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2011 NEWS

December 31, 2011


tube'|244 - [interrupt: Jumper]
- Language of Steel

«'Language of Steel' gives the idea of modern and simplistic instrumental industrial music but it is also a return to an early emotional side on top of which the genre was built over since Trent Reznor turned itself into an ubiquous rockstar. But it also goes deeper, and tries to capture a sense of the abstract, arbitrary dark ambient that the nineties witnessed emerge in northern europe. 'Language of Steel' is all this, plus it has plenty of filtered out both electric and bass guitars. And if you pay really good attention, sometimes it even touches post rock territory. This is a kind of visceral slowed-down guitar based ambient that will leave you uneasy for sure.

'Language of Steel' comes from two of the same guys that brought you 'The Dark Ages of Technology' back in 2007 (tube090), Doc.AtmosfearCrush and Tomahawk plus another member of the [Esc.] Laboratory family, Harlequin. For the likes of you that need labels to go around, maybe we could call this something like 'evolved ambient industrial music'.»
- test tube


December 08, 2011


tube'|243 - M A S & Travis McAlister
- The Fade Out Room

It is with great pleasure and respect that we present this work from newcomers M A S & Travis McAlister here at test tube. We think that fans of The Caretaker and Gutta Percha will love this.
Following are some words from the artists explaining their work:

«M A S (aka Makram Abu-Shakra) and Travis McAlister are two musicians who used to play in various improv bands together during the early 90's in Southern California. Roughly a decade after they went their separate ways, a visit to Travis' home in Portland, Oregon led to a recording of mostly improvised music, which was to serve as the raw material for a project of careful craftsmanship that took three years to complete.

The result is an exploration of the warm, organic, and faulty sounds of vintage instruments, as well as an attempt to seek out (or invent?) an ambient side of early music genres such as old school jazz and the dream-like reverie of early black and white cinema. This is done from a minimalist musician's perspective which repeatedly strives to return to a core, abstract expression. As such, there is a dynamic interplay between structured melody and pure sound textures.

One has a sense of layers being peeled back to reveal deeper meaning, underscored by a recurring tendency towards sonic diminution and the fading out to silence. Hence, the name "The Fade Out Room".
The exploration of varying musical styles gives a sense of transparency to the album or an unfolding of dimensions, the shifts in the music at times resembling the soft peeling or shedding of layers to reveal more essential expressions.

The instruments played in The Fade Out Room include an optigan, an assortment of bells, various synths, a music box, and a plastic trumpet.

Makram Abu-Shakra was born in Lebanon and is now based in San Francisco. He is also an artist and a writer. Most of his work can be found here. Look for his first book to be published sometime in the next six months.
Travis McAlister was born in California and frequently performs live in Portland, Oregon. He is a member of Nequaquam Vacuum and The Krebsic Orkestar. He has earned a reputation of being a multi-instrumentalist and he also builds his own musical instruments.»
- test tube


November 09, 2011


tube'|242 - Dave Zeal
- Animal Craft

«Canadian musician and producer Dave Zeal does it again and delivers another amazing ambient release for test tube. Six months after releasing his newest collaboration with friend and neighbour Daniel Maze back in May - the amazing 'Blueprints for insect architecture' - this time he shows off what he's been cooking at his studio: 7 tracks of pure ambient and soft drone bliss.

I don't know about you, but I just love the sounds that Dave makes. This is going straight to our top 2011 releases list.»
- test tube


October 21, 2011


tube'|241 - PREC
- Cultural Revolution

«PREC is a portuguese free jazz/avant garde ensemble that plays 100% improv.
'Cultural Revolution' is a collection of edited material from several live sessions they did in 2010 and 2011.

If free jazz is your cup of tea, you'll love this.»
- test tube


September 27, 2011


tube'|240 - Slept.
- On a bright day

«Another returning artist here at test tube is W., best known for his alias Slept.
His previous release was suggestively named 'Slept. EP' and came out roughly two years ago, in September 2009.
This new release is called 'On a bright day' and features more dramatically flavored ambient drones, but now in a full lenght format... a proper album.

'On a bright day' is a beautiful work, and deserves your dedicated and commited attention. And it's a perfect thing that this is coming out in September...
Stereophonic headphones strongly recommended :).»
- test tube


August 22, 2011


tube'|239 - Daniel Maze
- Lush Premiere

«Shortly after the recent collaboration with his friend Dave Zeal - the excellent 'Blueprints for insect architecture' - here's Daniel Maze once again with a solid release, delivering his signature electronic music with ambient flavour.
'Lush Premiere' comes almost six years after Daniel's debut here at test tube, with the stunner 'How's the serenity EP' and keeps treading more or less the same way, mixing tape with voice loops (just compare the old 'Hungarian Grandparents' with the new '1933') and now adding some glitch minimal techno-ish beats, putting some nods on your head while doing it, which is a nice twist.

