offered us a raw trip to the midst of the Amazon jungle with pure field recording extravagant sounds. Juan José amazed us with his out-of-this world organic textures made from field recordings and electro-acoustics experiments. Billy gave us an excellent electro-acoustic drone treatment and Christopher made us travel with his urban field recordings turned into ambient drones. Don't miss any of these releases!
August was also the month for a new test tube feature: the 4XT (absurd nickname for Test Tube Top Ten, what else). The July 4XT was nothing short of interesting, and we were counting on showing you August's top too, but unfortunately the server played us for fools and reset all statistics back to zero... Anyway, next month we hope to show you a brand new and fresh 4XT for the month of September.
In other news, our dear friend and talented musician David Velez from Colombia - now based in the amazing New York City - will perform live a couple of times this month. If you're from The Big Apple (or just visiting) why don't you show up there and give David a hug from us? :)
Well, that's about it for now... sorry for being a bit late with this newsletter, it should've been out before September's first release, and it didn't... lazy me... well... by the way, check out Clorofila Azul's new compilation of instrumental golden oldies. It's quite good. Meanwhile, we're preparing some great releases to mood you out of the after-summer depression:
Industrial post-electronica german act meta:human with some goth-dark-wave feel, remembering some Bauhaus moments there (yeah, reallly); Experimentalist Hugo Paquete from Oporto with some really good analog electronics and to finish this month up, north-america's The Jack Bohlen Book Club will bring us a 40 minute long dense drone piece.
Next month, we will have a new world record here at test tube: 6 releases - 1 full album and 5 EPs! All free, as always!
You know were to find the best DRM-free free, off-center experimental music, right?
See you next month!
August 31, 2007
• tube'|088 - Thelmo Cristovam - Field Recordings #02
«Are you ready to be embraced by the Tropical Rainforest? Thanks to the recordings of Brazilian physician mathematic and composer Thelmo Cristovam, we can sonically witness one of the most sensational environments of our planet in the surroundings of Lake Mamori (Manaus, Brazil).
Paying attention to the beauty of the micro and macro sounds of this jungle can be impossible when you are being surrounded by moistly warm air and the "Anopheles Gambiae", a mosquito that is the principal vector of malaria (afflicting more than 500 million people and causes more than 1 million deaths each year).
These field recordings are an aural privilege that not all humans deserve. If you are a nature lover, the layers of heat will be replaced by soothing layers of refreshing eco-sound, and the mosquito bites will become pleasing static sensations. Enjoy a full day of pure connection with a pure environment.»
- Sebastian Alvarez
August 28, 2007
LEZROD IN NYC
David Velez doesn't stop for a minute. Apart from building a promising career as a graphic artist in the difficult world of New York advertising, apart from being one of the most prolific musicians in netlabel world, with almost 10 releases in less than 3 years, David is also slowly getting together his own live performances agenda.
Next month, September 12th at 09:30pm, David will be performing live with Ben Owen and Giles Aubry, at a place called 'The Tank'. Are you from NYC? More info here.
Here is the short introduction regarding David:
«David Velez (aka Lezrod) is a sound artist / composer from Bogotá, Colombia, currently living in NYC. David has been publishing with netlabels from France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Argentina and Mexico since 2005.
His release Retorno a la nada was nominated in the research category on the 2006 Qwartz awards, and the piece Nada was an official selection of the festival.»
August 23, 2007
• tube'|087 - Juan José Calarco - Plano Vertical
«We continue our travel through the wonders of electro-acoustics with another american, but this time it's a south-american. Please welcome Juan José from the capital of the Tango, Buenos Aires.
'Plano Vertical', consisting of only two long pieces - 'Extensión Activa' and 'Plano Vertical 2' - is a fifty minute journey along a misterious dark corridor, with highly textured sound halls along the way, which appear and disappear under various element-like palettes, like earth, water, fire, wind and others. There are also some sections where we can hear some kind of machinery working around us, feeling like some kind of an obscure sci-fi soundtrack. We can also hear layers of electricity, human steps and voices, boxes and stones falling around, thermal generators, steam engines and a plethora of real-world (maybe out-of-this-world too) noises.
'Plano Vertical' is an amazing electro-acoustics album, worked to prefection and offering us a intense ride all the way to the end. Sounds even better with good circumaural headphones. Not to be missed.»
- Pedro Leitão
(*) Thanks to Erik Skodvin for making up a word for this genre.
