m¨c website

2007 NEWS

December 31, 2007


tube'|106 - Norman Fairbanks - American Case Study

«Well... and here's our last tube of 2007. Please welcome again Mr. Fairbanks from Los Angeles, California, with this new collection of tracks, which he appropriately titled 'American Case Study'.
Norman has been steadily putting out high quality releases for a couple of years at least, officially releasing most of them through his own website. In this present case, we made a selection out of a couple of his latest works, rounding up roughly an hour of Fairbanks' tunes. 'American Case Study' helps us to explore an unusual side of Norman's creations, namely the ambient/spoken word approach. 'Element One' through 'Element Five' gathers some speeches from whatever - including the late Allen Ginsberg - and serves them with some of Norman's trademark spacious beats and drones. The rest of the album rests on the usual high quality of minimal techno and IDM, on healthy doses for good measure. To put it simply, Norman Fairbanks' music is an amalgam of contemporary American culture, synthesized in small packets of aural pleasure. Enjoy! Happy New 2008!» - Pedro Leitão


December 26, 2007


tube'|105 - Eye - Plays

«Peter Memmer is originally from Germany and is a former classical dancer who used to live in Portugal until very recently - the cover photo was taken by Peter at a typical portuguese Carnival festivity at Loulé - before moving again to another european country, Spain, if I'm not mistaken. Musically, one could easily think of Peter's work like something between Manitoba/Caribou and Kieran Hebden's Four Tet: Contemporary electronic pop with traces of pop-rock from last century. On the other hand, Eye also touches fringes of good old experimental territory, and even some electroacoustics too, churning out some nice drones and minimal textures somewhere along the middle part of 'Plays'. But the keyword here is 'Pop' without a shadow of a doubt. Excellent release!»
- Pedro Leitão


December 26, 2007


Yeah, well... with all the family-get-togethers and stuff, I forgot to leave everybody a wishful xmas message. We are also late with the last two (well at least with one) 2007 releases, tube105 from Eye and tube106 from our favorite L.A. resident Norman Fairbanks. But we will put them out before monday, and that's a promise. Meanwhile, keep downloading our previous releases and keep enjoying our latest by Cory Allen. And while you're at it, visit Con-V and download yet another Cory Allen's release 'Observing a Warmth'. Get it here.



December 19, 2007


tube'|104 - Cory Allen - Satori in Atlantis

«As you struggle to stop your thoughts, you can still hear the conversation of some neurons. Sometimes they sound like little pieces of metal sliding over a self-constructed organism, or granular rings that create ephemeral vibrations. In any case, they lead you into a psychic silence where you are able to listen to a higher consciousness. The enlightenment and awakening of your being brings you the true nature of creation. As you listen, you can create a new world formed of legendary islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, pleasantly sink into deep waters, or embrace your own neurological research. Once you find yourself floating, “Satori in Atlantis” allows this experience to last longer and create new beginnings to deeply understand the world you imagined. With this insightful sonic production, you are able to associate and assemble the wisdom of eastern philosophies and quantum mechanics. Allen’s creations succeed in becoming a source of energy.
Satori can be found in every moment of life, it is wrapped in all daily activities, its goal to unwrap them to see and hear satori. Be ready to submerge into a very profound view of the unified field. Be ready to journey into deeper levels of intelligence in nature and establish a dialog with your “self.”»
- Sebastian Alvarez


December 11, 2007


tube'|103 - Motown Junkie - Plagiarism Perversions

«Motown Junkie a.k.a. Ed The Sampler is Edgar Matos and lives very close to the spanish border in a portuguese town called Elvas, deep in the Alentejo's deserted countryside. Ed - for short - loves heavy metal rock, noise, goth, industrial and several other kinds, but he also enjoys sampling based electronic music and is quite fond of dark ambient too. As Nhoin - another one of his aliases - he has released stuff on our friend label Enough Records, but this time, as he puts on the Motown Junkie outfit, we will be graced with a different pallete of sounds.
'Plagiarism Perversions', despite its rather obnoxious or even tasteful artwork, is not about junkies or sex perverts, but rather about the art of stealing and appropriating of well known pop music phrases and references, and the consequent recontextualization of those elements, in an instrumental Hip Hop setting. Ed captured dozens of bass lines, guitars, drum beats, keyboard notes, etc., from pretty much everything he had lying around, mainstream or not, and built 15 tracks with strong hip hop beats and strings and basslines from various other styles turning the originals almost unregonizable (but still recognizable if you have a sensible ear). I won't say any names to not spoil your surprise.» - Pedro Leitão


December 10, 2007


As mentioned a few days ago in our last 4XT, DOPO released very recently a new album with north-american's Foxglove Records, Mr. Brad Rose's (of The North Sea fame) own label. We've updated our shop with that item and a few others. Please note that we don't sell those third party releases ourselves, but we point you in the right direction, should you happen to buy anything.
Shop is here.



December 03, 2007


tube'|102 - krypton - Silent Drama

«Whether a fictional planet in the DC Comics universe or a chemical element, known as a noble gas that occurs in trace amounts in the atmosphere, Krypton has the ability to expand into your subconscious. Along these sounds, you would be able to walk through a cold hummed darkness to develop systems of echolocation that will take you into distant memories. In this realm, memory becomes a bright greenish-yellow light that glows and reverbs. Once submerged into the nature of “silent drama”, you might hear the images of a forsaken territory, of a territory that is like faint shadows, of a connection with the land that is not familiar any longer. Once thought to be completely inert, Krypton is known to form a few compounds.  These compounds are substances formed when two or more elements are chemically joined. In this case these substances are sonic. By suddenly arriving with some metal keys being plucked up and down, “human rights” is one of the tracks that will probably bring you back into the human constructs of a cyclical and percussive time. On the whole, these seven pleasant and fluorescent tracks are aural treats that can make you understand that all is one, that there are no fundamental divisions, and a unified set of laws underlie nature.» - Sebastian Alvarez


December 03, 2007


#01 - tube100 - Pitch Boys - Son of a Pitch [1314 downloads]
#02 - tube096 - Long Desert Cowboy - Western Spaghetti [633 downloads]
#03 - tube095 - Long Desert Cowboy - Sandshoes [588 downloads]
#04 - tube099 - Entia Non - Distal [572 downloads]
#05 - tube097 - Organic Anagram - London By Night [491 downloads]
- tube061 - Project Swirl - Alpha Centauri EP [487 downloads]
#07 - tube098 - The Turtle - Hyper Riot [323 downloads]
#08 - tube063 - DOPO - For the Entrance of the Sun [319 downloads]
#09 - tube087 - Juan José Calarco - Plano Vertical [291 downloads]
#10 - tube006 - Lanolin - Untitled EP [248 downloads]

That's our 100th release at the top of the list, no surprises here. Both releases by Long Desert Cowboy are still going strong at #02 and #03 which is great.
There are however three surprises: tube061 - Project Swirl - which is from 2006 and tube006 back from 2004! That's awesome! And then there's DOPO's album at #08 with 319 downloads which isn't that much of a surprise since they've released their new album just a couple weeks ago on Foxglove, called 'Crossing Birds'. It's a 100-copies-limited release, so be quick!
See you in a month with a new 4XT!



