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2006 releases

tube'|062
A Sankip Hummad
Lamiales

«Son of a multi-instrumentalist whom played in New Orleans Jazz/Blues bands, Desmond Hollins started making music in 2001. This Minnesota citizen’s music is being put out under a couple of different monikers. Katrah Quey is more hip hop oriented, Ceptual and Palet more ambient and now test tube releases a record from his new alias, A Sankip Hummad, which reveals some of Desmond’s electronic influences (Arovane, Jan Jelinek, Boards of Canada) and a subtle reference to what people like Prefuse 73, RJD2 or even El-P did to hip hop.
‘Lamiales’ is a sum of his influences, with lots of drowned beats hanging around in a mutant ambience that it’s mostly warm but sometimes everything floats in a mixed scenario surprisingly shadowy and colder, in songs like ‘Inague’ and ‘Sapping Dust for Tyme’. ‘Ysopp’ and ‘Hazel Intentions’ share the world with Boards of Canada in a subtle and gentle way. In the other hand ‘Caltrop’ reveals some of Desmond’s hip hop influences with a handful of cool slowed motion beats.
This first release by A Sankip Hummad is one that will make a good company this winter. It’ll detach you from the cold outside and, most likely, from the rest of the world too.» - André Santos


tube'|061
Project Swirl
Alpha Centauri EP

«One day, not long ago, Hungarian Daniel P. decided to create some loops for his radio show at Torespont Radio. Some of those loops grew into tracks and that's pretty much the story behind Project Swirl, Daniel's minimal dub-infused electro outfit. Since then, he has released a couple of EPs - on Eastern Recordings and Inoquo netlabels - and a compilation track in some Russian underground netlabel. Meanwhile, a couple more are underway, and this one 'Alpha Centauri EP' fell in test tube's lap some months ago. And we're glad it did.
Project Swirl's sound comes as a true descendant of oldschool Basic Channel material, with a bit of monolake's minimal techno and ~scape's future dub into the mix. While 'Alpha Centauri' travels mostly into electro-techno territory, Logical and Illogical (two faces of the same coin, so to speak...) are truly dubish pieces, reminders of Deadbeat's more down to earth 'dance' tracks, but with a slight touch of german cerebral techno for good measure. 'Tn' comes from Daniel's more 'experimental' side, if you wish. It's downbeat and not for the dance floor, but nice anyway. Sweet!» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|060
Glenn Brown
Sodium Light City

«Message to our non-portuguese speaking readers: We don't have proper english liner notes for this release. We have comissioned them to our good friend and fan Samuel Jerónimo (also an artist/composer) and he expressed himself in his mother-tongue. Even a very good translation would lose most of the semantic value of his excellent text, so... we did nothing to it. Nevertheless, I'll try to put Glenn Brown's release into perspective. Mr. Brown is a guitar player from the Jazz/Prog old school, and he does dark ambient with this classic rock instrument. Now don't try to imagine what this aussie has done. Just download it and have a good listen. Play it loud but softly. And up that 'bass' dial on your amplifier.»
- Pedro Leitão


tube'|059
My Fun
Idyll EP

«Lazy Saturdays, lounging about on the comfy couch while looking out the window into the impossibly blue sky, the slight Autumn breeze kept out by the thick glass while the resonant sound of wind chimes, swinging lazily somewhere out in the neighbourhood as the breeze wafts by, floats ethereally into the house. Pigeons fly. Kids laugh and play. The trees sway. For a moment, everything seems perfect: even in here, with the TV turned on to the lowest audible hush above silence, an imperceptible white noise that fades in and out of the sound picture, along the breeze, the chimes, the kids, the sound of the lift going up and down the building, the doors that slam or the keys that fit the lock, the cellphones ringing in the distance, the soup pot boiling on the stove, the washing machine humming. You find yourself attuned to every single one of these sounds as, like a huge flock of birds crossing the sky, they fly in and out of your sight line — or should that be the hearing line? — in an ever-changing, ever-moving formless shape that changes contours, patterns, length at the batting of an eyelid. (...)» - Jorge Mourinha


