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2005 releases

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Reso
Small Music

«(...) Apart from the long opening piece, you'll find a small (yes, this one is actually small...) one minute piece, 'Cut Up and Cut Up', an insidious experiment into cut and paste electronica, followed by the second longest piece, and a personal favorite, 'Haze', which is, well... a 'Hazing' drone which lasts exactly 7 long minutes. You'll probably want to crank your volume knob up high on this one, because that's the best way to feel this monstrous drone. It surrounds you completely and draws continuous circles of hazing sound patterns, that go up and down several times before ending up abruptly. Next up, 'Extroversion', is titled as the opposite of the first piece, but it's not. It's rather a follow up. More ambient and glitch patterns, found sounds and tape loops, all processed by a mighty Powerbook. 'Green Lamp' ends up 2005 for test tube, in a beautiful glitchy and harmonious piece that's pretty much Reso's typical soundwork.» - Pedro Leitão


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Gordon Tebo
Adaptive Immune

«And from Chicago - USA comes Gordon Tebo, a man with a very special music. Test Tube proudly presents 'Adaptive Immune', a kind of an ode to the human being, and his self-healing immune system. Gordon's music goes straight to the cells that we're made of. But don't get fooled by this apparently cold approach to his music. 'Adaptive Immune' is warm, warm like a blanket made of tiny little sound particles that tuck you in your bed at night. Just check 'Homeopath Inversion' and you'll understand what we're talking about. Slow drones of static get to you right from the beginning, keeping you comfortable all the way, inducing you into a dream state like no other. This EP feels like it was made with pretty much care and attention, and with love too. It's delicate, it's pretty, it's almost perfect. Almost perfect like a human being. Almost perfect like our immune system, taking good care of us. And guess what: It works.» - Pedro Leitão


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DOPO
Last Blues, To Be Read Someday

«It was kind of inevitable. We would take as our own the most recent ways of doing a certain kind of rock. New and our own, mind you. But that’s irrelevant now. They’re here and we took’em. The primacy of the instrumental over the word, the experimentation without knowledge, the dematerialized song and the mashup of different musical genres. DOPO, a collective of five musicians, are clearly implied in this theft. They are sound thieves, which is equivalent to say that they are also sound creators. The four pieces recorded in this EP explain rather well that condition. They happened, pushed against the ground or against the air. (...)
This record is the joyful result of that game. We find it in the song that rambles suspended in “I can see the church clock from the window of your bedroom” before interrupting its lonely march; in “Seaweed” where the solitude dissolves into whistled melodies in space; in “Lifting the valleys of the sea” where the sounds are reminiscent of whatever images we choose. But, especially, in “Distance again expands” where DOPO drags us in a passionate way, to the most deep moment and space of that same re-encounter. And we go with it voluntarily and happily.» - José Marmeleira


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Thanos Chrysakis
Errant Waves

«Closer, and farther... there is a constant spatial fluctuation on Thanos Chrysakis' Errant Waves: a 7-track release built by abstract crystalline/metallic sounding events, happening on different places around you, some of them near, some of them far, and is this distance shifting and amazing space usage, what makes this album particularly fascinating and intriguing.
Thanos Chrysakis is a London living musician of Greek origin, who also writes poetry and does experimental moving image making. His work is well known and has released several pieces through different labels. Now test tube has the honor and delight to release ‘Errant Waves’, one of the most fascinating and best structured pieces that this writer has heard in a big while. (...)
This is a very special album, one to be listened as a whole with no pauses, and that is easy since the structures and progressions are so dynamic and emotionally grabbing.» - David Velez