November 27, 2007


tube'|101 - G.A.F. - Atractores Extraños II, or we are happy on the another
tube'|101 - G.A.F. - planet

«Get this: Macedonian born Bosnian-Croatian and currently living in the spanish Islas Canárias, Mladen Kurajica operates this band which makes some unrecognizable kind of psychedelic drone rock of sorts. G.A.F. is the name, which stands for Grifa Ambient Factory. Mladen is also one of the most active promoters of the live music scene in the Canary islands, which really shows his love for music and everything related.
G.A.F.'s music is not easy to describe because it mutates from one work to the other. I've listened to stuff resembling of Sonic Youth's untuned guitars and steady drums to stuff that could easily be found among Spacemen 3/Sonic Boom's not so famous ambient works. And then they change again into something completely different.
'Atractores Extraños II, or we are happy on the another planet' is a pretty varied album when it comes to music aesthetics. It opens with a couple of pop-ambient tracks 'Gaf likes turbo folk' and 'You saw the radio design that shaped our lives' which would appeal to even the most mainstream type of listener, but then it troddles into 'a7' and from then on Mladen and the guys go into 'ambient drone mode' to build the best tracks on this release. The song pair 'I saw your...' is absolutely fantastic in every way and they both set the mood for this album. The first features Mladen's own voice and the second is an ambient drone piece. 'The dawn fades away' is an epic and the real keeper here. The thing is a long heavy and psych drone that somewhere along the way puts us into some kind of contemplative state. Do not - I repeat - do not listen to this while driving a vehicle or while working with compex and dangerous machinery. You have been warned.
G.A.F. is a one of a kind band and you really need to listen to the other works they did to fully comprehend the grasp of what they're trying to do. They will probably come to the Iberian Peninsula in late march next year, so keep your eyes peeled for a G.A.F. gig near you.» - Pedro Leitão


November 26, 2007


Hello again.
We chose this occasion of the 100th release to upgrade our work machine. That's why we're a bit behind schedule, we had to undergo the usual hardware tests and software installations before being ready work on our catalogue again.

So, what are we running here at the office? Nice of you to ask: intel's E6750 dual core processor with 4 gigabytes of system memory and one 250 gigabyte single platter hard drive for improved disk access speeds.

Next up: G.A.F.



November 16, 2007


It's always very nice to see a test tube getting forward in is his/her career. It is such the case of :papercutz, featured in our release tube005. Bruno and the gang joined the ranks of Montreal's Apegenine Recordings and are expecting to see their debut full length 'Lylac' out this year on that canadian label. With european distribution by Baked Goods we're hoping to see it featured on the shelves of dozens of records stores and reviewed pretty much in every music mag and blog everywhere.

Best of luck to :papercutz!



November 12, 2007


tube'|100 - Pitch Boys - Son of a Pitch

«Yeah, I was missing my good friend Nuno Meneses already. For our 100th release we are offering you 'Son of a Pitch', an album that was long overdue. It was to be released more than couple of years ago in Vinyl/CD format through our sister label, but some unexpected turns came down the road and it was kept in a drawer until some months ago. Well, here it is now just in time to commemorate our first one hundred releases.
Unlike the previous Pitch Boys releases , 'Son of a Pitch' covers different ground in terms of aesthetics. Taking as an approach the typical song format, Nuno grabs some basics of chill-out genre and mixes them with world music references, ambient, broken beat and some lounge to create stylish music drones which are perfect with some smoking of the flora portrayed in both artwork covers. Some personal favorites: 'Creamynal', 'Plonaise', 'Son of a Pitch' and 'Marijuan'. Thank you Nuno, for another great selection of chillout tunes.
Some of you might be asking why we didn't do the costumary 100th release compilation special, well... about an year ago I actually thought about it, doing some special stuff like a collaboration between a wide bunch of test tube artists. I started to line up some ideas and concepts, but sometimes is hard to manage the time needed for this to work out and suddendly it was too late to bring forward a complex idea like the one I was working on... lots of contacts to do, take into account the available time for each artist to complete the work, etc., etc. I had to abort the idea and pospone it to a future occasion, and do it right. And then the opportunity to release 'Son of a Pitch' came around and I didn't even think twice. Hope you all enjoy it. Roll up a king size for me!» - Pedro Leitão


November 05, 2007


tube'|099 - Entia Non - Distal

«Another personal favorite of 2007 comes from the far away Australia. James McDougall a.k.a. Entia Non possesses the rare talent of putting together seemingly ordinary field recordings in a way that they sound to always have belonged together. If you enjoyed My Fun 'Idyll EP' release you'll love 'Distal'. James manipulates found sounds using ambient electronica techniques, tape reels and vinyl records into the most beautiful soundscapes you'll be able to hear. 'Watching the paint dry' is one of the best here, with sampled voices scattered amidst soft humming tones that sound like distant lost ships at sea. Beautiful stuff. 'A Winter Plateau' is another great track. A lot more into the 'nostalgia' theme than the previous ones - which is a recurrent theme when it comes to ambient music - but also very uplifting. Sparse real world here and there, but always embraced by a warm blanket of soft light. Makes us want to cuddle around a fireplace in a winter night with a cup of hot chocolate in our hand. Closing track 'Above' is a real gem. Runs for a little over ten minutes and covers mostly sci-fi soundtrack territory, which is something of a personal favorite around here. Could have been in Tarkovsky's 'Solaris' soundtrack and it would fit like a glove. James is a really talented musician who should not go unnoticed for he makes really amazing music capable of putting us into various states of dreamscape modes. With the perfect drug this can open portals to distant worlds too.
James released a previous album on the infamous CDR label U-COVER called 'Inter Alia'. If you enjoyed what you have listened here you should go and buy it immediately, because it is a limited edition. Also, keep your eyes peeled for another Entia Non album here at test tube, somewhere in 2008. Thanks for listening!» - Pedro Leitão


November 04, 2007


#01 - tube095 - Long Desert Cowboy - Sandshoes [21124 downloads]
#02 - tube096 - Long Desert Cowboy - Western Spaghetti [1361 downloads]
#03 - tube094 - Omas FGT - Martin Heinrich [933 downloads]
#04 - tube092 - The Jack Bohlen Book Club - Lion & Lamb [737 downloads]
#05 - tube091 - Hugo Paquete - Commutative [720 downloads]
#06 - tube093 - Fraufraulein - Country at the River of... [471 downloads]
#07 - tube087 - Juan José Calarco - Plano Vertical [309 downloads]
#08 - tube097 - Organic Anagram - London By Night [247 downloads]
#09 - tube090 - meta:Human - The Dark Ages of Technology [231 downloads]
- tube089 - Clorofila Azul - Revisitado (sem Voz) [187 downloads]

A big surprise right on top: 21124 downloads for tube095! Amazing! And this is not some erroneous count from the server because I double checked everything and went through various levels of statistics. Whatever contributed to this abnormally high download count is still a mystery here... perhaps some weblog reference we haven't found yet. Anyway, it's totally deserved because both volumes from Long Desert Cowboy (tube095 and tube096) are absolutely fantastic. Big difference between both volumes, too... weird.
#07 is the same as last month. Another 300 downloads for Juan José Calarco's Plano Vertical. As for the rest, pretty normal scores considering they're all recent releases - all within a 2 month timeframe.