tube'|058
on_14
Forest

«(...) 'Forest' compiles three new studio recordings and a live one, called 'Taste'. I don't know were or why Aogu recorded this live track and chose to include it here. But, interesting enough, it fits perfectly. 'Taste (live)' and 'After Summer' - the opening and closing pieces of this new EP - are very similar in form and much in the same line structurally as the previous test tube release: long and wavy drones ondulating in the cosmos, freely, in solitude. But there's also a slight difference, because this time Aogu didn't let them loose enough to reach distortion levels.
With the 'Forest' pieces, we also find resemblances to 'Endlessly, Sweetly and Slightly', not structurally but musically: The rough edges of the drones and the 'on the red' distortion pedal effects are pretty much the same. But the similarities end here. Aogu added another layer to the drone mass, a discrete drum beat and chimes. This percussion layer is present in part one and two of 'Forest' at all times, 'though it gets muffled up here and then by the sharp drones. But it's an interesting addition, as it draws the listener away from the noise pool... and back again, repeatedly. And then it comes 'After Summer', which is the perfect ending for this awesome work.» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|057
Mezzo
Ostracismo

«(...) As a sound artist, Miguel is known as Mezzo, putting his laptop to work on low frequency signals and white noise and drone-based minimal electronica. Harsh stuff, and amazingly well done.
'Ostracismo', although being a very small release, inflicts variable levels of damage to our ears. And it's good.
'Track #01' is a small intro of low frequency clicks and cuts, Ryoji Ikeda style, and is somewhat violent. It takes 59 seconds to go away, 'though. 'Track #02', the longest track in this EP, starts with machine errors, like an electrical generator going berserk, sending SOS signals. Slowly, an underlying drone appears and takes control of the track. The rest is up to you to discover.
'Track #03', another short piece, an interlude-type of thing, is of a dissonant type of sound frequencies, a different kind of error, easier on the ears but also very interesting to explore. 'Track #04' is a personal favorite. It's an emotional drone, unfortunately too small to enjoy to its fullness. 'Track #05' is made of another type of interferences. You could almost visualize the wavefields of data being put out. Again, too damn short to put us in a transe. Awesome release. Now, can I have another 40 minutes of this, please?» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|056
Siegmar Fricke
Pharmaceutik 06

«(...) According to Fricke, «Pharmakustik might be a new path of sound-innovation in today's technological music that often lacks the approach of intense electromodulation by focusing just on preset sounds, melodies and familiar song structures. Instead, Pharmakustik consists of reduced and syncopated rhythmic patterns clinically filtered ambiences generated by sampling-technology, electro-modulated voices and linear structure. In detail, all single audio elements are heavily modulated by various electronic devices and therefore very futuristic and abstract. So far, the analogue and digital sound processing is the most important condition to create a medical pharma-sound that is clinical, artificial and of highest modulation standard. Automatic rhythm sequences are digitally dissected by bit-crushing and organic ambiences are constantly morphing by trembling waveforms and pitch-curves of complex effect periphery. Metallic minimalism of the rhythmic elements are combined with wide space-ambience. 'Pharmaceutik 06' is robotronic neuroblast in clear digital resolution and constant cellular morphing. (...) » - Pedro Leitão


tube'|055
Lezrod
Exploraciones sonoras de paisajes surreales y espacios infinitos

