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music review:

Testube ::: "Post Apocalypse"

electronic - body - music - industrial

This has been in my CD player quite a lot. Particularly in the mornings before work or other times when I'm tired and need something to inspire and recharge me. "Post Apocalypse" is an enchanting blend of influences from contemporary electro acts such as Mentallo & the Fixer, the trippier moments of Kraftwerk, to the moody dark atmospheres of the last several tracks of Skinny Puppy's "Vivisect VI", from early-80s new romantic-synth, to gothicish choral and string melodies with LOTS of acid-squelchy synth-basses.

Of the 13 tracks, only 3 contain vocals - apparently the first Testube release with vocals. Ironically my favourite and least favourite tracks are those with vocals. "Vertigo Grim", which flows on perfectly from the previous track "skinlodge", is quite long but structured in a way that it never loses my interest. The vocals do not enter until 2:30 into the song. In fact, the tracks' length is no doubt part of its power. The sombre vocals are also very refreshing in that they aren't in any way effected. At first I thought, "gee, they should put some effects on them!" but the nakedness of the vocals actually adds immensely to the journey and power of the track. I love the way this track progresses, especially the way the simple break-beat with delay on it is introduced and incorporated. In fact this whole album fits together and progresses really well - the only exception to my liking is "stationary" which is the vocal-track that doesn't quite work for me. The other track with vocals is "Mealworm" which is a devilish whisper in style.

However, I've focussed too much on the vocal-tracks here; I must state that the instrumental tracks all hold up with identity and character and are what make this album great. Although, as with nearly all instrumentals, they took several listens for me to get into. They range from the euphoric-trippy-trance of "Condenser" (a favourite of mine with it's quirks and unexpected awkward beats which are designed to upset the straight down-the-line trance ravers), to the quirky dub-elecktro of "jaundice" (another favourite), the sinister soundtrack music of "open grave", "niasys" and "dust settles", to the flangeing-journey of "do undo others". Another favourite is "Delve" which begins with underground storm-drain type atmospheres, then a groovey bass-synth and beat which soon disappear into dreamy choral-synth ambience and a gradual re-build and variation upon these segments. Fans of Mentallo & the Fixer, Coil, Kraftwerk and other non-grating elektro groups will really appreciate this album. I certainly do.

$12 (US). Outside of US, add $3 shipping.

PO Box 554 - Englewood, Colorado 80151, USA.

E-mail: [email protected]

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