October 31, 2007


tube'|098 - The Turtle - Hyper Riot

«Here's another one hailing from the United Kingdom. Jon Weinel is a native british musician and brings us this collection of tracks called 'Hyper Riot'. Jon reclaims his work to be mostly influenced by flashcore and breakcore, whatever the hell that is, but judging from his myspace there are a lot of stuff to be accounted for as well. It's not unusual to see Venetian Snares there on the list because that was one the few names that came to mind when I first listened to some of this tracks. There are a lot of threads to pick here, and they all connect to one another. There are references to Dubstep too, perhaps not on all of the tracks but I found some of the key elements both in the 'fast' tracks and in the 'slow' tracks. Speaking of which, the 'fast' tracks, the hardcore ones, are of course the shorter ones but they carry a lot of references inside them and sometimes they sound like two or three different pieces put together as they change tempo from start to end several times. 'Pacman's Psychedelic Meltdown' sounds exactly as it's called: a video-game soundtrack gone bad, too much bpm's resulting in the CPU's meltdown. A classic.
Halfway into the release and we get first contact with the ambient tracks, kind of like one of Jon's regular tracks stretched to its limits and spanned into five times the regular lenght. Slowed down hardcore for you experimental music lovers. 'At The Drive In Play Their Video-Games' is another electro pop classic, ready for the dancefloor. If you're into 8bit electro/techno and experimental psychedelic soundtracks, you'll love The Turtle and his 'Hyper Riot' release.» - Pedro Leitão


October 25, 2007


tube'|097 - Organic Anagram - London By Night

«Please welcome our newest londoner, Miguel 'Chad' Meruje, who went from good ol' Portugal to Her Majesty's Kingdom to become a man. Miguel, under this Organic Anagram guise has been crafting some of the most unusual music one is likely to be listening to nowadays, crossing some experimental old school breaks with classic or dread piano strings, death noise and a weird 'film noir' atmosphere.
'London By Night' is a bit like a short movie, like a journey through the city's darkest and scariest alleys, with the tracks working like snapshots of specific moments. Incidentaly, the track 'City Alleys Host Murders' which comes around roughly at the middle of the album, is the key piece to this record, picking up the bits and pieces of all the moments and joining them together into a cohesive narrative. But there are other tracks that help turn 'London By Night' into a memorable experience. Two of them come to my mind: 'NW10 (featuring Pelbu)' sounds like a dubstep experience gone awry, with horror-movie-like piano instead of sub-bass notes but with a similar spoken word voice-over to finish it up in a great dramatic style. 'The Last Dance at the Ballroom' is also one of my favorites and finishes up 'oficcially' the record in amazing style, starting with some low-key bass notes and steadily growing into some kind of fucked up breakcore shit, dark noise and scary field recordings and at some point turning into the first bonus track. But it feels like a single track, actually. The 'unofficial' end track to this excellent and in every way unpredictable album comes with another bonus track 'The Singing Return of the Tower Keeper' which is really a very amusing and nicely done mashup of Alice Russel's 'Somebody's Gonna Love You'' with an assortment of different beat styles put together. A great ending to a really interesting album.» - Pedro Leitão

«They wonder why we're all the same
Too much blood, too much fear to say our name
One town to keep us all together
Children of the world, here we gather forever
LDN town my curse, I won't let it sink
One soul, one will, one tear without love
All straight up from the same hole.»

Excerpt from 'NW10 (feat. Pelbu)'


October 22, 2007


Just a quick note to let you know that our good friend and artist David Velez has released a new volume of the highly acclaimed Data Transfer series, this time on the excellent label EKO, curated by Alexandre Navarro.

Just go there and download your free copy while it's hot! And while you're at it, point your browser to Zymogen.net and get the first volume too.

This new volume features a handfull of new artists, along with a couple of one that were also featured in the first volume of the series. The names include: Karras, Christopher McFall, Sascha Neudeck, Pangea (Juan Antonio Nieto), e:4c (Hélder Vasconcelos, José Diogo Correia), Darren McClure, Kate Carr, Juan José Calarco, Fabian Moncada, Ben Owen, Gill Arno, Richard Garet, Andy Graydon.



October 17, 2007


tube'|096 - Long Desert Cowboy - Western Spaghetti

«The 'alentejano' Daniel Catarino has kept for his second volume as Long Desert Cowboy a not so guitar-based, less Ry Cooder-esque sound than what is explored in the first volume (curiously, it's this one who gets to be titled 'Western Spaghetti).
This is an album of shades, isolation, reflexion and patience, which bets higher in 'what isn't said' than in 'what is said'. It finds some parallel in the piece "Banda sonora para um dia normal", from Landfill, another moniker from Catarino, but in this case the emphasis isn't placed in the patchwork of contrasting elements, instead it's put in the building of impressionist exercises.
"For the Money", for instance, makes itself of unknown origin sounds from different planes, delay-soaked, accompanied with patient synthesizers. In "Kicking the Sand", a monastic voice waves above some bluesy guitars and what seems to be field recordings. As for "Tired of being fucking poor and honest", it's guitar ambient in shy levitation.
with or without its companion 'Sandshoes', 'Western Spaghetti' is an apropriate record for late night mental introspection.» - Pedro Rios

tube'|095 - Long Desert Cowboy - Sandshoes

«"The times, they are a-changin'". The new musical outfit of Daniel Catarino (also known as Landfill) brings dust to our footsteps and its consequent footprints. It may not be deliberate but the first of the two volumes from this new adventure carries the smell and feel of Ry Cooder. Throughout its six chapters, Daniel Catarino builds a sand map, drawing richly detailed landscapes. Long Desert Cowboy is, so to speak, a landscape architect who respects the immediate in spite of the project at hand. In "Bee 7" he still walks in the land of dreams (crossed by messages from unidentified beings) and imagination, but from "$$$" onwards, Daniel Catarino puts his foot outside and delivers five moments of rare beauty: to that end he uses guitars in distant lands, keyboards and sounds snatched from real life. Here and from the beginning to the end of 'Sandshoes', this is the vision of deep western America from the perspective of a portuguese. A trip worth taking.» - André Gomes


October 09, 2007


tube'|094 - Omas FGT - Martin Heinrich

«Omas FGT is one of the heads behind french label Plex Records. Omas has released once on his own house (plx001), plus a couple of loose tracks and remixes on compilations throughout Plex's catalogue. Two years later and he has three other releases: 'Frequency Modulation', a five tracker on Telescope - built using only frequency modulation synthesis, and 'Silver Bullet' parts I and II on switzerland's Psycle records as a collaborative project between the two labels. Both released this year. I hear that 'Silver Bullet' has been highly acclaimed by electronic music fans.
'Martin Heinrich', named after the famous German chemist and professor, is no different from the usual Omas FGT style: Dark, echoing and rough on the edges IDM beats with a slight sense of melody and over-synthesised sound sources. This is a five tracker and spreads around 24 minutes with various edgy moods, some into beat deviations and others into more ambient surroundings, all to be filed under experimental. Enjoy!» - Pedro Leitão


October 03, 2007


tube'|093 - Fraufraulein - Country at the River of Friendship

«Today, test tube very proudly presents 'Country at the River of Friendship', an album by Fraufraulein. For me, this was one of the most anticipated releases of this year. Before presenting the duo that makes Fraufraulein what it is, I'll tell you how I came to know their music: Months ago, at the beginning of 2007, we accepted a submission by this new yorker guy named Billy Gomberg. When Billy gave me the url to his page at Fraufraulein's website I got curious, and became interested in knowing what Fraufraulein was all about. Right after listening to one of the pieces hosted there - actually, during listening - I became amazed and overwhelmed by the dramatic density that Fraufraulein's improvisations carry with them. I just felt and knew that more people had to get into this, so, I immediately contacted Billy and asked him if he wanted to do a Fraufraulein's release. I even made a pre-selection with a couple of pieces for a possible release. Billy liked the idea and went to contact Anne Guthrie - the second member of Fraufraulein's duo - to get her approval. Along with the pieces I chose, Anne and Billy threw in a couple more and remastered the set. The result of this is 'Country at the River of Friendship'.
Well, now you already know Billy from tube086, or at least you should because he has a very solid electro-acoustic release there. But Anne Guthrie is probably new to test tube fans, so a proper presentation is in order. I personally didn't knew anything about her, but a google search pointed me to the very respectful Stasisfield label, which incidentaly has a very good short bio of Anne. Here's a snippet taken from there: «Born 1983 Minneapolis, Minnesota. BA in English and a BMus in Composition, University of Iowa, May 2005. Studied French horn with Jeffrey Agrell, and Composition with Amelia Kaplan, David Gompper, and Lawrence Fritts. Studied composition with Michael Young at Goldsmith's college in London, Fall 2003. Currently, Anne is the Managing Director of the S.E.M. Ensemble in Brooklyn. (...) Anne's electronic works focus on field recordings that exploit the natural resonance of unique architectural spaces. These recordings are subject to light filtering processes to further emphasize the resonant frequencies of the space.» You can also find there her excellent release 'Conservatoire'.
So, then... what should we expect from a Fraufraulein's release? Short answer: Improvised Modern Contemporary Music. But there's more, of course. Anne and Billy - besides playing French Horn and Synthesizers, respectively their main instruments of choice - use dozens of instruments and various objects and sound sources which they gently manipulate and layer in blissfully resonant improvisations. Some of this instruments include: Harmonicas, Melodica, Knabe Upright Piano, Circuitbent Speak & Read, Electrix WarpFactory, Thumb Piano, Fluorescent Light, Electric Organ, Recorder, Flute, Snare Drum, Glass, Thread, Toy Piano, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar and various microphones. That's a lot of different sounds to play with! Without further due, I'll let Fraufraulein's music speak for herself. Download this, pick yourself a good set of closed-casket headphones and enjoy.» - Pedro Leitão