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Lezrod
Seleccion Natural

«(...) We proudly present Lezrod's 'Seleccion Natural', a four piece EP by Colombian man David Vélez, artist and friend, who crafts fantastic electronic constructions, pretty much in the way architects craft houses and buildings.
David loves classic Jazz and Funk, IDM electronics, Contemporary Music and Film music. And it shows.
'Dubid' and its laidback jazz drums, cinematic ambient streams and software glitches is a bliss to our senses. We just let go, gently, watching the movie, tasting the stuff, until 'Apoc' comes forward. 'Apoc' pays a little homage to an IDM artist, who introduced David to synths and to the sounds widely known as electronic music. Its first seconds contain a vocal sample from him. From there it goes to the heart of the machine. This one is technologically cold, with static noises bursting everywhere. Impressively strong and strict and experimental. 'Re' keeps trailing the 'Apoc' path. More experimental noise and IDM crossover, glitches abound, impromptus with religious weight. Awesome, this one, strong personality and heavy as ever. Finally, 'Adios' sends us home. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Elian
We are all visitors here

«(...) This work is inspired by mortality, in the literal sense of the word. Mortality and efemerity, because we are all visitors here on this planet, on this universe. We are just passing by, leaving a trail of destruction most of the time, but also of beautiful things that will last longer than us.
When we were talking about the artwork - which is by Seth White, an amateur photographer - Michael and I discussed many things about the greatness of this planet, its mountains and rivers, its gigantic mass and strenght, its destructive and creative power in everything, and how we are microscopically small, we humans and all living things that populate it. Seth's antarctica photo illustrates perfectly Michael's idea for this album. It encapsulates all that greatness, all that power. And on the other hand, our smallness, our efemerous life here. We're all just visitors for a limited amount of time.
This album also encapsulates those cosmic concepts in its long and drony pieces. Some with suggestive titles such as 'Being on the phone during a thunderstorm' and 'Origin or Profile'. But the title theme is the real keeper, in its more than 20 minutes of growing drone delicacy. Absolutely gorgeous.» - Pedro Leitão


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NNY
ECT

«Swiss born Jerome Faria - now residing in his parents birthplace, Madeira Island - delivers a long player of 70 minutes, signed as NNY. 'ECT' is a complex experiment in sound dissection, as Jerome pursues pure forms of sound composition, some being harsh and brute while others are harmonious and contemplating.
'Ngen', for instance, is a ten minute edgy and slightly violent piece, with machinal loops and glitchy granular elements; 'Spctiv' is a completely different approach, where Jerome uses looping piano strings with a rotating noise on top; 'Artria', on the other hand, is an old school IDM ambient, BoC style short piece. Last track is a remix of '1noise' by ps, a fellow Netlabel artist from Enough Records (thanks ps!). Every track features its new sounds and approaches, and Jerome has used all his talent to surprise us.
Although 'ECT' can be sharp sometimes, it depends where you'll be looking for the sounds that trigger emotions. It has short and long pieces, all with their own palette of styles, ranging from click'n'cuts to dark ambient aesthetics.
An ambitious step for Jerome, 'though easily resolved. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Rui Gato
Transit

«‘Transit’ is a transdisciplinary journey through the Muzak concept. Rui Gato masterfully approaches the sensorial trips that we are subject to. An enriching experience of the informative everyday present. There is no shortage of elevator trips, pastoral enchantments, mixtures of instruments from all continents, supersonic airplanes - with stops in Rome, Saint Tomé, Madrid, London and Budapest -, portuguese guitars, the charm of the ‘fadista’ bum, and Portugal characterized with detail and accompanied by the Ribatejo vineyards, where grape variety ‘Tinta Meúda’ is produced.
Brian Eno had thought of airports, Rui Gato was more genuine, patriot and, well, more refined and subtle, and chose a wine from his birthplace.
An unparalleled journey.» - Bruno Barros


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We shall say only the leaves
Exploding Whales

