TESTBILD!

is the brainchild of one Petter Herbertsson of Malmö, Sweden, a man who started with a manifesto. Imagined histories, pop experiments and experimental pop. And a name which pays tribute to the Young Marble Giants (“testbild” is Swedish for “testcard”). Herbertsson has since been joined in his surreal pop journey by fellow travelers Mattias Nihlen (starting with The Inexplicable Feeling of September and the soon to be released Lolita Wagner Case) and more recently by Douglas Holmquist (Dr Higgins) and Pontus Lundkvist.

THE OCEAN TANGO: s/t

Wonder (UK)
WonderEta

last 2 copies

2010 collaboration between Testbild! and Louis Philippe, available on these shores for the first time ever, thanks to poor planning and no distribution. Lovely, orchestrated stuff. Besides the above-mentioned musical luminaries, recording personnel includes Danny Manners, Sean O’Hagan and the Covent Garden String Ensemble.

01. Stills

02. Azimuth

03. The Munich Train

04. In Flight

05. A Friend

06. Forgotten Books

07. Hosannah

08. Par Hasard

09. Christmas in July

10. Hirondelles

11. The Ocean Tango

STERNPOST: s/t

Kalligrammofon (Sweden)
kalligrammofon24

last 3 copies

Piano-driven, vocal pieces from Testbild! founding member, Petter Herbertsson. Long since sold out at Kalligrammofon, but appearing here now thanks to a shipping snag.

01. Waiting

02. Sunken Ships Ahead

03. The Rain Is You

04. The Storm

05. Almost Transparent

06. A Speck on the Moon

TESTBILD!: Barrikad

Kalligrammofon (Sweden)
kalligrammofon22

Ever mutating, Testbild! return, singing in Swedish this time on a mostly acoustic album built around lots of guitars, harpsichord, a church organ, and all the usual, multilayered melody. New member Petter Samuelsson is probably responsible for the profusion of muted brass arrangements. Elsewhere, I detect a hint of Basil Kirchin circa Charcoal Sketches. Lovely, mysterious, organic and mostly gentle, these are dreamscapes under clouds of falling folk and volcanic ash…

Vinyl-only release. Includes download code and a poster.

01. Barrikad

02. Mareld

03. Watt

04. Tidsstyrd

05. På randen

06. Wales

07. En kartbild utan sand

08. Interlude

09. Stormsvalor

10. Skuggspel

11. Sömn och rök

12. Tegelröda ljus

TESTBILD!: Aquatint

Friendly Noise (Sweden)
fyn99

Now this is a proper long player! I say this not merely because the music itself clocks in at 68 minutes, but because it is a record to immerse oneself in. The music is warm, comforting, and yet somewhat disorienting. The program is at its strongest taken whole; in fact, I’m very doubtful that the excepts below do justice to the album. I’m confident, however, that if you already like Testbild!, this album will make you like them even more. (For newcomers to Testbild!, perhaps Imagine a House or The Double Life of Testbild! are better entry points…I’m not sure.) In addition to the 20 songs, this album also includes a 12-page booklet comprising a short story, a short film by collective member Pontus Lundkvist (honestly, I have no idea if Pontus also plays music), and a 6-panel digipak with the most beautiful blue I’ve ever seen on a CD cover (and neck and neck with the blue on Lill Lindfors’ 1967 debut LP). Hooray for the printed artifact!

01. Sunset Through a Drinking Glass

02. Lighthouse Glow

03. Rippling Icicle

04. Solid Food Invented By Tigers

05. Drop

06. Soup and Fog

07. Drowning, Breathing

08. Disintegration In Daylight

09. All Of The Fishes

10. Aquatint

11. The Bathysphere

12. Damp Meteorograph

13. Monochrome Kaleidoscope

14. Four Images of Salt

15. Garnet Brand Land

16. Beneath Transparent Felt

17. A Ship Directed

18. Cell

19. The Submarine

20. My Brother the Submariner

TESTBILD!: Une teinte intense

Friendly Noise (Sweden)
fyn52

A very pleasant left turn finds the Testbild! collective not in outer space or ocean depths, but in the Sahara circa 1900. Une teinte intense is a tribute to explorer Isabelle Eberhardt. Excerpts from her travel diaries float in a dreamy sound environment of Bedouin drums, echoing muezzin calls, and warm winds blowing in the distance, while pop melodies flow like spring water in the irrigation canals. Light as a mirage, this album bridges pop, jazz and exotica in the sun-bleached deserts of North Africa.