October 01, 2007


As promised, here is the 4XT for the month of September:

#01 - tube088 - Thelmo Cristovam - Field Recordings #02 [1101 downloads]
#02 - tube090 - meta:Human - The Dark Ages of Technology [899 downloads]
#03 - tube089 - Clorofila Azul - Revisitado (sem Voz) [832 downloads]
#04 - tube082 - e:4c - Technical Unwanted Signals Vol. 1 [818 downloads]
#05 - tube080 - Post Human Era - Where I'm Going... [516 downloads]
#06 - tube071 - Penca Catalogue - This is Hair Care [420 downloads]
#07 - tube087 - Juan José Calarco - Plano Vertical [415 downloads]
#08 - tube092 - The Jack Bohlen Book Club - Lion & Lamb [390 downloads]
#09 - tube081 - Aitänna77 - Health Needs [356 downloads]
- tube091 - Hugo Paquete - Commutative [317 downloads]

A few surprises here. The first one is #04 which is at the exactly same place as it was two months ago in the July 4XT. Another surprise comes in #06, because it's a release that is already pretty old when it comes to test tube's agenda. And another one comes in #08 because is a very fresh release - just one week old. Almost 400 downloads in a week it's very very good, even for September.
It's also interesting to see a raw field recording release in #01 with more than a thousand downloads, because Thelmo's release is usually filed under the 'non-music' style, a style not extremely popular, even among experimental/electro-acoustic music fans and explorers. I guess this is good news for Thelmo :)

Well, that's about it for now. See you in a month for another 4XT analysis.



September 25, 2007


tube'|092 - The Jack Bohlen Book Club - Lion & Lamb

«Yay! Another new artist here at test tube HQ. Kevin Murphy comes from the U.S. of A. and mainly works around ultra-minimalistic compositions based on drones and electro-acoustic frequencies. The unusual alias he has picked up - The Jack Bohlen Book Club - was probably taken from a Philip K. Dick sci-fi novel called 'Martian Time-Slip', where the main character's name is Jack Bohlen and is a skilled repairmen and recovering schizophrenic. The story takes place on planet Mars around the year 1994. Why would there be a Book Club with his name? I honestly don't know. Perhaps it has something to do with the story coming from a book... Well, maybe Kevin Murphy didn't took his moniker from Philip K. Dick's book but I thought it was cool to put it here as a reference anyway...
As for 'Lion & Lamb', it's a 39 minute two-dimensional drone trip. Not much happening here if you don't appreciate this kind of minimalist compositions. For those who get high with this kind of sound, hell, just crank up the volume and trip your way into mars of some other planet! Get this!» - Pedro Leitão


September 22, 2007


Our good friend Adam - a.k.a. c4, one of test tube's artists - has set up a new netlabel called Proc-Records. He's determined to release the best netaudio out there on every bitrate possible or imaginable. He asked us to spread his desire and availability for new submissions, so, if you're an artist, be sure to check out Proc-Records and drop Adam a few lines. Thanks a lot for your support!



September 19, 2007


tube'|091 - Hugo Paquete - Commutative

«We proudly welcome another portuguese musician working with a laptop and analog machines. Hugo Paquete from Porto brings us 'Commutative', a short EP with experimental ambient sounds consisting mostly of grey noise and dense drones as sound bases. Hugo works them from there with the help of signal processing machines, delay pedals, frequency analyzers and other hardware. Conceptually, Hugo explores the relation between space and communication, with complex sound textures that bring listeners towards recognition of the sounds they hear as matter. Paquete has explored the various sonorous phenomenologies, beginning by stripping records and frequencies of radios. But now he tries to build his own aesthetic in surrounding noise of 'musique concrète'-like music and minimalist physical space, and on the relation between the two dimensions. He is also developing an interest in the visual arts and sound installation, exploring the complex relation between man and reality and their paradigms of language, perception and technology.
As for 'Commutative', the piece 'Stubbornness' is my favorite. It goes around a heavy drone throughout the track, with some touches of improv. sequences and subtle voice sampling to good measure. I'd like it to be a tad longer 'though :)
Really good and consistent EP from Hugo. We hope to see more of this in the long run... perhaps even a long player, why not?»
- Pedro Leitão


September 12, 2007


tube'|090 - meta:Human - The Dark Ages of Technology

«Ok, time for something completely different. Meet meta:Human, a kind of an Industrial-Techno-Goth-IDM trio from Germany. 'The Dark Ages of Technology' is their own post-apocaliptic manifest. This releases is something of a 'best of', put together by the guys from 3 full albums of previously unreleased material.
We have deliberate anti-capitalist, anti-globalisation, anti... well... anti-human lyrics sung in a style not too distant from Peter Murphy's Bauhaus or Dave Gahan's Depeche Mode. We have programmed IDM/industrial beats with an old-school techno feel to them which fits very well with the singing and the post-apocaliptic mood. They call their own style 'Cyberdelic Electropunk', whatever that is...
The best moments (personal choices) of this release are: the opener 'Deadliest Species' with its dark-sci-fi mood and low-key vocals; 'Like Fire', the closest song to the Bauhaus universe, in my humble opinion; 'Rivers of Dawn' for its heavy dramatic mood; 'Catching Up' because it reminds me a lot of Depeche Mode and 'Magnitude' because it's a damn good track. There are plenty of great tracks in here. meta:Human and Esc.Laboratory (the group's organization) have plenty of other works around the web, like this one for Earth Monkey Productions.» - Pedro Leitão


September 08, 2007


Yes, we're sorry but we have no 4XT for you this month. Due to a server misconfiguration, we lost all previous website statistics. After this unwanted reset, we need to gather a full month - september - of info before we are able to filter stats for the next Top.
See you next month for a new 4XT, then.



September 05, 2007


tube'|089 - Clorofila Azul - Revisitado (sem Voz)

«Hugo Santos returns as Clorofila Azul for the promised second volume of his 'golden oldies' collection. This time we took several CDs worth of instrumental material, beats, experiences and whatever, to build up what we believe to be a worthy release.
Again, we can track most of Clorofila's strongest influences to be under the IDM and downbeat file, or even, why not, Trip Hop. 'Instrospecção' is a very good example of all of them. But Clorofila Azul is much more than that. It seems that Hugo was looking for his own trademark sound among the ruins of his oldest works, covering pretty much all available styles between past and present. From what I was able to peek into his newest work, I think he did find his own path. But that's subject for another release, I hope.
Happy listening.» - Pedro Leitão

P.S. - Huge thanks go to Mr. Esgar for his amazing illustrations.


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


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


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


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...



