Netlabel: test tube

edited December 2010 in Ambient
test tube is a Portuguese netlabel that I've just started exploring. Having benefited already in my short time here from the Passage and Resting Bell threads and not found one for test tube I thought I at least would be glad to see some recommendations from their output. For starters, I highly recommend this (electronic ambient with a gentle pace and lightly rhythmic touches, bears up under relistens):


Northern Lights


  • edited January 2011
    For the most part an excellent electronic/shoegaze/postrock (kind of) album:


    "The dawn fades away" is the showstopper of the album

    I've been searching for another brilliant TT album, "Daniel Maze - How's the Serenity EP", but this is nowhere to be found for download.
  • Thanks, brighternow, will check this out. I have been exploring testtube further but after listening to about 8 more albums had not found anything I could recommend. There's a lot of stuff there but it takes a bit of wading through.
  • edited January 2013
    - "«Saint Petersburg native Sax player Ilia Belorukov teams up with fellow russian musician Philip Croaton to create a single-piece long player of Improv. Jazzy ambient.
    Philip speaks about 'Un[view]mask[ed]' project: «Generally, every composition is a tale. A tale about past, feelings, emotions, etc. And here we have a complete story. I had an idea to create a journey, where some instruments went along with the listener. And the goal was that the listener could see about what happened to composition during this trip. Un[view]mask[ed] – it's a game without masks, witch remains indiscernible. (Unmasked, but unviewed).»
    Philip has been a constant in Ilia's musical work, as producer, musician and sound engineer. This particular work was also graced with the collaboration of trombone player Dmitriy Krotevich."

    'Un[view]mask[ed]' is in essence a long, dronesy downtempo-style tapestry of pre-built rhythmic patterns based on bass and ambient loops, that get complemented by several layers of improv. playing of sax, flute, trombone, harmonica and several levels of noise elements and drum loops, culminating in a contemporary electro-acoustic piece of rare beauty. Enjoy the journey.»

    - Pedro Leitão

    - My 2 cents: Brilliant !
  • edited September 2011
    I found the Daniel Maze EP:


    My 2 cents: WOW !
  • edited January 2011
    - Another great Test Tube EP:


    If you like this one you can safely grab the LP on Nishi:
    Minus Pilots - Boundless Walls [NSH053] (January 13, 2005)

    - I've got more Test Tube rec's up my sleeve, but I think I'll give it a rest for now.
  • tube034_460.jpg
    «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.
    Music gave birth to Feldman and Cage, Busoni's pupils, and all of them were improvising textured pieces, registries and intervals, some of which with more than 6 hours.
    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
  • edited September 2011
    Ricardo Webbens - Analog Mountains - (tube'|226 - 2010)
    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.
    - Acts of Silence.
    - My two cents: Excellent !
  • edited March 2011
    VACVVM - Peaceful Atom - (tube.228 February 14, 2011)
    "Peaceful Atom" was entirely built from scratch using laptop-based synthesizers and electric guitar, with the exception of a few samples. On 'Worm Wood Forest': Arboretum Bad Grund by Inchadney at The Free Sound Project, on 'Radiologos': Soviet jingle and radio recordings taken with an old military tubes HF radio and on 'Leaving Pripyat': electrostatic hiss taken from an old Kenwood amplifier dating from the eighties at high volume."
    «When it was born in the mind of italian musician Guglielmo Cherchi, 'Peaceful Atom' was intended to be a concept work about the Chernobyl disaster, and as a result of this some tracks are ideally connected to that topic: the title track (referring to the name of the first RBMK - Reactor Bolshoy Moshchnosty Kanalny - reactor), SCRAM (the emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor), Lava Flow (the melted material erupted from the reactor after the explosion), Leaving Pripyat (the evacuation of the nearest city to the powerplant), Worm Wood Forest (the dead trees killed by the radiations) and Ignalina's Sunset (Ignalina was the last nuclear powerplant to use a RBMK reactor, the same model involved in the Chernobyl disaster, which was only shut down in 2009)".
  • edited March 2011
    Love them, hate them by Maina
    «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

    «The vocals really make this release, throwing words as potent conveyors to a structure supported by skeletal electronics that erupt along a frighteningly pleasing and spacious melody.
    In some places glitchy, the tunes are fractured enough to evade predictability with their continuity cut sharply into focus - trimmed to the bone.
    The vocals evaporate towards the end of the album replaced by technological debris that washes over you in an itchy broken pulse of a beat.»