«Once a 'conventional' post-rock band, We shall say only the leaves are now more interested in electronic textures. They still have a live drummer and bits of live guitar, bass and tape-loops and Chicago post-rock influences, but they are much more than that now. 'Exploding Whales', their first release (after an mp3 demo on their website), is a collection of songs recorded this year, their second year of existence. You can hear Tortoise in the rich drum textures and some of the melodies, but there is so much more than that. 'Creation' starts with laid-back free drumming that turns into a beat, complete with dubby bass and what sounds like a one-note guitar sample, while 'Tight Circumference' starts with bits of static noise and guitar and soon turns into an almost-tribal beats extravaganza. The most post-rockish of all five tracks, 'Pomme de Terre' features a lazy, gentle guitar and an almost metallic (in the true sense of the word) beat. And then the record ends with what sounds like a tape disintegrating. This is their first real adventure yet, and although it shows a lot a promise for the future, you can enjoy it right now anyway.» - Rodrigo Nogueira


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AO
Endlessly, Sweetly and Slightly

«Guess what: another Japanese artist on test tube. AO - real name Aogu Yoshida - has previously released on MiMi, another portuguese based netlabel, and has to offer two long, brilliant and immersive space drones for our delight. Although fairly similar aestheticaly, these two pieces have distinct approaches on sound design.
'Blue' starts with a slight fade in, only to burst itself into a long cascade of acute drones, building on each other, saturating themselves in a religious and intense light side high.
'Thyme' seems identically at first, but its more like the follow up to the previous track. Its structure is the same, but to the trained listener, it feels like a second act, shorter, narrower and endlessly more violent.
Both pieces share the same threshold that exists between a beautiful and uplifting melody, and a darker, heavier trance-like drone. Guitar based computer music. Just close your eyes and let go of yourself.» - Pedro Leitão


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Darren McClure
Unmoored

«Darren McClure comes from Japan and brings seven pieces of introspective and spatial ambient, of the dark kind. Opener 'Tap' breeds an intense drone since its childhood into a full blown adult, all in under four minutes. An excellent start. From here, Darren starts fiddling with a very wide pallete of sounds and frequencies: breaking glitches and examining computer entrails on 'Container'; Bleeps, digitized encounters, walls of low-frequency vibrations and melancholy on 'Pines and fall foliage'. Fall, indeed. 'Thaw' will either put you to sleep after 2 minutes, or put you together with your favorite drug for a 5 minute trip. This is the one you'll want inside your iPod, next to the Brian Eno ones, I hope. Next, we come to the title track. 'Unmoored' is the real dark one here. Heavy bass drones wrap around our heads, taking you to a landscape of electrical circuits. It's night, and the leds going on and off are the stars in the sky. The gravel under your feet feels like cinder, as you walk into an 'Afternoon walk'. Again, heavy drones whisper in the distance, like a storm announcing itself at your path. You'll arrive by 'Removing the last pieces'. Closing time for Darren's amalgam of bleeps and ubiquous drone sequences. Bleeps start unfolding, shutting down systems, winding down, going into sleep mode. Fade out. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Jo Jena
Rhythm 'n' Drones

«Contrasts, micro-tonalities, complements, embryo structures, drones. All this, in the casual and systematic exploration of the moment, elevates ‘Rhythm & Drones’ to intemporality, thus inhabiting the present and the history, so we could freely trail this ‘trans-temporality’ without preconceptions.
‘Rhythm I’ is the initiation of a savage ritual, rough, hot and bewitched by a drone submitted to the rhythm of the tabla. A cerebral hypnotism that leads the listener to the most obscure swamp, as if Frankfurt was the starting line to an urban safari.
‘Drone I’ is the hermaphrodite being par excellence, the melting pot of Hermes for the percussion and Aphrodite to the machine like glitch.
Divided in seven pieces, the avant-garde sound of Jo Jena, Frankfurt born musician, is a dive into the duality and the relentless search for breathing freedom.
The claustrophobic ‘Novaya Zemlya’, site for the investigation of weather radiations, is a white-gown convention, and the perceptional guitar ‘droning biorhythm’, the conclusion of the study observations. To conclude, not end.»
- Bruno Barros


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Vägskäl
As Summer Comes Creeping