July 25, 2007


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


June 25, 2007


tube'|080 - Post Human Era - Where I'm Going Half the Time

«Download it. Listen to it. And if you feel like running (or imagining yourself running) at the end of spring's sunny days then you'll have a match.
Mild, often happy - not euphoric -, mid-tempo - not too slow and definitely not too fast. It’s a pleasant blend of moments, from pop music to experimental stuff. It’s pop for the non-pop listeners (Post-pop electronic music if you want to name it). It’s more about instruments than voice, which has a slightly metallic touch (post-human). The passages, approaches of structure, melody (usually strong without losing it’s environmental side) and effects are often exotic; they don’t sound like a band’s everyday meal - the end of "Before Guns" is a perfect example of an ingenious and surprising ending.
Good moods are likely to arise through unconventional ways.» - Nuno Sousa e Silva


June 18, 2007


tube'|079 - David Velez - Genki Vol. II

«David Velez is better known as Lezrod and has released a couple of releases under this moniker on both Zymogen and Test Tube. His latest work Genki consists of two parts which are simultaneously and separately released on both Zymogen and Test Tube as a collaboration between both netlabels.
The title Genki is derived from the contraction of two words:

- Gene, which answers.com describes as "hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic in an organism";
- Ki, which refers to the Kanji symbol for "spirit, mood". In a wider sense it also stands for the concept originating from traditional Chinese culture "to be part of every living thing that exists, as a kind of 'life force' or 'spiritual energy'."

Concerning new musical achievements Genki Vol. I and II are not only a great step forward compared to earlier releases, both volumes also mark a transition to a new period in David Velez' life, from quitting his job in Bogota, Colombia for working full time on his music to moving to Queens, NY (in the northeast of the United States) with a new job in an unfamiliar environment and a different culture.
Genki Vol. II, the release on Test Tube, is characterised by a level of abstraction unrivalled in former releases of his. Voices, feedback and machine noise happily unite with patches of airy chords to a colourful texture of sonic art. Like a common thread in a novel, there is a logical progression in this scenery, nothing is left without a cause. No doubt that David Velez has considerably broadened his music vocabulary and reached an impressive level of proficiency.» - Olliver Wichmann


June 14, 2007


Yes, we added a proper shop page for your convenience. For now, you'll find the CD-R and DVD-R releases we've been made, but expect to find other test tube products and merchandise in the near future, like t-shirts, pins and other cool stuff. We'll also build a selection of independent and hand-made releases from many of our artists. Keep your eyes peeled!



June 13, 2007


tube'|cdr006 - v/a - tube066 ~ tube072

The sixth volume is now available. From Clorofila Azul to Michael Trommer releases. Get it here.


June 11, 2007


tube'|078 - Quest.Room.Project - Room Number: Fiducial Banality

«A gentle flute motive introduces us to the world of Quest.Room.Project from Russia, and one might at first expect a relaxed listening experience. But by the time more voices chime in, it becomes obvious that these spotlights are going to be swallowed by shadows of tragic compassion. "Room Number: Fiducial Banality" is organised in 4 parts (one could as well define them as movements, because there are some key themes occuring throughout the entire release) and each of them features a room with distinct acoustic characteristics:
"The reason for surfacing" appears like a shadow of a doubt that gradually turns into overwhelming certainty. Almost inaudible at the beginning, "Assemblage" soon escalates to several emotional outbursts, before exhaustion will take its tribute in "Possesion" and create a haunted, threatening atmosphere. As reminiscence of the beginning, "Combined Exercises" begins with a flute solo and continues to pick up previous motives to escalate them to a wall of sound. Finally the dissonances wither away and make room for the last remnants of the ever occuring flute theme. A cycle has been completed and we are at the beginning again...
Bogdan Dullsky, the creative head behind the Quest.Room.Project, describes his intentions on the project's website as "a search of space for the life leaving for borders of habitual linearity". But "Room Number: Fiducial Banality" doesn't attempt to descibe a solution to break free: It's left up to the listeners themselves to recognise their personal ever returning patterns of life and change them by their own strategy. or - as Bogdan concludes - as an "attempt to live by some own rules on which borders it is possible to breathe freely".»
- Olliver Wichmann


June 04, 2007


tube'|077 - Nodepet - Concrete Muser

«'Muser' is a word of Germanic origin that means 'thinker' or 'ponderer', someone who puts brain or mind effort into contemplation of things.. It can also come from the latin 'musa', or 'muse' which is a person or object whose purpose is to inspire creativity. But when you put 'Muser' and 'Concrete' together, what do they mean? Is it some kind of definition? or perhaps, a pun of 'Concrete Music', 'Musique Concrète'? Only Nodepet knows for sure.
Meet Olliver Wichmann, the man behind the moniker. Olliver is a secretive german guy, obsessed with overly processed and cerebral experimental music. His goal? No one knows. Perhaps not even himself. Could he be trying to strip all things emotional from his music, reducing it to an expression, an abstraction, much like Schaeffer did in the mid 40's? We can't really tell if this music was synthesized with software, hardware or if it was based on found sounds, then manipulated and assembled into arrays of sound phrases, designs, like expressionist and abstract paintings.
Maybe we shouldn't be thinking too much about the music. Instead, we should get down and dirty, with all 79 minutes of it.»
- Pedro Leitão


May 31, 2007


We have a new and improved contact page, with a thorough guide explaining everything you need to know about sending submissions to us. If you're a musician thinking about sending Test Tube some material, please read the guide carefully as we think it is and will be very helpful to you.

In other news, the Test Tube team has a new member who'll be helping in text proofing, submission evaluating and overall mustitasking stuff. He will also be signing many of the liner notes to releases from now on, with the name Olliver Wichmann. Welcome Olliver!

Because of this new helping hand, we'll have almost immediate results on the release queue, with an expected flow of 4 monthly releases, one every monday.

Before the next planned release, 'Concrete Muser' by Nodepet, this weekend will see newsletter #007 coming out, so be on the lookout.



May 28, 2007


tube'|076 - ps - Friends reinterpretations of unreleased 332 variations vol. 1

«This is our shortest release yet, and it is a long promised one. Promised to my friend ps (Filipe Cruz, curator at Enough Records) as part of a four - I think - volume series. Volume 2 and 4 are already out from some time now (Vol. 2 on Enough Records and Vol. 4 on MiMi). I don't know what happened to Vol. 3 but we're going backwards with this one.
The story is quite simple: Filipe handed out one of his trademark dark ambient pieces, called '332 Variations', to several musician friends, for them to work out from there and turn the piece into something new or whatever. I got to release two of those workouts/remixes/reworks (pick one): One by Prolepse and the other by Etc (a.k.a. Erratic or Undacova).
The results are quite different from each other. While Prolepse went with the drone/glitch approach to dark ambient, making the piece a mechanical and technological version of a nightmare (short but dense and scary), Etc opted for the 'acoustic doom' (Svarte Greiner's invention) - theme: Sparse and well directed granular distortion, echoing, damp sounds, earth shaking subbasses and other organic related sounds. Amazing track.
The artwork was made by Infetu, which also appears with one reworked piece in Volume 2. He also made the artwork for Volume 4.
Don't forget to check the previously released volumes, here (Volume 2) and here (Volume 4), for a complete and immersive experience.» - Pedro Leitão


May 24, 2007


We've now reached 75 releases, which isn't bad, since we will only complete 3 years of existance next july. 75 releases is also what you'll get if you order our DVD collection, so I think it's time for some catching up on the work to be done ahead. It's been a while since we last talked about the future...

For starters, our release schedule for the remaining months until 2008 is already closed. Yep, that's right, we can only schedule new releases from January 2008 onwards. Of course you can keep sending your demos, they will get all the attention as usual, but don't expect to see them released this year.