«(...) Is the name "Submar" an abreviation for Submarine? Only David will know for sure. But in this first piece, everything is dark. Sounds that could almost be labeled industrial group together and are splintered with samples of water moving. Almost no rhythm, apart from the waves of static and the flow and ebb of distant echoes of dark sounds. A gloomy landscape, with the comforting melancholy that only Lezrod can achieve.
(...) Lezrod continues in the line of his previous releases for Test Tube and Zymogen. Except that his sound is getting thicker and more intense. A listener that know his previous work will certainly guess who's behind the wheel here, but in this release, he no longer lets clicks'n'cuts have so much focus, preferring to bring into the light some field recordings, carefully controlled noise drones, static, slow broken rhythms that only start to make sense after a few listens, ambients (aquatic, i stress once again) that seem to flow like waves, and so many more layers of sound. Lezrod's sound is getting more difficult, but more rewarding in equal proportion.
The title says it all: sonic explorations of surreal landscapes and infinite spaces. This is the best description one could give.» - Luís Marta


tube'|054
Line Noise
Spacedust Planet

«From Florida comes Rudy Gonzalez, a young Brazilian-American producer who is true to his origins. Line Noise's release 'Spacedust Planet' is a two parts release, each one divided into three other sub-parts, but you should listen to each of the three parts without track intervals. Rudy combines Funk and Samba inspired percussion with glitchy 8bit effects, breaks and synth moods which are usually found in old and not-so-old works of Intelligent Dance Music.
Most of 'Funk Litmus (Part I)' is assembled with the aid of the Samba-like rhythms I speak of earlier, building up its complexity until close to the end of the track, when it joins into 'Part II' and works its way off into a different set of beats, aesthetically closer to IDM, shifting in style - going back to the Samba beat a couple of times - until it turns into the last part, 'Part III' which sounds like a 'cleaner' version of 'Part II'. More ambient grooves, less rhythm patterns and with a splice of nostalgia.
'Coconut Portals' is a different exercise. Rudy adds an 80's electric bass almost right from the beginning which invites us to dance - or at least to nod. Again, it grows complex through the second part. The bass takes some time off and the beat turns dry and heavy. 'Part III' comes sooner than we think - Funk Litmus is a bigger track - and comes descending, taking down some beats and upping some keyboards.» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|053
Landfill
Panorama de uma vida normal

«(...) Cowboys and factory workers dancing in the streets of a long-gone country, as Iceland meets South America and China – this is the soundtrack to any kind of living person in its most absurd and realistic form. The odyssey is not a pretentious one, it leads you only to everything you know, as your knowledge is always limited to everything you conceive as real or imaginary, and the definition of both – and dream...
With old-age keyboards floating on the back of our minds, the voices mumble unintelligible words as the guitars grow into the foreseeable chaos of the end of any given day. There is no illusion to follow, this is a dream as cruel as reality, with roads leading to wrong places, with obstacles around every single bend, and the wind whistling in every direction, assuring you that there is no right path to follow.
Banda Sonora Para Um Dia Normal (Soundtrack to an Ordinary Day) and Vida Constante (Constant Life) – a voyage into the subconscious states of the mind, into happiness and melancholy, rage and reason.
Mais Um Dia Igual (Another Similar Day) is a review of the day that is about to end, with its ups and downs, in and outs, or the lack of any of them.
As pragmatic and absurd as life can be, the journey is granted, whether you like it or not, for life is yours to decide, but only in small amounts.» - António Correia


tube'|052
Con 7
Don'thavemychance

«(...) 'Have' continues somewhere where 'Don't' left. Another voice, different sounding, is repeating another phrase, something that I cannot understand. My french isn't perfect, but I know it's something weird. Again, several percussion effects punctuate this track, like clapping sounds and steel drums. Feedback screams and horns and various other agressive effects. Massive.
There's a continuous sound right from the beginning of 'My' that can be found on the first two tracks. Perhaps Laurent is telling us that they should be all together, sequencially, but this was not possible by some misterious reason. This is the most kind-of-ambient track. No percussion fuckups, nothing like that. But pretty much agressive like the previous two, oh yeah.
Hélas, and we're down to the last one. Just when this was starting to sound really interesting. 'Chance' has many of the sound elements used previously, but somehow managed to integrate some basic notions of melody and harmony without killing the agressive base that is Laurent's creative signature. This one is kinda Hip Hopish, actually. Dirty and rusty, reminding of some stuff that Daedelus and other beat experimentalists have done in the past. A real keeper! Nice one, Laurent!» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|051
OCP
Sound Check