«Erik Svensson has many names and faces for all his musical personalities. This time, he slips into Vägskäl, an outfit previously used to release 'Last Summer' on our favorite portuguese netlabel, Enough Records. Erik is using Vägskäl to make 'Dark Ambient' - or so I've been told - but honestly, I don't believe he has completely succeeded into it. Not with this 'As Summer Comes Creeping', he hasn't. Vägskäl is beyond dark ambient on this one. This is clearer and wider. This is big and sunny open spaces as opposed to small and dark crawlspaces. This is light, in the true sense of the word. Look to the artwork. Let's see if this works.
'Outside My Window' couldn't be better named. You open this window and float outside to a tropical beach. It's raining and you can hear the ocean bathing the sand and the docked boats, and the wood crackles, as if they were trying to sing a song. You hear the sweet melancholy pouring out of the sky, and down on you. You feel happy, and you are in love with someone who isn't there.
'The Fading Star' is the drone masterpiece of this EP. You can almost taste the liquified metal, as it reverbs in and out of the spectrum. A bit more dark, but the light still shines there, somewhere, and it lifts you up high. Six and a half minutes have passed, but it felt like much less. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Embark
Red Horses EP

«Embark is the dance outfit for a french artist duo. They've released an EP before, for the Acrylik Netlabel imprint. Expect an aesthetic twist from our latest releases, because Red Horses pulls you to the dance floor with ease.
Starting on a shoegaze-like, slightly rock-oriented theme, 'Red Horses' sets the right melodic tone to what will come later. This has 'french electronica' written all over it: crunchy snares, ethnic drums, vintage synth and keyboard effects, 80's bass lines, some vocoder phrases and vocal samples here and there. It takes downtempo to a seemingly nostalgic level. It goes from Chillout to Deep House in a matter of 15 minutes.
'Aqualandia' picks up where the first track left and takes you to the House floor, nineties style. But you should call it Ambient House, I guess.
'Before To' heats up the dance floor, so that you can warm up and be prepared to the last track: 'Catch the Light'. A full, close to the ground old-school House killer. Can your feet hold up to the task?» - Pedro Leitão


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Plumb & Plumber
Organic Feedback

«Yet another Spanish talent. And talent is the keyword here.
Plumb & Plumber, also known as Jesús Valle Pazos, comes from Vigo, Galicia, the northwestern spanish province. Cold and wet in the Winter, Sunny and warm in the Summer.
'Organic Feedback' revolves around ambient and cinematic electronica, where tape and field recordings are a warm layer of analog tapestries and dissonant electric guitars explode in a fuzzy and mechanical chaos. These ambient textures share the space with fingerpicked acoustic guitar chords and spaced-out sluggish drones, inviting us to an irresistible journey Through Plumb & Plumber's delicate universe.
You'll hear broken banjos, untuned guitars, steam engine noises, a pope doing some sort of a speech, ground recordings, an old woman singing a lament, 8 bit sounds, shoegazing drones, ambient space music, birds chirping, radio traffic and hiss, tons and tons of hiss. This is almost pure Library Music. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Con 7
Japanstoryboardformulaoneracing

«French musician La Fresto is no stranger to test tube. He's been following and reviewing our releases almost since the beginning, and now he's at the other side, submitting his most recent work under a new alias: Con 7.
Japanstoryboardformulaoneracing, in short of a better title, is a collection of lo-fi electronic dance tracks. By using only a small spectrum of samples and sounds, La Fresto creates almost skeletal but effective beats. There is no fat here. This is raw clicks'n'cuts for the new millennium.
Each track features completely new samples, all precisely layered on top of the first one. Sometimes we get the impression that this is another random work, the disturbed mind of a sample head put to use on one more derivative collage, but that is a wrong impression. This grows, slowly, making space under your cerebelum, launching sinewaves from time to time, helping you to organize your mind. Noise also has some moments here. Good moments, I mean. Typewriters typing broken typos on 'Formula'. Broken engines mixed with geek techno. Audio tape being maimed without mercy. Screaming fields of sonic mess, for sure. And it finishes up with rather intensely drones. Weird shit. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Gamma Ray Blast
5 Dimensões EP