01. Je Suis Seul, Et Je Reve

02. Labyrinthine

03. Maghreb

04. La Tombée De La Nuit

05. The Moorish Café

06. Evening Star

07. Ain-Sefra

08. Une Grand Calice Pale

09. Figuig

10. The Dying Mirage

11. L'Errante

12. Le Vent Du Desert Tarit Mes Yeux Humides

TESTBILD!: Imagine a House

Friendly Noise (Sweden)
fyn33

Utterly lovely new album from Testbild!, now a quartet, with Petter and Mattias joined by Douglas Holmquist (Dr Higgins, Rodriguez) and film maker Pontus Lundkvist. Lacking most of the jagged postpunk edges of the second album or their recent 7" split with Anthony Rochester, the new Testbild! make good with gentle melodies and layers and layers of tasty keyboard, metallophone, lullaby vocals and atmospherics recorded in that house--you know, the one at the end of the street that you were forbidden to play in (but did, nevertheless). The band purport to be influenced by acid folk and Canterbury pop songs, but I think it’s just sweet, moody and really good. Tasty artwork too, plus a 14 minute film* by Pontus, in a digipak with lyric book.

*The RK mac had trouble playing the .avi file till I downloaded the free VLC Media Player. The film is pretty freaky, by the way—definitely more Eraserhead than Jacques Tati—and not exactly my cuppa, but the music is fabulous.

01. Inside Raindrops

02. Caryatides

03. Bas Jan Ader

04. Inspoor

05. Imagine A House

06. Sodaine

07. Isthmus

08. Shirley Dreams

09. Phanopoeia

10. Suddenly Aching

11. Ipsifendus

12. Inmoor

13. A Lullaby In Vain

14. Ryska valsen

15. The Attic

16. Where Did This Begin

TESTBILD!: The Inexplicable Feeling Of September

Friendly Noise (Sweden)
fyn22

RK artist Testbild! returns, this time by way of friendly label Friendly Noise (it was one of the label’s bosses who originally referred Testbild! to RK back before FN was up and running). Another solid dollop of lilting pop melodies, jagged postpunk bits, and beautiful autumn melancholia. There’s a new emphasis on choral arrangements this time around, and the album has an earthy feel as well. Very atmospheric at points...you’ll drift, and just might experience some inexplicable feelings.

01. Another Day

02. Tangled Humidity

03. Rain And Air

04. Clouds in Transit

05. Little Crystals

06. A Secret Note

07. You Don't Have to Go

08. Faded by Sun

09. The Inexplicable Feeling of September

10. Undertow

11. Stettinergränd

12. Meerschaum

13. Sarkofag

14. Clandestine Clam

15. Sparks From Extinct Steelworks

TESTBILD!: The Double Life of Testbild!

khz102

For his debut album, Malmö based Testbild! conjures up an expressionist fiction of Doppelgängers, deep sea exploration and space travel. The record traces the meteoric careers of inventors/pioneers ENIAC and UNIVAC, whose stories take root in a soundscape where Testbild!’s experiments in noise merge with gorgeous multi-layered melodies. One might speculate that Testbild! spent his childhood in the company of Jules Verne, Kraftwerk, Brian Wilson and Claude Debussy. Unidentifiable electronic noises meet with the gurgling of coffee pots, cascades of rain, vibraphone, glockenspiel, accordion, clicking guitars, vintage synths and Rhodes galore. The resulting album may remind you of Young Marble Giants, Bertrand Burgalat, Louis Philippe, Broadcast, Tuxedomoon, or even This Heat at points, but for us, The Double Life of TESTBILD! is as much a plunge into a parallel universe as the stuff in RK’s “official” imaginary soundtrack series, 18fps.

