test tube news ~ #013 ~ dez 2007
ALMOST ANOTHER YEAR
Almost a year of newsletters completed since we started this feature last January. I hope this hasn't been a burden on your mailbox as we tried to keep mailing activities to a minimum of one each month. Anyway, thanks for subscribing and we hope you'll keep bearing with us for another twelve months.
And now the monthly digest: We managed to put out three releases despite going through a computer upgrade very close to the end of the month. Everything went more or less as expected, with only a minor problem related to the RAM not being 100% compatible with the new mainboard. Apparently, that happens frequently.
In any case, we offered three excellent releases, one of them being the landmark 100th release, huzzah! It's not just very important to us as a label but also to the dozens of artists that have made this possible. tube100 was handled beautifully by Pitch Boys album 'Son of a Pitch', which was very important to the label. We also had one of our favorites last month, when it comes to soothing ambient made ou of field recordings, with James McDougall and his Entia Non project. The last release was a trip into psychedelic pop-drone (just made it up) territory, with 'Atractores Extraños II' by an unusual band coming from the Canary Islands.
And now the last releases of 2007: Already out is a nostalgic ambient masterpiece by polish musician krypton, called 'Silent Drama', and next we will have Motown Junkie with a selection of sample-based cut'n'paste groovy tracks and after that Cory Allen, another ambient genius, and then Eye, a musical project made by a dancer, and then the return of L.A. based Norman Fairbanks, just in time to wrap up this year. wheew!
See you in 2008!
November 27, 2007
PSYCHEDELIA FROM THE ATLANTIC
• tube'|101 - G.A.F. - Atractores Extraños II or, we are happy on the another 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
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
THE ART OF CHILLIN' OUT
• 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
THE PERFECT DREAMSCAPE
• 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]
#10 - 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.