So, many good stuff coming up this way. Next up is a long promised release of a couple remixes from my friend ps (curator at Enough Records), and after that we'll have some newcomers: Nodepet from Germany, Quest.Room.Project from Russia, Yankee brothers duo Post Human Era, Spirit Elevating Brains from Peru, Christopher McFall and Billy Gomberg from the USA, meta:human from Germany, Brazilian improvisationist and field recorder Thelmo Cristovam, Hugo Paquete from local Porto city, another north-american project called The Jack Bohlen Book Club, Billy Gomberg's other project Fraufraulein (with Anne Guthrie) and a couple of others. But we'll have further occasions to talk about them.
On the returning side, we will get to hear a new concept album by Aitänna77 called 'Health Needs', and also new material from Lezrod's new album 'Genki' (released simmultaneously with Zymogen, but in a slighly different version); Canadians Dave Zeal and Daniel Maze also return with a fantastic collaborative EP called 'Small Airports'; Clorofila Azul returns as promised, with a second compilation, featuring old instrumental works; laptop duo e:4c from Porto will give us an album worth of new material, tentatively titled 'Technical Unwanted Signals Vol. 1' and Landfill's Daniel Catarino will present us with two (yes, two!) new works under a new alias, Long Desert Cowboy, featuring droning guitars and western spaghetti-like ambients. Our own 'Paris, Texas' soundtrack!

Meanwhile, we'll be preparing our 100th release, which will be (if all goes as planned) a special compilation spanning two CDs worth of new material from a majority of test tube artists. We can't tell you anything more about this, yet, except that it's planned to be released early 2008..

Somewhere along the way, test tube's base (my home) will be on the move again (I hope). We expect to move down south, away from the city, to sit next to the ocean and countryside. If this happens before christmas, expect some period (weeks, possibly) of no website updates. We'll see how it goes...

On another note, if the numbers we have are accurate, we've recently reached 100 thousand visits to our website, which isn't that bad in less than 3 years. Thank you for spreading the word!

We've still one more release to give you this month, then it's newsletter time!



May 20, 2007


tube'|075 - c4 - The opulent lifestyle of dynomite sounds

«Halfway between Chicago and Toronto, right next to the 'Great Lakes' and in the outskirts of Detroit, lies the city of Toledo, nicknamed 'The Glass City' but also known as 'The Auto Parts Capital of the World'. That's were Mr. Adam Crammond works and lives. Taking most of his influences from the Detroit Techno scene, but also from the British Intelligent Dance Music - WARP style, Adam, under the guise of c4, crafts up nifty beats dipped in acid with sluggish techno-house style. Adam was pushed into making music back when he was a teenager, because of long nights he spent picking up Detroit radios, taping them up and amassing a huge collection of cassette recordings. As far as we know, his favorite artists (and his stronger influences) are Plastikman, Autechre, Venetian Snares, Kid 606, Aphex Twin, Dabrye, Jan Jelinek, Drop the Lime and Scant Intone, among others.
'The opulent lifestyle of dynomite sounds' sums up some of the best half-hours of 'old-school dance music from today' - we might call it - selected among two years of material Adam has been working on in his free time. This first c4 release of many to come (we hope) features varied styles ranging from semi-hard jungle - 'Polygons for purchase' - to electronic hip-hop - 'France beat (419)' - , going to ambient - 'Structure source' - , skipping over to minimal - 'Before rave class' - and exploding your speakers with acid-house - 'b130'. Without further delay, test tube proudly presents: c4!» - Pedro Leitão


May 16, 2007


Our friend and artist Bacanal Intruder (aka Luis Solís) will play live at this year's Sónar Festival, to be held as always, in the Catalá capital, Barcelona. Bacanal Intruder will go live in the second day (June 15), at Sónar by Day (usually held at the MACBA).

Don't know Bacanal Intruder's music? Shame on you! Check out his awesome test tube release here, and be sure to also check Zymogen's no less than excellent release as well as Bacanal's MySpace.

Good luck, Luís!


May 10, 2007


tube'|074 - Mother - Live at Barnsdall Park

«If you're a Los Angeles resident you probably know where Barnsdall Art Park is, located atop of a hill with a nice view over the famous Hollywood sign (trust me, I've been reading about this). Barnsdall Park has gardens, trees and all that, of course, but also has one of the first Los Angeles works by worldwide famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Hollyhock House, named after the favorite flower of the building's original owner, Aline Barnsdall, a woman philanthrope and patron of the arts. Barnsdall Park was closed for remodeling until recently (~ 2003) but it reopened, offering the visitors brand new exhibits, visual design and overall conditions. It also showcases many concerts and performances along the year, which brings us to this release we are offering, a live recording from a CalArts alumni showcase that took place at this park.
Mother is actually Chris Komashko, a former student of CalArts, California's best school of arts. He was there not for the music, but for a BFA in design. But what really tickled inside Chris's head was music and sound design, so he pursued it and years later was performing live at a CalArts Alumni Showcase. Life has a sense of humor. As a sound designer, Chris has done several original work for the motion picture industry, in trailers and such, for movies such as Pulp Fiction, Resident Evil or Blade II; as a musician he has done remixes for Madonna, A Flock of Seagulls, Kiss or Love & Rockets. But the Mother project, according to Chris, is "an ongoing project to learn more about the nature of sound and the auditory ties we all have to the emotional experiences of our lives. (...) mother is an attempt to push the concept of story telling as far away from song writing as possible and still communicate to the listener." Nothing to do with pop music or motion picture soundtracks, then.
Did Chris accomplished the task he sought? We have to dwelve into his music to learn the answer. File under improv/experimental. Happy listening.» - Pedro Leitão


April 30, 2007


tube'|073 - Vägskäl - This could've been the beginning of something great

«Erik Svensson returns for his last incarnation as Vägskäl. If you haven't listened to his other test tube release, the EP 'As Summer Comes Creeping', please try to do it before listening to this full album, because the previous one works something as a prologue to this last 'swan song'. 'This could've been...' picks up where the EP left: dark ambient moods, a couple of subtle beats here and there and some melancholic drones to boot. Although the artwork suggests a darker tone to this release, as opposed to the brighter, sunny cover of the EP, this new work is actually a lot lighter (as in 'light'). Take the first track, for instance. It's called 'We shine brighter now', and it truly deserves the name. A light (as in 'not heavy') white drone grows towards the morning sun. A beautiful opener.
The title track samples some very nice IDM-ish beats, and resembles a lot 'A Song for a Girl', from the previous release. If this were to be a pop album, I'd choose this one as the single, hands down. But hey, 'New worlds ahead' could also be a really nice single too!
This album features a truly dark and minimal ambient 'remix version' of 'Deep inside', by finnish musician Jari Pitkänen, that comes as an excellent mood shift somewhere in the middle of the album. But there aren't that many 'dark' moods as one would assume from Erik, founder of Mirakelmusik, an excellent dark ambient swedish label. It's as if Erik was trying to detach this moniker from the genre where he feels mostly at home. Well, he did it, at least for good measure he did it. More than half of Vägskäl's work - including stuff from other labels as well - clearly touches more sky than ground. There are plenty of uplifting beats throughout.
'The falling star' is yet another and obvious point of contact with last release's 'The fading star'. Shares the same dark moody theme, a similar waving and pulsating drone, same sort of mechanical samples. The two tracks were most probably made at the same time. One of my favorites and one that, in my opinion, best characterizes Vägskäl's work.
Time for a goodbye, as the suggestively titled 'Someday, somewhere', well... suggests. This wasn't actually the beginning of something great, but the end. Outstanding. Rest in peace, Vägskäl.» - Pedro Leitão


April 25, 2007


Green Web Hosting! This site hosted by DreamHost.

test tube is hosted in a carbon neutral hosting company, Dreamhost. Therefore, all its hosted websites are green too.
Learn more about why we're carbon neutral here.