«(...) Some months ago, João submitted this 'Sound Check' piece to Test Tube, asked me to listen to it and later to think about publishing it. Usually I like long pieces, yes, but this one got my special attention. This 55 minute track is not your typical drone-ambient-long-as-hell-track that makes you want to go to bed. No. 'Sound Check' has many different personalities inside its shell, many different mood shifts. It has ambient moments, noise and glitch parts, beat sequences, everything you can imagine in the abstract electronics genre. It's sad sometimes, but also has its bright and sunny moments. Taking its title literally, it could be a sound check for João's latest sound database, a work in progress for something else yet to be born. But it's already alive, trying to break the outside shell and mutate into that 'something else'.
One of my favorite sequences starts at minute 20, a funky electro/IDM driven dialogue that wants to pull you out of your chair and throw you into the dancefloor, but never makes the decision. Mighty, mighty soundcheck.»
- Pedro Leitão


tube'|050
Desolation Wilderness
Sense Pulse Vision

«(...) Arc of A Bird' starts with some very emotional synth lines, melodical and nostalgic, that start to open up to filtered percussion and rhythmic fx. There's a twist in it after a couple of minutes, introducing some new elements, like bass, staying in the background for some time. Nic's compositions need some time and room to breathe and gain some strenght to make it to the end. This song is a perfect example.
'Mumbai Slum (Version 2)' is a long piece, which actually feels longer than it really is. Very slow paced, like a slow motion digital symphony, it sucks us into its void of synths until you lose track of time. This is a really hipnotic track, although Nic doesn't use any drone elements in it. Nicely accomplished.
'Winter Forest' works as the EP's interlude, building up a church-like melody of organs and synth effects, with some interesting reverb and sharp sounds underneath. (...)
We're left with the feeling that Nicolaas still has much more to say, and we hope he continues to deliver. Nice one.» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|049
Diatribes
Parenthèse Polonaise

«(...) More than free jazz or noise, this music is descendant of European driven free/improv, in the lines of Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink or Peter Brötzmann. Right on the first track, “Cieszyn 1.1”, there is a percussion sequence which evokes Tony Oxley experiences. d’Incise’s work, on laptop and effects, complements the percussion action, forming a cohesive sound block. Gaël Riondel’s blowing works as contraposition, in an insanely interaction. Sometimes the drums elaborate a certain rhythmic steadiness, but don’t extend it on too rigid formulas, the blowing is strong and inconstant, and the effects sharp ‘round the corners. The recording, with all the background room and audience noise, probably isn’t the most appropriate for audiophile fans, but encapsulates the session’s informality – and, consequently, the expressively freedom of this music. As the most evident example of this trio’s creativity, there is track #11, “Trzebinia 1.4”, where tribal sounds are mixed together with crescendos and noise. The following track, “Bielsko Biala 1.3”, on the other hand goes to more familiar territories; it is a piece closely related to the free jazz of the New York loft scene, circa 1969. Closing the album, an 8 and a half minutes track starts slowly just to grow until it arrives to a diabolic free finale.» - Nuno Catarino


tube'|048
Dave Zeal
Trinidad

«Back to IDM again, by the hand of Canadian boy Dave Zeal. Zeal has previously released works on italian Sinewaves and on Top-40 netlabels.
Trinidad offers us eight tracks in twenty minutes, which seems somewhat short, but Dave crafts some pretty interesting IDM textures into those short bursts. This work sounds like it's clearly influenced by early nineties Warp artists, but also by some north-american IDM, namely from defunct M3rck label.
Angled beats carried around freely with backdrop dreamy keyboards on 'Cube Dweller'; Caribbean percussion under the influence of BoC-like textured ambience on 'Panmen'; Fuzzy Hip-Hop, heavy filtered through 8-bit-beat machines on 'Dive'; Future Jazz piano paired with broken but steady beats on 'Shorts' or Ambient cinematic soundscapes on 'Trinity Haze', the longest piece, and a personal favorite, which really stands out here. Find it all in Trinidad. We could easily take another twenty minutes, Dave. C'mon...» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|047
Ceckj
Lone Night Thracks Vol. 1

