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Kettle Black Features


Artist Spotlight: Testube
by Craig Conley

It’s not every day that a band seeks to use electronic music to replicate human dreams and intuitions. But Jeff Danos, of the Denver-based act Testube, boldly opens the deepest recesses of his psyche to the world. What he reveals is an uncanny musical intuition, and the workings of this man’s mind are indeed a dream come true. Danos must be inspiring listeners everywhere to purchase sampling workstations, if only to have half as much fun as he obviously has. Testube encapsulates everything that is best about the potential of dark elektro/industrial/dance music. The latest Testube album, “Bioplaza,” is fresh, dynamic, and original, with not a derivitave note or style to be found. In terms of talent and overall feel, the only comparison I could make would be to the recent goth/darkwave work of Information Society’s Kurt Harland. Like Harland, Danos pieces together lush sonic collages, using seemingly thousands of diverse bits, some lasting several seconds (such as entire sentences from cult movies like “Blue Velvet”) and others lasting micro-seconds (such as unique noises from nature and machinery). Unlike Harland, Danos uses a diverse barrage of vocal effects, as well as experimental journeys into various fields of elektro, ambient, breatbeat, darkwave, noise, jungle, synthpop, and post-industrial. Danos explains that “Through the use of extensive synthetic layering and ambient textures, I attempt to create kinetic atmospheres of emotion. I have never really considered my music to be true ‘industrial’ music, although that is the easiest category for people to group me in. I admit to being heavily influenced by industrial, ebm, aggrepo, and the new wave of the mid-to-late eighties. However, I like to think that I do not have an easily defined overall ‘style.’” The term post-industrial is perhaps most descriptive of Danos’ overall sound, in that the atmospheres are heavy but not brooding, the noises are metallic but not clanky, the driving techno beats are highly danceable, and there’s plenty of synth melodies to carry the listener along for the ride. During my first listen to “Bioplaza,” as I sat at my computer, I couldn’t keep my hands on the keyboard. My arms were flying around in some sort of chair dance routine. If I ever find myself in a wheelchair, I know that I will rule the dancefloor, so when Testube comes on people can just get out of my way in advance. Check out the excellent Testube website.