Released: 9th January 2020
Label: Sound In Silence
Format: DD / Limited CD
Before I read the press release for Test Card’s new LP, Music For The Towers, I had a look at the track list. With titles like Monochrome Dreaming Softened the Broadcast and Horizontal Sweep Correction Lullaby, I could be forgiven for thinking I had been presented with a new Stars Of The Lid album.
I was fairly certain the sound of grindcore or black metal wasn’t about to fill my skull. These titles on the latest Test Card release gently whispered in my ear the word ‘ambience.’ The album did not disappoint.
The guitar loops lazily wash over you, the hazy drones put you immediately at ease. Vancouver native Lee Nicholson has put together a piece of work that seems to bridge the seasons. I envision it being equally effective on a frigid winter’s day as it were in the heat of summer.
A few of these tracks have already been included on my ‘Hungover, Not My Fault,’ playlist. The press release describes this as ‘a dreamy blend of gentle ambient, hazy electronica and minimal post rock.’ I am in agreement, although I would dial it down to ‘a very mild threat of post rock.’
The only real blip for me in what is otherwise a great way to spend three quarters of an hour is the third track, It Calmed The Hedges And Blurred The Borders. It was the only point that I felt I was being fed the guitar work as opposed to bathing in it.
Music for the Towers wears it’s influences proudly on its sleeve (pun intended), with echoes of Brian Eno, Labradford and the aforementioned Stars Of The Lid. The melancholic guitar loops bring Geotic to mind, and the whole record has that hazy, analogue feel of some of Boards of Canada’s calmer moments.
I would recommend Test Card for anyone with a penchant for ambience, and anyone with a hangover. Music For The Towers is proof that sometimes you can indeed judge a book by it’s cover, and that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
You can read more from Sam McMulkin, here.