The album is packaged in an extended digipack which includes biographical notes on protagonists ENIAC and UNIVAC.

01. Comets Tail

02. ENIAC vs UNIVAC

03. Molloy in Orbit

04. From Forgotten Power Station on the Moon

05. Starlit Collapse

06. Willowpond Park

07. Chrome-packed Shell

08. Dissembled Hero

09. New York

10. Lolita Wagner

11. Iron Lung vs Aqualung

TESTBILD!: The Double Life of Testbild!

uhf102
Design: Bügelfrei
Dimensions: 18.5" x 18" (approx. 47 x 46 cm)
2 colors, offset printed on white, acid-free stock

Although no one ever complained, we were never completely happy with the color saturation on these posters. Not quite as dense or even as it should have been. Hence the low price. Tape one up in the office to bug your co-workers, or bring it to your optometrist.

Ships in tube. For a larger view, click here.

TESTBILD! / ANTHONY ROCHESTER: Return of Everson K (18fps vol. 6)

mhz305

A return to the thriller-esque mode of 18fps’ debut The Flight of Everson K. Swedish artist Testbild! turns in a surrealist detective stomper in the form of “His Shadows are Green / His Shadows are Blue” which probably owes almost as much to band leader Petter Herbertsson’s obsession with writer Paul Auster as to postpunk and krautrock experimentation. A jagged, melodic tour-de-force. Flipside features “Special Delivery Agent Q-39,” the recording which got Tasmanian multi-instrumentalist Anthony Rochester signed to the label: twang guitar and stabbing flute spy instrumental, standard procedure. Except that Rochester kicks the genre sideways with a 5/4 time signature and an uncharacteristically wistful air... Both tracks exclusive.

01. Testbild! - "His Shadows Are Green / His Shadows Are Blue"

02. Anthony Rochester - "Special Delivery Agent Q-39"

V/A: The Soft Rains of Delta Cephei (18fps vol. 5)

khz401

Equipped with the latest analog technology, Radio Khartoum breaks free of the Earth's gravitational pull and sets out in search of The Soft Rains of Delta Cephei. Leading the charge are Spain's Souvenir with a chilly bossa that heads from the sea to the Milky Way. Cha Cha Cha alum Spacehonky takes us on an electronic journey through zero gravity to a close orbit around one of Jupiter's moons. France's Hitoribocchi returns from The Stations of Abandoned Days with a decidedly 2001 classical groove for heavy spacecraft in deep space. Japan's 800 Cherries touch down on seemingly familiar solid ground with a laid back icy pop song - but it's hard to be certain if they're really on Earth or not.  Instant Life (Sweden) are on Earth, to be sure, but their retro-futuristic thriller theme forms a wrinkle in time. Finnish RK stalwarts Cessna team up with analog synth maestros Nu Science for a triumphant finale, a voyager theme, destination unknown, but blissful... Umbrella not included. All tracks exclusive.
Further details? See the press release.

01. Souvenir “Aux étoiles”

02. Spacehonky “Europa’s Mass”

03. Hitoribocchi “Je n’ai pas peur des S.F.antomes”

04. 800 Cherries “Boo the Blackberry 2001”

05. Instant Life “West Germany, 1974”

06. Cessna vs Nu Science “Maatamo”

07. (unlisted track) Testbild!: “Fake Firmament”

V/A: Splendid Isolation

Friendly Noise (Sweden)
fyn68

A collection of exclusive tracks from the Radio Dept., Testbild!, Most Valuable Players, Differnet, Action Biker, Viktor Sjöberg, VED, Peter Jackson, Peter Nilsson, Redmalm, Enheten för musik och melodi, Malkovic, Erik de Vahl, Band in a Box, Flow Flux Clan, Robotboy, and Jian.

