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2011 releases

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[interrupt: Jumper]
Language of Steel

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

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


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M A S & Travis McAlister
The Fade Out Room

«The opening track of M A S and Travis McAlister’s The Fade Out Room, “The room lies still during twilight” uses abrupt silences and ‘faulty’ instruments to create a hauntingly rough ambient album which is both old and new at the same time. Throughout the album, each track builds on this tension of the ambient and the unexplained. From the liner notes, it appears that the duo spent three years improvising on various instruments including bells, an optigan, a music box and others. There is a soothing feeling in The Fade Out Room which is created not through synths drones but rather by a familiarity with the music and its construction, which, of course, the listener is totally unfamiliar with. The Fade Out Room, in short, is outrageously strong and should not be missed.»
- David Nemeth [Acts of Silence] / December 19, 2011


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Dave Zeal
Animal Craft

«El canadiense Dave Zeal vuelve a publicar con Test Tube en solitario, después de su reciente y recurrente colaboración con su compatriota Daniel Maze en “Blueprints for insect architecture”. Este artista fue uno de los primeros que conocí al acercarme al universo netlabel, con su espectacular “Pieces of the Broken Road” para Top-40: aun hoy, 5 años después me lo sigue pareciendo. He de confesar cierta simpatía y predilección por algunos de los artistas que me dieron a conocer el mundo del netaudio. Poder seguir disfrutando de sus publicaciones libres es un motivo de gran alegría para mí, como en esta ocasión; en Test Tube: un netlabel imprescindible y fundamental. Aparte de todo esto el sonido que crea Dave Zeal es totalmente personal y único y me encanta. Se trata de un ambient “magnético”, de texturas terriblemente envolventes, compuestas de multitud de loops granulares, efectos, glitches y flujos de microsonidos que se solapan y entremezclan en un juego de tensión y fricción casi similar al de los movimientos telúricos. El sonido de Zeal me transmite esa fuerza descomunal. Impresionante, este disco se va directo a favoritos.»
- Netlabels & News / November 19, 2011


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PREC
Cultural Revolution

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

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


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Slept.
On a bright day

«Slept. es un músico procedente de Polonia, quien ya ha pasado por Test Tube. Ahora presenta este nuevo lanzamiento On a Bright Day, un álbum en el que predomina ambientes con timbres y ruidos experimentales que por momentos son mas opacos y por otros mas claros. Algunas frecuencias específicamente distorsionadas van hincandose para un oído receptor dispuesto a buscar nuevas emociones y pensamientos. Muy Recomendado
- Triangular [Música Selection] / October 04, 2011


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Daniel Maze
Lush Premiere

«El penúltimo lanzamiento de test tube es este Ep que firma Daniel Maze, una colección de electrónica minimalista con bases crujientes y melodías escondidas. Un gran disco que puede recordar al sonido de raster-noton.»
- Oír para creer / October 20, 2011


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Ceptual
Songs for the Sun

«Desmond Hollins has been putting out some intriguing music over the last five years or so. You may know his music from the aliases of  A Sankip Hummad or Ceptual or Katrah-Quey, but regardless of the moniker, the music has been exceptional. Hollins latest release is Songs for the Sun on test tube. Gone are the subtle beats and the jazzy-feel of his earlier releases. Instead Hollins keeps his experimentation alive with various sound distortions and intentionally incomplete and choppy melodies. Songs for the Sun lies somewhere in the beach swirls of dawn and the lazy loops of an afternoon nap.»
- David Nemeth [Acts of Silence] / September 12, 2011


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Cristian Gualpa
Que mira el paisaje

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

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


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Naoto Taguchi
Untitled 8 fragments ordinaries sound materials

«El músico japonés Noato Taguchi vuelve a Test Tube dos años después, con la continuación del magistral “Untitled 9 fragments ordinaries sound materials” [tube159]. Grabaciones de campo y microsonidos se funden y mezclan de una forma totalmente natural, dando lugar a una musicalidad cristalina y sutil, que puede recordar a una caja de música. Este artista posee un lenguaje propio y muy personal, aunque dentro de una línea minimalista general que parece seguir la música electrónica japonesa. Muy recomendable.»
- Netlabels & News / July 10, 2011


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Starschreck
Raised in a spaceship

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

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


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Daniel Maze + Dave Zeal
Blueprints for insect architecture

«(...) The first track, “Parasite Rex”, sets the tone that the Blueprints for Insect Architecture is going to be filled with delicious noises and feedback instead of smooth synths and melodies. Small Airports smothered the earlier experimentation, but with a track like “Glimmer from the third eye”one hears Blueprints triumphing over Airports. The track I keep on coming back to is the indescribable ”Computer self aware”. And now that I’ve called it indescribable, like any good reviewer, I shall try to describe it. “Computer self aware” is part minimal techno, part noise, part ambient, part melody, but pure glitchy. It is a collage of all the musical tools that Zeal and Maze have at their disposable. If I had to choose between Airports and Blueprints, I’d definitely go for the latter as I groove to its experimental goodness. But, if you leaned towards Airports, I really do understand.»
- David Nemeth [Acts of Silence] / August 01, 2011