    My take: Glitschy, quite tuneful electronica with a spare beat (maybe a little reminiscent of Giuseppe Ielasi here and there?) and occasional found sounds and a female voice reading/intoning poetry every now and then. Rather nice. Though I am going to have to find a way of skipping the rather harrowing recording of a girl crying in track 3 - that's too close to reality to work as music for me.
  • edited June 2011
    Daniel Maze + Dave Zeal - Blueprints for insect architecture - [tube 234 - 2011]

    "Here's a treat from our good friends and returning artists from Canada Daniel Maze and Dave Zeal. 'Blueprints for insect architecture' is a step forward from their previous work here at test tube (tube083) and perhaps both are lifting the veil and showing new directions in their future solo works.
    'Blueprints for insect architecture', unlike 'Small Airports' or any of their individual solo efforts, is a very experimental based work. Granted, it may not seem like it at first, but with repeating listens it reveals new layers of complexity and a different approach regarding synthesis grown and sampled sounds. 'Small Airports' reminded me a lot some of the more experimental Boards of Canada tracks, but it sounded very 'popish' nonetheless. 'Blueprints' goes a step further and offers us new perspectives towards where electronic-pop ambient may go next. I think that Daniel and Dave have really fresh and new perspectives on experimental pop ambient and they're both artists that you should definitely follow in the future regarding collaborative and solo work."
  • edited June 2012
    - Another great Maze / Zeal outing :


    "'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,"

    - Just my words !
  • edited September 2011
    Daniel Maze has another new release on test tube, though personally it's not my favorite of his so far.

    I do want to point out this release by another artist:


    Songs for the Sun by Ceptual

    I posted it to the now listening thread a day or two ago and have been playing it on and off in the background while working for a couple of days. It serves very well for that purpose. A mixture of ambient textures, tinkly note, and slight glitschy rhythms, the overall effect is really quite pretty on many of the tracks. Free to download (so I'll stick it on the free stuff thread) or stream at test tube.

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

    The outcome is a outstandingly rich collection of tunes that will make you dream and smile. Think Boards of Canada, think Folktronica, think early Brian Eno. Now think of something completely different. Yeah. Think about strolling about in your favorite woods or forest, looking above at the tree canopy... see the sun beams cracking through the leaves? Now imagine the perfect soundtrack for that (other than the nature itself, of course) and well, this is it.
  • edited June 2012

    «And eighty releases later, Out Level (a.k.a. Luís Antero for field recording fans) returns with the second part of the sx guitar series (first part here).
    Again, the only source of audio material here is his guitar, with plenty of effects, feedback and loops to make it almost unrecognizable as a musical instrument.
    Enjoy the trip.»

    - test tube
  • tube246_460.jpg
    tube'|246 - February 07, 2012

    - "Sonically illustrative steampunk lullabies; alive with pleasantly twinkling chimes, plucked chords and whispy melodies all intertwined with sparse percussive elements, creating a mechanically soothing ruralism."
    - This music is free.
  • edited April 2013
    - A quite unique release for the experimental inclined:

    October 05, 2006

    - "OCP stands for Operador de Cabine Polivalente, an ongoing sound project by Jo
  • edited April 2013
    With thanks to PaulR . . . an excellent find:
    - "«Surtsey is a volcanic island located southwest of the coast of Iceland which didn't exist until November 14 1963, when an undersea eruption began rising until reaching sea level. This eruption lasted until June 5th 1967. It stopped and Surtsey reached its final size of 2.7 Km2. Since then, the erosion caused by the sea and wind have been diminishing the Surtsey's size. As of 2002, its size was just short of 1.4 Km2. (source: Wikipedia)

    Maybe Dave Court sought inspiration on that 'human lifespan' unique island, maybe not, but still, Surtsey's music is an ode to the elements.
    'Symphony No.1 For Strings: Antarctica' is also, according Dave's friend:

    "(...) a 30 minute ambient work incorporating elements of drone, ambient and contemporary classical music. Krzysztof Penderecki is stated as a direct influence, though the work itself shows few similarities bar the use of dissonance and tone clusters."

    This short album, if anything else, is proof that even a self-taught musician - Dave teached himself violin, piano and several other instruments - can carry talent, imagination and the will to put something like this to life.

    - Pedro Leitão - 2009
  • edited July 2014
    «The very last release of 2013 comes from a past test tube collaborator, Ilia Belorukov, who has amazed us before with works such as 'Still Fire' (tube147) made in partnership with Philip Croaton.
    Belorukov has a remarkable curriculum of releases, with many works put out by Clinical Archives, Nexsound and other outstanding labels.

    Belorukov's 'thing' is very much into Electro-acoustics, free improvisation, free jazz and similar disciplines. He plays the saxophone (tenor, alto and baritone) as well as the flute. In this release he plays alto saxophone, enhanced with effect pedals and teams up with long time partner Andrey Popovskiy who plays the electric guitar with plenty of effects and also does some objects.

    'Objectus Binominis' does not disappoint and has plenty of stuffing in its noise and drone textures to please every electro-acoustic and experimental music buff out there. I think it is safe to say that here at test tube we end up the year in big style.