Between January and December 2007 Friendly Noise released 18 mp3 singles offered as free downloads from the label’s website. From the start it was intended to be a one-year-long project. The idea was simple: contributions chosen by us from our extended family of old friends and new discoveries, usually two songs, together with an introduction by the artists themselves and a picture to illustrate and enhance, once or twice a month. This was meant as a complement to our CD releases, and a chance to easily distribute great songs, in cases where the album context isn’t necessary. These two ways of distribution aren’t contradictory, they’re related, as we stated on our website.

Soon we realized the series had become a success, both when it came to the quality of the output and the amount of interest generated. So “Splendid Isolation” — our third compilation after “Friendly People Making Noise” (2003) and “Are You Scared To Get Happy?” (2006) — is our way of documenting the series through a selection of the songs and thus giving them a more official kind of release. The record is also a celebration of five years of Friendly Noise as a label. The order of the songs on the record isn’t chronological, it’s instead our attempt to make the record sound as good as possible as a whole.

01. Peter Jackson: Bognor Regis

02. Viktor Sjöberg: (Jack) Lullaby

03. Most Valuable Players: Rondo

04. VED: Stratoscope

05. Peter Nilsson: Get Nowhere

06. Peter Jackson: Hultviksvägen 7

07. Redmalm: The Bravest Person I Know

08. Flow Flux Clan: Shut Out

09. Robotboy: September

10. Peter Jackson: Hashish in Nizza

11. Enheten för musik och melodi: Sol genom lövverket

12. Testbild!: En gång i Stockholm

13. Testbild!: Dedicated to Therese Holm

14. Malkovic: 1959y

15. Peter Jackson: Almost Close

16. Most Valuable Players: Open Night

17. The Radio Dept.: Bachelor Kisses

18. Action Biker: Vinden susar i advent

19. Peter Jackson: Postojna

20. Erik de Vahl: Whatever We Want

21. Band in Box: Leaving Smears

22. Jian: Just A Little Lovin’

23. Differnet: Curriculum Circular

V/A: Are You Scared To Get Happy?

Friendly Noise (Sweden)
fyn30

Their hearts hide dreams of perfect piano intros. Their hands strum plastic harps while aiming the sound at the distant sky. They’re dreamers fighting to lift their heads high, even though they’re weighed down from romantic reverie and broken illusions. “Are You Scared To Get Happy?” is the soundtrack from a play which ran from 22 August 2003 to 14 June 2006. It is also the second installment in a trilogy of compilations from Stockholm’s Friendly Noise label. The latest and the freshest of the Swedish scene, including exclusive songs from The Radio Dept., Differnet, Testbild!, The Field, Auton, Friday Bridge, Flow Flux Clan, Sarto, Erik de Vahl, Conduo Orchestra, Lars Blek, Most Valuable Players, Dianas Tempel, Kuryakin, Discolor, Majessic Dreams, Action Biker, Stream and Nicolas Makelberge. The musical scope is wide but cohesive, it’s dancy electronic music, straight ahead indiepop songs, dreamy instrumental beauties, distortion, jazz pop, and so on! Includes six covers (songs by Cola Boy, The Embassy, The Cure, Electric Prunes, Young Marble Giants and Prefab Sprout).

01. The Field: "Cola"

02. Auton: "Aerikanne"

03. Differnet: "It Never Entered My Mind" (live)

04. Friday Bridge: "It Girl"

05. The Radio Dept.: "Mad About The Boy"

06. Flow Flux Clan: "Fascination Street"

07. Sarto: "Den vita staden"

08. Erik De Vahl: "The Days Before Lunch"

09. Conduo Orchestra: "Referencia (remix)"

10. Lars Blek featuring Action Biker: "My Everything"

11. Most Valuable Players: "Stockholm Doesn't Belong To Me" (remix by Viktor Sjöberg)

12. Testbild!: "Landfall"

13. Dianas Tempel: "It'll Be Different This Time"

14. Kuryakin: "Onie"

15. Discolor: "Falls Angel"

16. Majessic Dreams: "Changes or Lies"

17. Action Biker: "Eating Noddemix"

18. Stream: "Sometimes"

19. Nicolas Makelberge: "Johnny Johnny"