«Portuguese musician José Paulo Andrade is a former member of 80's urban folk band Ocaso Épico, known for its mindblowing performances at the extinct lisbon venue Rock Rendez Vous (RRV). He also played guitar in a rock band called V12. Ocaso Épico released one album - 'Muito Obrigado' - in 1988 and was ready to record its second one some years later when band leader and menthor Farinha Master died unexpectedly, putting a premature end to the project. The remaining members scattered and José begins learning and exploring new tools, mainly software based ones.
'5 Dimensões EP' is the result of his 3 year evolution journey as Gamma Ray Blast, in which he gathered influences from the 90's so-called 'ambient' precursors, such as Kruder & Dorfmeister, Thievery Corporation and Badmarsh, among others, all wrapped up under a genuine Sci-Fi feel. Gamma Ray Blast operates on a lush and soothing beat base, very melodical, mixed with oriental and traditional portuguese elements, such as sitar, portuguese guitar (mainly used in the Fado genre), flutes and percussion. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Bacanal Intruder
Herramientas Para Abrir Un Libro

«test tube proudly presents Bacanal Intruder, real name Luis García-Pumarino, who is another Spanish folktronica discoverer, together with Aitänna77. Both of them mix analog and acoustic instruments with computer generated glitch layers and beats. Bacanal Intruder has some twists of his own, though. He uses some toy instruments, like a baby piano and a plastic duck, plays doublebass, and sings. Yeah, he sings a bit. He's also keen for short songs, with the longest one going at three and a half minutes. They're short, but consistent. Let's go over them, one by one:

(...)

'Herramientas Para Abrir Un Libro' - 'Tools To Open a Book' - is a 16 minute long happy/sad journey through electronic folk that makes a really enjoyable listen. I couldn't recommend it more. Use it wisely to mend broken hearts.» - Pedro Leitão


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sal.
Öhne Titel Mit Titel

«sal. is a bit of a multi-talented artist. He does photography, new media, mixed media, he runs a multi-cultural venue called ovírus (the virus) with a group of friends, and of course, he makes his own music (most people do it in these days...). But not any kind of easy, unsuspected or familiar music, like garage pop-rock, hip hop, techno or whatever. sal. makes pure noise music, also called 'white noise', based on static electricity fluctuations and stuff. I really don't know how he makes it, but he knows how to make it. And it hurts. It hurts a lot. His music hits you so hard, that you'll feel like you've been run over by a train.
Now... I could write some lines here, about Merzbow, Ryoji Ikeda and maybe Scanner and others, and how sal.'s music picks references from each one of them, etc. It would be rather pointless, because although most Noise and White Noise music has a solid structure, usually we get carried away by the violence of its sound and we tend to overlook those basic structure references and movement sways, and hidden patterns, hence, any reference to this work or that artist wouldn't do much for you, dear reader, just listen to the damn thing. (...)»
- Pedro Leitão


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Frango
Sitting San

«All improvised music compositions, and most instrumental pieces, are strongly illustrated by the freedom they concede to the interpreter. On ‘Sitting San’, the composers act on the work’s structure and reflect on the notes duration or sound streams. This collective, called Frango, has Jorge Martins on guitar & bass, Rui Dâmaso on guitar & drums and Vítor Lopes also on guitar & drums, and they write unfinished and indefinite messages all over this release. We are not (at all) before a work that asks to be rethinked in any given structural direction. There are 5 tracks full of improvisation patterns, and they have the ability to unbalance the order therein (yeah!).
Throughout ‘Sitting San’, drone guitars humanize the process, with synapse-like and stripped down keyboards here and there, and hit-and-run drum breaks, which transports us to a creative work that is - lets say - not tonal, as if there were no laws and no dogmas, taking away from the listener the possibility to predict where the compositions are heading.
‘Sitting San’ keeps evolving towards its end, adding new space, our space.»
- Bruno Barros


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Aitänna77
Spring is Coming Soon EP

«(...)