«Maxim Shubski - the person behind Ceckj - comes from Ukraine, formerly a Soviet state and now an independent country in its own right. Amazingly or not, some of the best eastern bloc contemporary electronica comes from Ukraine. Names like Gultskra Artikler, Andrey Kiritchenko and Katia Zavoloka, among others, are getting some well deserved attention from international mediums like UK's Wire Magazine and a bunch of music news websites. Not surprising, because Ukrainian Electronica is really something unique.
Ceckj may well become another name to keep. Maxim blends edgy and rough samples with chamber-like organ music, delivering some weird but emotional soundscapes. Take 'Blood Thrack', for instance. It could easily be part of some horror movie, illustrating a scene where some victim is being observed, before getting brutally massacred. Or it could be something else completely different. Ceckj's music is so full of layers and tonalities that it's hard to catalogue into a single style or mood. But it's a downward spiral, nevertheless. 'Tubby Thrack', with all its different reworks mashed together, is a perfect example of Shubski's multiple mood swinging. Highly recommended.
'Lone Night Thracks Vol. 1' is better with headphones on.» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|046
Peacee F Moya
Mouth for Sore Sight

«
Moved away from the untied notes which were characteristic of his previews works, “Mouth for Sore Sight” divides itself into two long tracks [“Four” and “Three (Exodic)”], two creation places that grow as they absorb small elements along the way. Here the work is all about the progressive adding of elements which sustain some immense spiral stairs made of sound. In the end, all that remains is an almost ghost-like ambience feel: almost, almost whispered slow-motion post-rock, Peacee F Moya is uncompromised freedom in permanent construction. “Lo-Fi isn’t an aesthetic statement, it’s the logical result of a somewhat disorganized working method”, Dâmaso once said. If disorder is in some way responsible for the creation of these unsuspected droopy textures, then let the world abandon once and for all that yuppie thing about organization.»
- Nuno Catarino


tube'|045
Daniel Maze
How's the Serenity EP

«Every song has the typical melancholy of past memories and, like we do in our mind, Daniel stops and rewinds a detail or a particular element to focus on it, freezing sweet melodies and textures, and then, suddenly, blocks everything out, remembering you that nice memories sooner or later end, and a song like “Don't cry Jennifer” is there to give you these kind of feelings.
The ethereal melodies of “Chamber Music One” and “How's the Serenity” are even more evocative and the final “Safe for now” sounds like a recording session for magnetic tape, drones and stretched guitar... amazing how this strange ensemble works well together.

In this EP, Daniel sketches very emotive experimental music with a noticeable attention to melody and consistent to what he did before, but adding a delicacy and an inspiration that's not easy to find elsewhere.» - Filippo Aldovini


tube'|044
Maina
Love them, Hate them

«Isaac Cordal, multidisciplinary plastic artist, member of the Alg-a community, has always featured a metamorphic affinity with the human body through his works, be it with photography (Ola Calma, 2004) or be it with sound installations (Re-poso, 2004).
In this work, titled ‘Love them, Hate them’, Cordal accompanies himself by Maureen Kinnear, the voice that serves as a pendulum for the sampled sound oscillations which Isaac works on and filters out. In this EP, which takes us into the fantastic world of Antye Greie’s (AGF) e-poetry, and also to several cities, Maina sampled the most intimate and inhabited urbanity, the pain, the innocence, the screams and the revolt, which are here transformed and (re)created in a complete exercise of emotional self-closure.
The voice and the silence hand-to-hand, with the machine acting as language.»
- Bruno Barros