April 22, 2007


A couple of weeks after the DOPO feature at Foxy Digitalis' blog (April 06), contributor Brad Rose (yay!) wrote a few lines about our recent DVD compilation. It reads:

«(...) test tube, from portugal, has been going strong for almost 3 years now and has released almost 75 free, mp3 albums, eps, etc. to celebrate the 75th release, they're making an incredible offer. for about 9 euros ($13 for us yanks), you can order a DVDR with EVERY SINGLE RELEASE they've done. it's over 40 hours of music; 400 songs, and there are 10 different covers available (all of which look pretty great). seriously, it's one of the best deals around. the music ranges from dozens of different styles, and it's not all for everyone - but within those digital realms, there are some really solid releases and true gems. so head on over to test tube and pony up the 9 euros, or $13 - whatever. it's a great way to support a group of folks who have offered up so much for free.»

Once again, big thanks to Brad for supporting test tube in more than one way. You're great, man!


April 20, 2007


tube'|072 - Michael Trommer - Sleeping Satellites

«test tube kindly welcomes canadian Michael Trommer into the family with this amazing 'Sleeping Satellites', a sci-fi ambient masterpiece. On a side note, most of the pieces in this work remind me of film score composer Cliff Martinez, who has done a tremendously good job with the score for the 2002 remake 'Solaris', by Steven Soderbergh. Michael, a bit like Martinez, infuses his music with some untangible feeling of loss and we end up feeling emotionally connected with most of his tracks. Michael could well be doing great sci-fi scores too, if life was fair.
Trackwise, 'Huygens 2' is my favorite track. Not because it is named after a famous satellite, but because it cumulates all those emotional/nostalgic feelings in its core. Because it is purely a time-machine, which transports us to some moment in our past, a moment where we would like to visit again, again and again in every possible way, and stay there.
'Air ( )' is also a personal favorite. It's one of the few tracks of this album with an underlying beat to its structure and a very minimal drone supporting it, placing it near the IDM concept.
'Sleeping Satellites' closes this release, and with appropriate minimal style. It builds up from a voice-based drone, has a low profile beat like 'Air ( )', too, and slowly fades away into silence.
This is an album to listen to at a considerable high volume setting - or best yet, with your headphones -, because it has many subtle moments that need all the attention one could give. This is canadian ambient at its best.» - Pedro Leitão


April 10, 2007


tube'|071 - Penca Catalogue - This is Hair Care

«'This is Hair Care' is not an homage to the 1998 album of a well-known britpop outfit (wink-wink, nudge-nudge, its name rhymes with "gulp"). No, it's an EP of pop songs recorded in a lo-fi electronic way. No, it's not an '80s revival group - who the fuck cares anyway? it's already 2007 -, it's just a guy, his songs and his MySpace friends playing guitar, ukelele or drums.
An outdated robotic voice introduces the record, which often features lovely melodies, glitchy beats - even almost boom-bapy hip-hop beats one time -, organ instruments such as guitar and understated vocals. It's the work of Luis Sierra, a Spanish electronic producer who has been known as Penca Catalogue since 2002. He has released an EP on his own label, Sinclair-rrr Records, in 2004, but this is his first release out of his home since then, which will be followed by a couple more releases on other spanish netlabels.
'This is Hair Care' may be reminiscent of Khonnor's full length 2004 debut, 'Handwriting', but it's really more of a collaborative effort between Sierra and his friends, not the work of a 17 year old and his computer, and these are two different artists. Even so, before he was on Type, Khonnor released on netlabels, so maybe the future Khonnor is right here, right now.» - Rodrigo Nogueira


April 09, 2007


Foxy Digitalis' blog contributor Brad Rose (hi Brad!) wrote some very nice words (and totally deserved) about DOPO's so far two excellent releases here on test tube. Here's some snippets from the article:

«(...) The quintet has only been around for a little over 2 years, but in that time have produced a handful of wonderful releases. (...)
You can't beat free, especially when it's this damn good. (...)
"For the Entrance of the Sun" is a minor masterpiece, and one of the year's best so far. (...)»

Read the full article here.


April 08, 2007


test tube's friend and artist Pitch Boys - real name Nuno Meneses - finally has a proper homepage. Here you'll find all info on past and future releases, and more.


April 02, 2007


Creative Commons recently launched version 3.0 of the famous open source licenses. We are preparing to upgrade all of our content to this new version. Every work should have its own license upgraded in a couple of days, tops.



March 31, 2007


tube'|070 - Jan von Grafenstein - 13

«Another fresh pop-oriented insight into our catalogue, this time by Mr. Jan von Grafenstein who arrives from Germany lands. Jan is pretty much unknown in the netmusic scene, although he had a track - 'Luun' - released onto one of the famous Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tapes sometime ago. This thirteen track collection (hence the release title) that we're releasing could be easily filed under chillout, jazz fusion or even related to the highly productive late 90's Vienna scene. I guess we could call it 'old school' somehow.
Easygoing from beginning to end, with voluptous basslines, seductive orchestrations and crisp string arrangements, it has its apex with 'Backboogie', a fantastic and danceable track which pretty much sums up the whole album. Enjoy!» - Pedro Leitão

March 25, 2007


Hi there.
Our friend Jerome (aka NNY) is back with a brilliant new album, titled '++', put together with the help of Kazuya Mise and Filipe Cruz (aka ps). Filipe is the brain behind Enough Records and he's also responsible for the curious but excellent artwork we can see represented above.
'++' is a dark and experimental journey into ambient noise territories, full of glitch and weird drones.It was released by Almasud, an independent label from Madeira island. Check its website for info on the release. This is NNY's first physical release, mind you. Well done, Jerome!

(Be sure to get to know NNY's release on test tube, here.)


March 20, 2007


tube'|069 - Petr Drkula - 2

«Born and educated in the Czech Republic, Petr Drkula has a fine sense of repetition in music. You can easily breathe everything that he had learned in those matters over the last few years with his most recent work, «2». Contemporary composers like Terry Riley («A Rainbow In Curved Air», «Poppy Nogood»), Steve Reich, Erik Satie or the cadence of Brian Eno are an evident influence in this work. Although not explicit, eastern European folk music has an important role in this record. It runs the map of the melodies you hear and builds the road for which any of the other references above can be identified.
Because of that, «2» is a two-piece study over the importance of traditional vs. contemporary composition in the fields of electronic folk. «Duality» and «Polarity» are like one piece facing a mirror effect. They evolve from one beat-up drone, nearly raw and childish, that is over-produced with fake and incomplete melodies that, at the end, form one that is singular and kindly beautiful. «Duality» is more simple toned, transparent and direct, an underwater symphony that through repetition rises above. But «Polarity» is quite the opposite. You can easily daydream throughout its almost thirty minutes without any motivation of moving. You just want to stay there and see what happens or what you can or can not think of. It’s a child’s toy for adults who seek fulfillment through relaxation. It may seem lazy, but it’s nothing like that. It’s all about the basic mechanics of repetition in music, the complexity of movement over movement, even if it sounds, primarily, always the same.
Petr Drkula does in «2» what has been explored in some fields of music over the last fifty years. And it’s so damn close to perfection that you’ll feel sorry if you miss it.» - André Santos


March 18, 2007


As promised, all the 75 releases (including unreleased ones) from test tube are ready and production of the special DVD-R has started yesterday. We will serve pre-orders first, of course, and by order of arrival (older pre-orders first), which is the fair thing to do, as we are no factory and can only produce a small number of copies a day.

Also, as said before, the pre-order period has ended last friday and we have been forced to raise the price a bit (one euro) to cover for the updated costs of local mail charges. We're sorry but there's nothing we can do about this.

If you haven't order your copy yet, go ahead and do so. You'll be helping test tube to continue to put out excellent free music month after month.
Visit the DVD release page now.



March 15, 2007


Hey, we have great news: Test Tube and fellow netlabel Enough Records are producing/organizing some STFU gigs around here. Porto, Lisboa and Torres Vedras were the cities graced with the events. Check out the calendar here.

• e-Flyer for the south events (Lisboa & Torres Vedras)

The Porto gigs are scheduled for the previous weekend, that is, next weekend. Check out their webpage which has everything you need to know.