"I sit myself over the frozen lake and think about the things i've never done. I close my eyes thinking and wishing for the warm days and the warm arms around when we paint the night with colours.
Time never goes silent and the sounds are like a campfire when the moon is full and a bear comes knocking at your door for a hot drink.
It goes on, dreaming with the sun that gently leaves your body over the trees to see everything: the mountains, the lake, the houses, the city, the old man, the working woman, the places that you were always hungry to feel."

(...)» - The Caped Crusader and tortura


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Pitch Boys
O.S.T.

«Nuno Meneses, under his Pitch Boys moniker, brings us a new work, thought and worked out as a soundtrack to a non-existant film. The task of writing the script is left to us to complete. Or we can sit back and choose to let Nuno help with that.
Movie starts. Soundtrack comes up. Voiceovers, and sampled dialogues from films, kick in at some places throughout the narrative, linking possible scenes of the picture between each other, guiding the listener seamlessly until the end of the first take, a hefty hour long one. The opening credits and the story are in this one. There aren't subtitles, but we can understand what kind of story is being told. There are action scenes, love moments, sad stories. All wrapped up in intelligently made breakbeats, dub flavored basslines, detroit techno moves, tension harmonics and danceable rhythms. Plus some ambient and soothing parts, which aren't usual in Pitch Boys's style. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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Minus Pilots
Central Industries EP

«Resist to the paradigms of conventional aesthetics, resist to the sound language simplifications and resist to - and subvert - the protocols and flows of information. This is the work of Minus Pilots, a multinational duo (recently upgraded to a trio) that absorbs and paints it by meticulously manipulating information provided by the media (copy-paste), mixing it with its own counter-information. Voices, characters, phrases and words echoes and slips from the hypothalamus to the cerebellum, managing to achieve that information subversion which has been faithfully provided before. A coming and going of atmospheric sounds which not only relaxes but also shuffle the perception and the time-sense of the listener. The constantly ascending and descending mental states (!), reinforced by delays and soundscapes, create a unified conductive thread, between the digital and the analog, giving it the necessary amplitude, creating sound consistency and making this an excellent EP.» - Bruno Barros


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Rui Gato
Chaosmos EP

«After some generic and proximity, let’s say ‘audible’, works, Rui Gato returns with a piece divided into three movements. We ask that you do a complete listen of this EP, not because of commercial reasons – we don’t ask for money – or even of aesthetic imposition ones, but quite simply because of the Deleuzian way in which Chaosmos EP is presented.
‘M1’ is nothing more than a landscape of silence, without self-imposed forms. It’s the beginning of the order in itself; it’s this un-organized state, the ‘absolute zero’ from where the whole piece starts evolving. ‘M2 Extended’ assures us that the order is not universal and pummels us to and from distinctive elements in its formal composition. ‘M3 Final’ is the end, the finish line, a proliferation of material signs that illuminates its unformed character, and even manages to approach chaos. (...)» - Bruno Barros


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irish
Understandings

«Japanese artist Irie Yoshihisa - irish’s real name - was born in Nagasaki, and makes music using a computer since 2001. He has previously released an EP for MiMi, which is an also Portuguese based Netlabel, called ‘Killaz Sleep Peacefully’. Before that, he has done a CD-R: ‘Manufactures’, in 2003.
irish’s Understandings is a beautiful EP that sets the melancholic tone right from the beginning. ‘Coma and Pray’, a down-to-earth IDM track, opens the set, delivering round punchy beats a-plenty, completed with angel-like, almost childish voice sampling and a deep ambient layer on top. Resembles much of WARP’s early material, back from the distant nineties. Short but effective, and very enjoyable.
’Square and Triangle’, being less emotional and more scientific, features some skewed beats and clicks, nice music-box keyboards and reverse/forward structure movements. What comes to mind after listening to this track for a while, is our summer vacations in the countryside, watching the birds, the trees and the sky, joyfully away from the city’s concrete buildings, dirty pavements and dark roads, which is not what it sounds at first approach: a cold and distant laboratory theme. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


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