tube'|043
Kubik
Infinite Territory

«Victor Afonso is a portuguese musician living in Guarda, a city lying near Serra da Estrela (Star Mountain) at some 1000 meters above the sea level. He has been releasing music under the name Kubik (2 albums) as well as in many other projects. (...) “Infinite Territory” is his new release. It is a departure from earlier works, because here Victor Afonso decided to explore electronic music more close to the IDM genre. It is obvious from “Infinite Territory” that musicians like Amon Tobin or Aphex Twin play an important role as sources of inspiration. This EP is very well balanced between ambient soundscapes and bursts of drill’n’bass, showing Kubik at the maximum of his skills and inspiration. From phantasmagorical pieces like “Bona Fide”, to kinetically unstable tracks like “Infernis”, “Plus Ultra” and the surrealistic “Non Hilum” (perhaps the track more related with his previous works), Kubik shows up his personal view of what electronic music (or IDM) can be, with a great capability to create images in the mind of the listener, rather than being purely another kind of dance music. “Infinite Territory” is therefore a kind of a soundtrack of a lost science-fiction movie, lost in the outskirts of the galaxy (or, more precisely, of the mind), exploring lost territories and lost spirals that lie within the more pristine forces of nature.» - César A. Laia


tube'|042
e:4c
Documents

«(...) This is laptop electronica at its best.
'Documents' contains two long and untitled pieces, #1 and #2, with many distinct moments between the two, some lighter and some deeper. While #1 is a dark themed mass of artificial inteligence sounds, filled with glitches and static, machine crunching of binary data, supported by a low hum of drones, #2 is all light: a nostalgic and emotional piece, technologically advanced, full of spectral sounds, cymbals and processed voices like some living building struggling to reach the sky high. Keeping the analogy, #1 could be the underground section of this life-pulsating tower, with all kinds of machines feeding electrical energy into the upper floors, maintaining a constant flow of information. #2 is the visible part of this living synthetic organism, it's where it all happens, where it processes and catalogues all information gathered, like a gigantic database, building floor over floor, trying to reach the infinite. Amazing stuff.»
- Pedro Leitão


tube'|041
Sticking Drops
Meteo EP

«"Music happens somewhere else". I came up with that phrase when I needed one for lezrod's myspace site and later found that somebody else conceived it for an article on William Basinski and Richard Chartier's self-titled on the german magazine DE:Bug. This phrase describes very accurately the new release from Sticking Drops, a two people project from Italy. "Meteo" is one of the most interesting releases I have heard through 2006, and indeed happens somewhere else.
Lorenzo Tomio and Nicola Luchese managed to ellaborate an album where darkness and detail result in an awesome sonic experience where time runs in a creepy mode and space is merely a bizarre consequence of that.
This mixture of organic timbres and fragmented/chopped guitars creates a constant tension that results in a very hypnotic and fascinating experience; "Meteo" manages to keep the focus very intensely as the structures work in a very narrative way, very storytelling and yet very abstract.
Test Tube always releases pretty amazing material, but I have to say this record was very special for me and I am very honoured and glad to get to review it. Indeed an album that stands out.» - David Velez


tube'|040
INVADER
Reikai Sounds

«(...) This EP, named “Reikai Sounds”, is not at all like the animalistic material we can see on the latest live performances (on Japanese ground). If we focus on the body domain, of our still human body, and try a loose comparison with this unavoidable tension between technology and the self-body-entity, then yes, we can easily verify that also our tech-body is dependant on the threat to its own perfection, at least until its total termination – the extinction of the vital functions… “life is a plastic entity which associates the rigorous construction to the variability of expression.” [1] But let’s go back to the EP, a work constituted by 7 tracks that, I must confess to you, after watching the performance video, felt like a body massage somewhere in Tibet.
Cascading sounds of extreme purity, structurally well done and with a solid cadency, “Reikai Sounds” elevates the spirit and controls the mind, like harmonical vibrations on the quest for a vital energy from (to) the Universe. Low rhythm games, with no place for words, but with a place in the soul.»
- Bruno Barros