Daniel also has released works at 12rec and at the now extinct EKO label and Standard Klik Music, and another one on Magyar, a canadian imprint. They are all excellent of course, and highly recommended to anyone who's interested in this sort of straightforward ambient and wants to learn more about Daniel's work.

There is still plenty of glitch and lots of tape loops waiting for your love here, so put on your headphones, sit back, relax and enjoy another awesome Daniel Maze release.»
- test tube


August 04, 2011


tube'|238 - Ceptual
- Songs for the Sun

«Ceptual a.k.a. A Sankip Hummad a.k.a. Desmond Hollins is returning to test tube to present his new and amazing work made in the realms of experimental ambient. 'Songs for the sun' is an ambitious experiment in which Desmond mixes all his musical knowledge ranging from hip-hop to IDM to ambient music.

The outcome is a outstandingly rich collection of tunes that will make you dream and smile. Think Boards of Canada, think Folktronica, think early Brian Eno. Now think of something completely different. Yeah. Think about strolling about in your favorite woods or forest, looking above at the tree canopy... see the sun beams cracking through the leaves? Now imagine the perfect soundtrack for that (other than the nature itself, of course) and well, this is it.

Desmond has previously released as Ceptual for Miasmah and others, and as A Sankip Hummad here and here
- test tube


July 25, 2011


tube'|237 - Cristian Gualpa
- Que mira el paisaje

«Three and a half years and one hundred and thirty releases later, here's one of our favorite experimentalist from Argentina, Cristian Gualpa, and he brings a new EP named 'Que mira el paisaje'.
'Que mira el paisaje' keeps exploring the vein of the previous 'Flotante' EP, but with more future techno/electro/IDM sound explorations, so perhaps a little less on the experimental side and more straightforward this time around.

Still, 'Que mira el paisaje' is an excellent follow up to the previous release and perfectly captures the current mid-summer mood... late night chillouts, introspective get-togethers with close friends and lovers. Get this right now!»
- test tube


June 30, 2011


tube'|236 - Naoto Taguchi
- Untitled 8 fragments ordinaries sound materials

«Japanese musician Naoto Taguchi comes back to test tube for another release in his 'Untitled fragments' series. Not surprisingly, 'Untitled 8 fragments ordinaries sound materials' is the logical followup of the 'tube150' release we published more than two years ago.

Once again, expect more subtle field recordings mixed with gentle and apparently scattered electronic micro-sounds, in what is becoming Naoto's trademark aesthetics. Somehow, it's becoming clear to me that there's a distinctive 'Japanese electronica' feel about his music, some kind of minimalist music-box-like electronica.
Naoto's friend and artist Shigehiro is also once again responsible for the excellent artwork for the release. Enjoy!»
- test tube


June 23, 2011


tube'|235 - Starschreck
- Raised in a spaceship

«Dan Schreck returns with a new solo work after the collaboration album 'Lost soundtracks from the wizard of oz'. This time Dan goes farther away from experimental electronics into electro/synth territory.
'Raised in a spaceship' is a short EP that embraces danceable rhytmhs as well as vocoder lyrics and 8bit videogame soundtrack influences. Track 08 'Mario Sisters' is an obvious tribute to the worldwide famous Nintendo videogame.

We hope that you enjoy this as much as we did.»
- test tube


May 31, 2011


tube'|234 - Daniel Maze + Dave Zeal
- Blueprints for insect architecture

«Here's a treat from our good friends and returning artists from Canada Daniel Maze and Dave Zeal. 'Blueprints for insect architecture' is a step forward from their previous work here at test tube 'tube083' and perhaps both are lifting the veil and showing new directions in their future solo works.

'Blueprints for insect architecture', unlike 'Small Airports' or any of their individual solo efforts, is a very experimental based work. Granted, it may not seem like it at first, but with repeating listens it reveals new layers of complexity and a different approach regarding synthesis grown and sampled sounds. 'Small Airports' reminded me a lot some of the more experimental Boards of Canada tracks, but it sounded very 'popish' nonetheless. 'Blueprints' goes a step further and offers us new perspectives towards where electronic-pop ambient may go next. I think that Daniel and Dave have really fresh and new perspectives on experimental pop ambient and they're both artists that you should definitely follow in the future regarding collaborative and solo work.»
- test tube


May 22, 2011


tube'|233 - Kendall Station
- Mend

«Hailing from the USA is Michael Simpkins with his Kendall Station ambient project. Not much is known about this except for an excellent previous release on Endless Ascent 'Nebulae and Gridlock' and that maybe Michael grabbed the name from a well known train station at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Anyway, 'Mend' was a bit of long time waiting in line for the release schedule, but finally it came around and oh what a nice little EP it is! The first three tracks are pure light (as opposed to dark) ambient, something that Kendall Station works quite well. Fourth and last track 'Barge' is a short piece reminiscent of the calmest and most instrospective moments scottish act Boards of Canada had to offer in their days. Works a bit like an outroduction and works quite well in it. Perfect release for the spring days to come. Be sure to listen to this with you eyes closed or while contemplating a nature scene.» - test tube


April 25, 2011


tube'|232 - Fescal
- Into the atmosphere

«From South Korea we welcome a new artist to our ever growing test tube family, his nom de guerre: Fescal. He has previously released through a couple of labels, with his most notable work being 'Beautiful Neurotic' published by the reborned Camomille Music label.