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Kendall Station
Mend

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

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


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Fescal
Into the atmosphere

«Release number 232 for the Portuguese Test Tube netlabel is quite the stunner, and after so many releases the quality never seems to dissipate into rehashed territories but rather glimmers in a new kind of light. Fescal presents his glimmering light on “Into the atmosphere”, an expansive and deep listen for the ears. Fescal is somewhat of a mysterious character, but I do know he is from South Korea and releases creative commons music under an alternative monika “Guanxi” (which can also be found on the wonderful Camomille Music).

But this is Fescal we are talking about, and ‘Into the atmosphere’ presents the sort of ambient that forms walls around you and traps you in. A delicate balance between static hiss and enveloping drones ebb and flow and collide into one another. On opener “Miss You” it sounds as if Fescal has recorded a million tiny metal balls dropping from a height onto a metal ground, a seemingly chaotic scenario translates into a calming and delicate tune. This is not the kind of ambient you put on in the background as it vies for your attention, and by the swirling, fractured drones of the ten minute epic “Lucky Man” you are convinced that you’ve made the right choice in stopping what you are doing for the day and devoting yourself to Fescal’s imaginative world.»
- Alexander [Netlabelism Magazine] / May 16, 2011


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The Sales Department
Sinkholes

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

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


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The Strait of Anain
Scotthaven

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

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


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Gutta Percha
A Crawlspace Companion

«A Crawlspace Companion is the sophomore effort by the brothers Hibbett from Illinois, USA. The 5-pieced set rings out as if an indicative approach of ambient music on getting aware of itself. However, it subsequently gets conscious of itself. It offers up warm yet haunting arcs of soundscapes being synergized with the samples from the scenes of ancient music and dark-hued orchestrated pieces. In fact, being adequately accented it evokes lots of memories with no certain addresses and hints at, however, reminding of the genuine works by James Kirby aka The Caretaker. Just great. [9.6/10]»
- Borealiscape [Recent Music Heroes] / July 06, 2011


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VACVVM
Peaceful Atom

«Another beautiful release by the dear netlabel Test Tube. As I hear the static and hissing waves of Peaceful Atom, my eyes involuntarily close. Perhaps as way of paying respect to the Chernobyl victims and all the areas affected by nuclear “accidents” and “non-accidents” around the planet (exempli gratia). In my visualizations, the residual radiation hazard is omnipresent and I cannot escape reflecting about hot particles, radioactive contamination, and the different forms of pollution in our brains. Of course, the eerie part is that the padded chords infused in most of these pieces make this experience ambiguously delightful. Thank you Guglielmo Cherchi.»
- Sebastian Alvarez [Wanderlust] / February 19, 2011


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project_unknown
Undefined static forms of monotone structures

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


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Ricardo Webbens
Analogue Mountains

«(...) The first track of Analog Mountains is “Lithospheric”, a 22-minute delicate ambient track, filled with vague drones and whispers of glitches.  Its quietness could be mistaken as indistinctness, but it’s this subtleness that gives the track a certain accomplished aura. And then “Orogenic” abruptly turns the listener to the dark ambient, the noise. The second track is filled with a shadowy static that steadily increases in volume, its glitches are more pronounced and the drones have morphed into more abrasive tones. Though “Orogenic” might seem a startling change mid-stream, listening to Webbens other work, shows that it is not unexpected. Analog Mountains ends with “Epeirogenic”, a track more inline with the album’s opening though the glitches are replace with field recording fragments and there is the entry of slight, repetitive beats. Webbens’ work may turn out be challenging to some especially after the ambient beauty of first track, but for this reviewer, it is the demands that Webbens puts on to this listener which makes Analog Mountains so absorbing.»
- David Nemeth [Acts of Silence] February 24, 2011


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Rico Püstel
Marquee Strat

«I am pretty giddy about finding this release. This is in fact rock music, a rarity for my netlabel reviews – and a rarity for netlabels in general, which is kinda sad really, but where do you find a drummer, anyhow?

Marquee Strats a great collection of songs with a sound directly in the vein of math rock, sounding not unlike Dianoga or a bit of Don Caballero. I have no idea if Rico is doing the modal/time change stuff (I could tell you if I saw the music, but for some reason, by ear, I am horrible at it) that are the hallmarks of the genre, even so it has the same flavor.

Back to Marquee Strat: what makes it so good is that it has all of the hallmarks of the genre, and all are done quite well. The melodies are heavy on the arpeggiation and the harmony portions do a good job of varying and returning to support the melodic bits. Each track is different but they all have  cohesiveness that really works well together where they sort of glide from one to the other. It’s definitely a release that makes it easy to just let it play through!»
- Eric Fescenmeyer / January 07, 2011


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