    Enjoy it and have a great 2014!»
    - test tube

    - "Ilia Belorukov (born 1987) is a saxophonist from Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation. He works in the direction of free improvisation, free jazz, noise and electroacoustic music. Ilia Belorukov practices an experimental approach of sound extraction on alto saxophone and fluteophone.

    Ilia Belorukov has played with such musicians as David Stackenäs (Sweden), Lucio Capece (Argentina), Ignaz Schick (Germany), Darius ?iuta, Arturas Bumšteinas, Arkadij Gotesman (Lithuania), Topias Tiheäsalo, Janne Tuomi (Finland) , Edyta Fil, Rafal Mazur (Poland), Thomas Buckner, Eyal Maoz (United States), Yuriy Yaremchuk, Alla Zagaykevich (Ukraine), Vladislav Makarov, Roman Stolyar, Alexei Borisov, Vyacheslav Gayvoronskiy, Sergey Letov, Alexey Lapin (Russia), Edgars Rubenis (Latvia), Kurt Liedwart and many others.

    He is also member of projects as Wozzeck, Wooden Plants, Les Phares, Dots & Lines, Punktieren etc. He collaborates with musicians of other genres from hardcore to academic contemporary music, with dancers and painters, with theater."

  • 10 years of test tube
    - "Yep, that's true. It has really been a decade since I first started this (net)label, founded on the same principles as monotonik and kahvi and enough records, just three of the first labels of this kind at that time.

    Now I could throw in some facts and numbers, like total downloads since then, how many page hits, how many releases (that's easy to know), etc, etc... but that would really take me a while to gather, and time is something that I really have less and less every year that comes by. But this has been a great ride so far.

    The truth is that this website is totally outdated by today's standards. In the age of HTML+, PHP databases and whatever, we never did any relevant updates to the code, and in these 10 years of test tube we actually managed to jump past flash totally!
    And while I'm at it, here's a pledge: we are taking offers of coding help to try and bring this website to life again, so... if there are any web programmers out there with a lot of time on their hands and like what we do here, please help!? I cannot pay because we are non-profit, but I can offer free test tube DVD's for life and a pack of CD records that I have in stock, good stuff from other labels, from when I used to run a commercial label, before getting broke, plus my eternal gratitude. I would really like to see this shine with a new, simple but functional outfit. Maybe it would even help motivate me to give more of my time to this label again... anyway, worth a try, right?

    If the fact that putting out less and less releases per year bring anything good to test tube, it was that I take more time evaluating each release. Not that in the past I was letting anything - good or bad - to come out of this door, no. I totally stand for everything that we managed to release, but... waiting more time between releases has helped putting everything in perspective. Because of this, many artists with outstanding works have quit waiting for test tube and ended up releasing elsewhere... which is also good, because there are many new labels out there, younger labels with younger people behind them, some of them really really good, and they need all the attention they can get.

    So, I'm just happy and grateful we came this far, even without making money for the work we do and keep on doing here. My humble thank you goes to all the artists that have entrusted their works to us. Thanks a lot, people!

    And no, this is not a goodbay - yet -, but sometimes I wonder if there is still a place for us among the netlabel universe. Also, the spinoff label that I run with some friends - Impulsive Habitat - has been taking a considerable slice off the time I had for this one, so... it's a natural path to trail on.

    A final thanks goes to you, test tube fan, for keeping coming here for more.

    A great 2014 for all of you!"
    Test Tube February 06, 2014
  • edited February 2014
    If you liked the latest Flaming Pines album with Michael Trommer & Porya Hatami, I will recommend this album from 2007:


    - "is a Toronto based producer and sound artist; his experimental work has been focussed primarily on psychogeographical explorations via the use of field recordings..

    He has released material on an unusually diverse roster of labels, both under his own name as well as ‘sans soleil’. These include Transmat, Wave, Ultra-red, and/OAR, Audiobulb, Audio Gourmet, Gruenrekorder, Impulsive Habitat, Stasisfield, Serein, 6one6, Thinner and con-v.

    Michael also creates gallery-based audio installation work; He has exhibited work at Australia’s ‘Liquid Architecture’, ‘from 0 to 1 and back again’ at Kunsthalle Schirn in Frankfurt, Cordoba, Spain’s art:tech and soundLAB in Köln. His music has also been included in Dodi Nash’s ‘Listening Shell’ installation, on permanent exhibit at London’s Victoria and Albert museum.

    He has performed extensively in North America, Europe and Asia,, including events with members of Berlin’s raster-noton collective, as well as the 2008 edition of Mutek’s acclaimed a/visions series. He also regularly improvises with Toronto-based AI collective ‘i/o media’.

    In 2011, Michael’s ‘ghostwood’ project was awarded a major audio arts grant from the Canada Coucil for the Arts."

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