Fescal's signature sound is a marvellous and seducing combination of hiss and low frequency drones with some sort of 'lowercase' dark ambient cleverly stitched to the mix with much subtlety, and then he uses those ingredients to build massive walls of sound that leave the listener simultaneously numb and amazed, and even euphoric sometimes, just like a good psychdrug should.
This little gem of an EP will easily be featured in my top 2011 releases.»
- test tube


April 13, 2011


tube'|231 - The Sales Department
- Sinkholes

«The third and last installment of this series started here and continued here by canadian music composer Mike Matheson, has come to an end. Like both its predecessors, 'Sinkholes' invests in gorgeous and intricately crafted beats that remind us how good good electronic music can be, especially this breed of the so called 'IDM'. Gentle pads and background ambient help build the rest of this excellent release. Hard to pick a favorite among all the tracks on offer.

This is certainly a good excuse for all of you to download the first two releases by The Sales department, '[Sub]ways' and 'A Practical Guide' and together with 'Sinkholes' play them all in a row. It's more than 60 minutes of really great canadian electronic music.»
- test tube


March 26, 2011


tube'|230 - The Strait of Anain - Scotthaven

«'Scotthaven' / Photos by Nathan Slover / Music by Wesley Slover

About the Project:
Two brothers, a photographer and musician, set out to use their disciplines to tell a story. Although it started with wanting to communicate a story, their interest shifted to the challenge of creating a story that is non-linear. 'Scotthaven' is that story. It documents time spent in a house that has been virtually unaffected by the last twenty years. A lot is left to the imagination of the listener, so enjoy your stay in Scotthaven.

How to listen to 'Scotthaven':
Since the story is non-linear it is designed to be played on random and repeat. To do this in iTunes create a playlist (command n), add the mp3s, set your desired crossfade time in preferences (anything works, play around with it!) and turn on random and repeat.
You can also arrange the piece yourself, so feel free to experience it how you want. Nicely done!»
- The Strait of Anain


March 06, 2011


tube'|229 - Gutta Percha - A Crawlspace Companion

«The strong fascination aroused by Gutta Percha is for the most part unutterable, which means that writing about their music could be sabotaged from the start. Accordingly, their biographic presentation is limited to a few scarce facts: it is a project by two brothers (Brent & Ryan Hibbett) from Illinois, one a multi-instrumentalist and the other a “sound architect”, and neither is particularly interested in showing his face in the few promotional photos that they make available.

Accounted for is a debut album, "Tube Overtures", at the emergent The Land Of, and their sophomore effort is now entrusted to the ever-vigilant test tube. And where Tube Overtures was a magical album, released into the air by antennas planted on North American roofs, A Crawlspace Companion contrasts by the way it lets itself be dragged by a living sludge filled with memories more obscure than those that haunted the previous record. While the TV series themes served as a motto for the free appropriations included in Tube Overtures, this time we may suspect that forgotten records from the basement serve as impetus for the assemblage of these pieces, put together and (dis)organized like the human subconscious. Gutta Percha not only play the forgotten music, but the dust accumulated over all those years— the same dust that, being scattered everywhere, makes everything more intriguing and engaging in the parallel universe where Gutta Percha operate.

The descent from the roof to the underground suggests verticality as the link between these two records, almost like a twist on the verticality that connects the two social classes in Robert Altman’s Gosford Park (and remember that the title of his last film also includes the word “companion”). Gutta Percha brew their own kind of candid music while being permanently seduced by the error. Among the five dealt cards in the Gutta Percha tarot, it is very likely that two of them will always remain hidden. And Gutta Percha know how to work this oscillation between the familiar and the unknown all too well.»
- Miguel Arsénio

"In Memory of Beverly Hibbett, 1943-2009"


March 05, 2011

It seems that there was an error in our release schedule and a release by Christoph Limbach was published recently by mistake. We want to publicly apologize the artist and the label that originally released that work - Contour Editions - and of course, this erroneous release was immediately deleted from our server.

We will then advance the next scheduled releases, so tube230 will become tube229 and so on... stay tuned for release 229 coming up tomorrow, Gutta Percha's "A Crawlspace Companion".

Thank you for understanding.