tube'|039
Norman Fairbanks
Graceland EP

«Now for some easy chillout breaks, for a change. LA based Norman Fairbanks doesn't do what we like to call 'difficult listening music'. No, he doesn't. Instead, he crafts some of the best lie-down-and-try-not-to-think kind of tunes that I've had the pleasure to listen to this year. Take a look at his website and tell me if those Hollywood streets aren't just the perfect scenario to enjoy the kind of lush downbeat tracks that make up this Graceland EP, while driving to your Corvette at cruise speed. (...)
Opener 'PCH1' stands for 'Pacific Coast Highway 1' and features very nice drumpads and all around great chillness. Sooothing synth melodies and quirky old school hi-hats with a dubbish reverb feel are also included.
'Mystified' goes back to Boards of Canada's earlier future nostalgia material, nineties. Starts off with acoustic guitar plucking, very pastoral, and turns into the most danceable track of the EP.
'90026' goes more downbeat ways again with more old school synth lines, and 'Graceland' finishes off with more upbeat beat programming, close enough to minimal techno that one could easily dance to it.
This EP perfectly encapsulates the sunset drive-by-feel of hollywood streets and boulevards. Chillout, LA style. Enjoy.» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|038
irish
The Pretty Album

«Maybe you remember irish from one of our first releases, tube008. More than a year ago, we wrote: «irish’s Understandings is a beautiful EP that sets the melancholic tone right from the beginning». Well, we can easily pick up where we left. irish's tone is still sad and melancholic much like it was months ago, but he has developed his style since then. He has cleaned up his sound a little and invited two of his friends to sing for this release.
'The Man of Dead Letters', featuring singer Mississippi Sunburst, is a childish-like song, with english male lyrics over a slow and heavy bass beat, soft keyboard drones and an insistent, deliberately untuned guitar. A mellow start for a 'Pretty Album'. (...)
'Theme of Emi', featuring japanese artist Tsurutin, is a beautiful little jewell to keep next to the heart. It balances some sweet girly lyrics - spoken in japanese - adorned by some really sad keyboards with more classic, dissonant and round IDM beats, to create a distant nostalgic effect. really special, this one.
'Curtain call for The Man', the last instrumental piece, closes this release with a nice touch: A kind of a lo-fi hip hop tune, with bubbling effects, lots of vinyl scratchin' and a weeping cello. Priceless stuff.» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|037
The Union Freego
Greetings from the NE

«And now for something completely different! The Union Freego (TUF) is a classic pop/rock band from the North-East of Italy - hence the title 'Greetings from the NE' - that plays classic indie-rock, north-american style.
We usually don't release rather obvious music genres or styles, but TUF seemed a nice twist to a somewhat linear catalogue, and after some listening we decided to go forward with it. Another recent motive for releasing this EP comes related with the band leaving electric instruments behind and focusing on acoustic ones, and also because one of the original members left the band and was replaced by a new guy.
Fans of Luna will find TUF their cup-of-tea right after the first song 'Something's Wrong'. R's vocals have that kind of bittersweet sounding that goes perfectly with the guitar and drums.
'Judo' is my favorite song. It has a delicious rhythmic section right from the start, and the lyrics are quite nice too.
There's not much more to be said: Well sung indie-rock played by alpine italians with a knack for basslines and nice guitar riffs.
18 minutes worth listening to. (...).» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|036
Barcos
Lyonteque

