m¨c website

2007 releases

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


«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

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

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

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

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. (...)
'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. (...)» - Pedro Leitão

Pitch Boys
Son of a Pitch

«(...) 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

Entia Non

«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'. (...) '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. (...)» - Pedro Leitão

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. (...)» - Pedro Leitão

Organic Anagram
London By Night

«(...) '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

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

Long Desert Cowboy

«"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

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

Country at the River of Friendship

«(...) 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

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

Hugo Paquete

«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.(...)» - Pedro Leitão

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

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

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

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

Billy Gomberg

«(...) 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

Christopher McFall
Self-preservation intact with teeth

«(...) 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."
(...) 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

Spirit Elevating Brains
Raw adventures of the strident, harsh and sweet returnee

«(...) 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

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

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

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

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

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.
(...) 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

RoomNumber: 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... (...)» - Olliver Wichmann

Nodepet for Sail

«'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

Friends reinterpreatations of unreleased 332 variations volume 1

«(...) 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

The opulent lifestyle of dynomite sounds

«(...) 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

Live at Barnsdall 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

This could've been the beginning of something great

«(...) 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. (...) 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. (...) '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. (...)» - Pedro Leitão

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.
(...) 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

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

Jan von Grafenstein

«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

Petr Drkula

«(...) 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. (...)» - André Santos

No 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

the astroboy
A Derrota da Engrenagem

«(...) 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

«(...) 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

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'. (...)» - Pedro Leitão

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.
(...) '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. (...)» - Pedro Leitão


«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

For the Entrance of the Sun

«(...) 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.
(...) 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


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