- test tube


February 14, 2011


tube'|228 - VACVVM - Peaceful Atom

«When it was born in the mind of italian musician Guglielmo Cherchi, 'Peaceful Atom' was intended to be a concept work about the Chernobyl disaster, and as a result of this some tracks are ideally connected to that topic: the title track (referring to the name of the first RBMK - Reactor Bolshoy Moshchnosty Kanalny - reactor), SCRAM (the emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor), Lava Flow (the melted material erupted from the reactor after the explosion), Leaving Pripyat (the evacuation of the nearest city to the powerplant), Worm Wood Forest (the dead trees killed by the radiations) and Ignalina's Sunset (Ignalina was the last nuclear powerplant to use a RBMK reactor, the same model involved in the Chernobyl disaster, which was only shut down in 2009).
The other songs don't belong to this concept but are related to the environment pollution problem in Russia: Oka and Yenisei are the two most polluted rivers in the planet; Pylons refers to the Shukhov towers (featured on the cover artwork), which were electricity pylons on the banks of the Oka river. The remaining track, Radiologos, is a stand-alone song, but features an original jingle aired in Soviet Russia's radio stations.

'Peaceful Atom' was entirely built from scratch using laptop-based synthesizers and electric guitar, with the exception of a few samples. On 'Worm Wood Forest': Arboretum Bad Grund by Inchadney at The Free Sound Project, on 'Radiologos': Soviet jingle and radio recordings taken with an old military tubes HF radio and on 'Leaving Pripyat': electrostatic hiss taken from an old Kenwood amplifier dating from the eighties at high volume.

Enjoy this release.»
- test tube (based on Guglielmo's description)


January 31, 2011


tube'|227 - project_unknown - Undefined static forms of monotone structures

«This is project_unknown again (check out tube156) with more minimal crazyness. This time around, he's playing with monotone sound structures, repeated untill your head goes numb and gets into the rhythmic pattern like an ant follows a path of sugar. Monolake comes a lot to my mind when I'm listening to this EP, especially 'Untitled #1' which has a lot in common with the 'Gobi The Desert' period from the german electronic project.
To listen very very loud!» - Pedro Leitão


January 17, 2011


tube'|226 - Ricardo Webbens - Analog Mountains

«Ricardo Webbens (Lisbon, 1973) is a multidisciplinary artist. Although he had a classical education in the visual arts (painting, drawing and sculpture), soon he became interested in the visual component of the emergent video art movement. He began by making video installations and experimenting with the early aesthetic of panning, already with several studies in aesthetic composition of color and functionality. Many of these works explored the dialectic that exists between work and experimentation referenced context.

Later, as he evolved with his work in the field of video art, he decided to test another artistic environment. In 1996 begins to explore music (focusing more on electronic music) and incorporate this new line of work in video art, becoming a hybrid artist, composing and creating more complete and complex works.

In 2001 he founded the Polar music project (in partnership with Nuno Rosa), and published a couple of works, with excellent reviews from the media (Public, enpegdigital, digital gravel, igloomag, etc.).

By 2004, Ricardo embarks once more on a journey through contemporary improvisation and followed several special projects and participated with artists from other areas such as dance and theater, like Clara Andermatt.

Kringles Cat and Mosquito are two forays into the field of jazz improvisation. Project Kringles Cat, a duo with the artist Travassos, is made of exploratory ramblings in the travel universe of contemporary environmental and experimentation of new concepts and instrumentation. Ricardo Webbens stands out in this field as an artist who makes and creates his own instruments in a personal search for collateral spaces in music.
Project Mosquito, with Hernâni Faustino, Travassos and Joaquim Trindade, is a tireless quest for three-dimensional panoramas and parallel universes where the demand for constant imagery brings to the work of these artists a soundscape almost mathematical but inconstant.

He then forms Tsuki, with José Lencastre, in order to create a compelling solution in the DIY movement. He also continues to work with video, doing some work for artists like Blockhead (Ninja Tune) and bllix (Audiobulb). On the other hand he is doing another kind of visual experimentation in the field of improvisation with Tiago Miranda (Loosers), at Lux Frágil and also at MusicBox (two of the most notorious Lisbon nightclubs).

'Analog Mountains' is the culmination of his work as an audio creator, using tools he learned and experiences he acquired from 10 years of continuous work.» - test tube


January 04, 2011


tube'|225 - Rico Püstel - Marquee Strat

«We welcome back Rico in brand new 2011 with a spanking new EP, called 'Marquee Strat'. This marks a bit of a depart from Rico's sound, at least for the time being, where he switched from fat beats and downbeat structures to sampled guitars and drums, electronic hardcore-punk-rock-whatever style, but still software sequenced. Reminds me a bit of Mogwai meets Fugazi.

Unusual and freshly fun. Enjoy!» - Pedro Leitão



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