The first track "It's Beer" is quite drunk, sweet and harsh at the same time, with extremely groovy beats and basslines, and some background f/x reminding me of the semiconscious state of full drunkeness. This tune is really phat and gets me in a dark twisted groove.
"Kebuok", the second track, is rather sweet like a light hangover on a beautiful day with some nice feminine companion making you coffee and making you feel better all around. Very nice melodic progressions, the songs evolves in such a natural and beautiful way that you can do nothing but love it. Kebuok is very uplifting and fills your soul with joy and bliss: towards the end, the song takes an interesting turn that only enforces what the song already did over the first 3 quartets.
"(Fuck The, We Want)" is a short piece that momentarely puts you inna very scary and dark place. (...)
After I reviewed his album, I learned that Barcos is Vítor Lopes, who also records with the trio Frango. Well, Vítor's 'Lyonteque' is a great record with a bittersweet flavor, that sometimes has a sky-blue tonality and sometimes is dark as a dungeon.» - David Velez


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Motionfield
Northern Lights

«Swedish born Petter Friberg is a veteran when it comes to electronic dance music. He started producing underground techno back in the late 80's and issued a couple of twelve inches. After that, with partner Martin Frick under the alias Superstereo, he released three EPs of groovy danceable tunes, but after a few years he got into Eno and The Orb and began working in the ambient electronica field. As Motionfield, he has two excellent works published - one on Stadtgruen and another on Autoplate, Thinner's sublabel for ambient grooves. So, it's no less than an honour for test tube to feature his latest and third work, "Northern Lights".
(...) Naturally, 'Nordic Lights' is a blissful start for this release, shifting between two different layers of ambient, closely reminding of 90's ambient electronica and also of more recent Boards of Canada material. But nature also plays a role in this release: 'Enter the Polar Circle' recycles early Biosphere ice-scapes into a post-millennium Vangelis, Blade Runner era; 'Sounds from a lonely forest', grows from a cold cavern-shaped musical score into a sweet little drone, ripped out from - again - Boards of Canada's best interludes. (...) All in all, a perfect release for the nostalgic 90's adolescent inside us all.» - Pedro Leitão


tube'|034
Minus Pilots & Kenneth Kirschner
Unlit Cities

«In the first half of the twentieth century, the basic concepts of contemporary art and avant-garde were almost automatically connected to the ideology of progress. New York was the center of the world, a center "illustrated" by the gestures of Pollock's action painting, by the dripping of Kooning's grotesque work (see Women) and by a vast supply of right hemispheres capable of creating an equal whole without a central focus. (...)

Kenneth Kirschner, since he begun his recent work with Taylor Deupree, has demonstrated that if he was more than 60, he was surely to be a member of the New York School. In this particular improvisation work, Kenneth samples and manipulates some tail piano's notes, while British duo Minus Pilots picks up where he left and tries to tame the empty spaces, through a minimal digitalization, almost microscopic and microtonal. This experimentalism-based sound ornamentation is able to establish some kind of well structured "open source", but capable of an entirely non-patterned functional freedom, for a sound progress without an end, just like in Feldman's works. One of the best releases I've heard in a while, and an excellent start for 2006. Amen!» - Bruno Barros


tube'|033
Símio Superior
Como na Rádio

«Símio Superior is André Abel, also a member of the noise-funk band Dance Damage and one half of electronic experimentalists Tropa Macaca. He is solo here, manipulating samples to extreme sounding conditions, achieving some interesting and repetitive percussion forms.
Travelling close to industrial territory, Símio Superior (roughly translated to 'Simian Sapiens' from portuguese) sounds like a noise-rock band, without the drums and guitars, pushing noise boundaries to the limit, but never getting too close to feel the pain.
Keeper is the drone shaped 'Carabina, latrina' with an oblique glitchy sounding circular movement, but that's not all. 'Tez morena' grabs some voices sampled from the Animal Collective's repertory, cuts them to pieces, drowns them into sulphuric acid and bangs them into a wall while listening to some weird sounding african drums. Terrifying shit, I tell'ya.
'Laranja papaia' is the cleanest track of the lot (by André Abel's terms, that is...) with a nice little background hiss and chiming little bells, while the artist gently whispers something unintelligible into our heads. Creepy and great uneasy listening.» - Pedro Leitão


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