August 14, 2007
ACT OF GOD, ACT OF MAN
• tube'|086 - Billy Gomberg - Climate
«Two years ago, on August 29/30, hurricane Katrina hit hard on the greater New Orleans area, causing death and destruction as she passed and dissipated a few days after. Considered by weather analysts as the 3rd greatest hurricane in American history, Katrina was also considered by many as the probable result of men's relentless and irrational harm on our planet. Not that hurricanes never happened before, but they are growing stronger and more destructive in recent years, as temperatures rise and ice melts in the northern hemisphere. This is not new.
A sad story like this one could be told by 'Climate', an electroacoustic work authored by New York resident and sound designer Billy Gomberg. On 'Climate', Billy manipulates feedback sinewaves and folds them around sparse notes generated by his electronic apparatus. Sometimes they are dark, obscure and sad non-musical pieces, and sometimes they sound ethereal, musical, almost lyrical pieces on the verge of emotional collapse, like the 'lower ninth ward' was, as portrayed on the cover artwork, after the passing of Katrina. 'Climate' is all this and more for you to delve in and discover. Billy has released before on Standard Klik Music, 12/term. and other places. He will return shortly after this release with a collaborative work entitled 'Country at the River of Friendship’ with Anne Guthrie. Keep your ears peeled.» - Pedro Leitão
August 06, 2007
• tube'|085 - Christopher McFall - Self-preservation intact with teeth
«Since making his debut appearance on netlabel Con-v in late 2005, Christopher McFall has been steadfastly expanding his discography. Following additional virtual releases on Filament Recordings, Laboratoire Moderne, Alg-a, and Clinical Archives, he now brings a single extended soundscape of meticulously sculptured sounds and evolving textures abstrusely titled "Self-Preservation Intact With Teeth" to netlabel Test Tube.
A précis of Christopher's distinctive compositional style reads something like this: Using analogue field recordings collected from his home base in metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri USA, Christopher deliberately extracts segments of the source material and artfully processes them into digital metaphors of urban sounds, reassembling them into multilayered, richly detailed compositions of abstract sound art. Expanding on this in his own words (as quoted from his Myspace site), the impetus behind Christopher's compositions "revolve around the desire to manipulate/engineer recorded aspects of the macroscopic world around him into a microscopic mosaic."
I'll label "Self-Preservation Intact With Teeth" (as well as Christopher's other works) as ambient but with qualification: This is not pastoral ambient of the easy listening, organic, or spacious genres. This is abstract ambient born of mundane, urban environmental sounds - complex, gritty, and close-up - although, if you listen carefully, there are segments in which Christopher does cleverly manage to coax some amazingly melodious sounds from such unmusical source material.
If you're not familiar with Christopher's work, then "Self-Preservation Intact With Teeth" is the perfect composition with which to become acquainted (and, for those of you that are - well, you have an idea of the excellent listening that lies just ahead of you).»
- Larry Johnson
August 02, 2007
TEST TUBE TOP TEN
Starting now, we will have our own Test Tube Top Ten (4XT) chart. A download chart for every month, here in the home page, somewhere on the right pane. Only complete Zip releases will be accounted for the 4XT. We think this should be interesting to follow.
The 4XT for the month of July was:
#01 - tube078 - Quest.Room.Project - Fiducial Banality [3221 downloads]
#02 - tube077 - Nodepet - Concrete Muser [2715 downloads]
#03 - tube073 - Vägskäl - This could've been... [2425 downloads]
#04 - tube082 - e:4c - Technical Unwanted Signals Vol. 1 [1821 downloads]
#05 - tube074 - Mother - Live at Barnsdall Park [1479 downloads]
#06 - tube049 - Diatribes - Parenthèse Polonaise [1435 downloads]
#06 - tube072 - Michael Trommer - Sleeping Satellites [1435 downloads]
#08 - tube080 - Post Human Era - Where I'm Going... [1302 downloads]
#09 - tube070 - Jan von Grafenstein - 13 [1266 downloads]
#10 - tube081 - Aitänna77 - Health Needs [1246 downloads]
It's a bit curious to see a release from september 2006 at 6th place (ex-aequo with tube072), being it an atypical genre for test tube: free-jazz-noise from the Diatribes combo. Curiosity #2: position #08, synth-pop Post Human Era, another atypical release. But unsurprisingly, 66% of the most downloaded releases are from the April/May/June period.
All the 4XT releases sum up to the whopping total of 18345 downloads! And the download difference between #01 and #10 is more than the double!
We'll see in what way the forthcoming months will affect the 4XT...