And be there!



March 10, 2007


tube'|068 - Bottegasonora - No Ordinary Day

«'Bottegasonora' - an italian word meaning something like 'Sonorous handicraft store' - is the musical self of Luca Ricatti, a Rome living musician who usually writes music for theatre plays and documentaries, but this time wanted to get away from his stressful day-to-day by writing a mini-concept album about what could be one out-of-the-ordinary day.
It starts with 'Late awake' and an alarm going off, ordering Luca to get off the bed. The day starts frantic with polyrhythmic beats and drum'n'bass style drums, but some soft guitars too, Luca likes them a lot. After that, Luca has to 'Drive to go to work', so he doesn't get there late as usual. This time we get some manic keyboards and basslines, as Luca tries to avoid the lunacy that is car traffic in Rome (and all of Italy, for that matter...). Maybe Luca's car starts floating near the end, because the track gets quite ethereal, a minute before he decides 'Leavin' the car, takin' a bicycle'. A cool decision, right? We must think global these days, and treat mother earth nice. Again, we are graced with Luca's guitars and he tried to mimic the feeling of bicycle riding, by panning the sound from left to right, and left again. Luca says he got this idea from 'In the Court of the Crimson King', back when he was a teenager listening to prog-rock. Yeah, yeah. Luca now has arrived to his work (we assume) and after another full day, he returns home, and there is already 'Night under the stars', a soothing melody made of guitar plucks and keyboard lines. But before wishing Luca good night and sweet dreams, there's still time to listen to 'Herbario nuovo', because Luca loves old technical illustration books, like the ones test tube takes some drawings from. Don't forget to watch the video too. Sleep well, Luca.» - Pedro Leitão


February 28, 2007


tube'|067 - the astroboy - A Derrota da Engrenagem

«You are in the middle of a moor surrounded by rustling leaves, misplaced smells and the wind howling around you. You’re peaceful but intrigued. You’re incomplete. You’re human and still you feel like this music, created mainly by machinery, is wiring you to earth.
Luís Fernandes is the musician responsible for these dreamy and subtle moods. Presenting his project as 'the astroboy', using synths, guitars, tr606 (a drum machine by Roland mainly used in the early acid house music scene) and sampling, he has been able to develop and present textures of sound that become appealing as you keep listening to them.
Exploring melody and drone, and obtaining balance between an atmospheric line of sounds, “A Derrota da Engrenagem” consists of a symbiosis between synths, guitar and samples. You should try it.» - Nuno Silva

«On his debut album 'the astroboy' suggests a codified description, a personal struggle, a relentless conflict that seeks an end, as is clear from the names of his songs. The result is nothing but a sensitive and serious record that will keep you from moving away from your music player.
In "A Derrota da Engrenagem", the songs presented by Luís Fernandes seem to be somewhere between post-rock, (occasionally) experimental, and some sort of atmospheric cruise. You'll picture one of his captain's logs, a report that will not appear abruptly, that will not produce harsh sounds for distracted listeners.
It might be a little hard though for those with spiritual breathing difficulties to survive this cruise, but if you choose to go on a trip with the astroboy you will be able to gaze at the stars through the amazing glass of his spaceship...» - Filipe Miranda


February 22, 2007



- Sven Swift from the excellent 12rec.net Netlabel recently started a mixtape netlabel called Thirteen Songs. Guess who was invited to do a mix?;

- In other news, test tube's DVD was featured at Remixtures. Thanks Manuel!;

- A Trompa also made a post about it and + a couple newsitems about our last two releases.



February 19, 2007


tube'|066 - Clorofila Azul - Revisitado (com Voz)

«Clorofila Azul is Hugo Santos, a talented multimedia artist from Porto with a major degree in Painting and a couple of minor ones in design, acting and several other stuff among the Arts. This release is the first of a two volume set to be released at test tube. This first one covers some of the best works Hugo has done using voice sampling and/or singing himself over, and the second volume will cover his instrumental works. Both volumes are the result of a personal selection (mine and Hugo's) taken from more than sixty tracks worth of CD's he recorded from 2000 to 2004.
It is fair to say that Clorofila Azul's early works were strongly influenced by late nineties IDM. The use of ambient textures and sincopated/truncated beats in 'Revisitado' two volume set reveals it clearly. But we can also discover other curious things from listening to this collection. Hugo expresses himself in two major styles: Sampling based work, mostly comical/funny use of radio recorded samples over repeated fat IDM beats, like in 'Optimismos na Europa', 'Agostinho' and 'Ocorreram dois Acidentes'. These tracks use portuguese voice samples; The other major style is a more introspective, emotional one: Hugo slows down the Bpms, adds some textured keyboard and soft bass lines and sings in english/portuguese about broken hearts and lost lovers, like in 'I love your soft skin under the moonlight', 'One night stand' or 'If you could only love me'.
The two different approaches together make up for an interesting trip into the human side of Clorofila Azul (portuguese for Blue Chlorophyll). Stay tuned for next release, coming up in early September.» - Pedro Leitão


February 18, 2007


Today I finished some updates to the website that were long due:

- The release pages: the old ones were a little awkward and narrow, resulting in a difficult reading. They're simpler now, just a big 460x460 thumbnail of the front cover at the top with everything else below. The downloads table is cleaner too;

- The mp3player: test tube now has sound embedded! I added a player to the home page called Jukebox, which has in its database every release. Yes, every single one, and it's set on shuffle, so let it rip! I also added players to every release page. All future release pages will have its player, of course. The player uses the same bitrate mp3 files from the releases, which means high quality sound. One final note: you'll need the flash player installed before being able to enjoy the music.



February 14, 2007


• tube'|dvd001 - v/a - test tube collected works 001 ~ 075 (on pre-order)

Oh yes!
Now on pre-order (ready for shipping by late March), this beautifully packaged DVD-R compiles every release we did/will do from tube001 to tube075, plus a couple of extras to boot.
By the time the DVD-Rs will be printed, releases 071 to 075 are not released online yet, but we will include them anyway.

Pre-order now and be one of the first to get one copy delivered to your door. We haven't decided yet if this will be a limited edition or not, so... move it!

This DVD-R will be printed in 10 different covers to choose from. Learn more about this here.



February 10, 2007


tube'|065 - Room - Forms Elastic

«David W. Newman is the guy behind the mixing desk of Audiobuld Records, the sheffield independent label of Exploratory Electronic Music. David has released a couple of tracks in his own label compilations before, but this is his true first release worthy of the name.
'Forms Elastic' album is classic IDM shit. And it is good shit. Filled with 8bit arcade-style synth lines, broken beat patterns and throbbing basslines, it delivers ten asseptic tracks that takes us back to the time WARP was on top of the 'braindance' thing, with acts like AFX, Two Lone Swordsmen and Autechre, just to name the most important. And David's even from Sheffield too, so he knows his IDM book-of-rules like no one else.
'Percule' is easily one the best tracks 'Forms Elastic' has to offer: click-style percussions, playful synths and a sweet, fat bassline. As we go deeper into the album, David messes with our sense of prediction, going back and forth with twisting beats, leaving us without directions most of the time.
'Centred on elasticity' could be from Autechre's catalogue, and 'Community' reminds of earlier Metamatics stuff on Neo Ouija. 'Rubb' has an awesome and edgy synth line, unsuspected childlike melodies and a typical sense of nostalgia we could only find in this music style.
This LP could not be complete without a couple of warm blankets and deep ambient harmonics, like the ones 'Little electronic' has inside.
'Forms Elastic' is the perfect fix for all you IDM hardcore fans who still miss the artificial intelligence years.» - Pedro Leitão


February 03, 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 that 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 30, 2007


• tube'|064 - Feltro - Sunburnt

«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


• tube'|063 - DOPO - For the Entrance of the Sun

«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


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


Yo people!

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

HAPPY 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!




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