Testet ölt try their hand at experimental epic with "Madness"Serbian post-rock instrumental four-piece Testet ölt released their latest “Wellness” in April. The record is a six song barrage of some pretty experimental writing and recording, with some bright moments tucked away in songs that push the ten minute mark.
Track one, “Space Trash,” is designed to be palatable. Most of the songs that follow begin with, or descend into a sort of delay heavy ambient build. Such is not the case on this song, as a pretty traditional sounding guitar riff repeated fort he better part of eight minutes. The song sounds more like Sabbath than anything you might ever call experimental. Though, the mix on this song might be called as such, and to a fault. After a minute or so without keys, they appear out of nowhere, twice as loud as any other instrument at the centre of the mix. To make matters worse, the chords are not all in the same key as the song. Really, very questionable producing on this track.
“Radomir Konstantinović” is a great name for a song. The song is also a little more laid back; it is certainly less repetitive, though the keys are still mixed really high, as is the kick drum. The song is problematic because it sheds light on the fact that all four of these members are not equally proficient on their instruments, which is desirable in a jam band such as this. On “Radomir,” there is no lack of drum fills. In fact, there is one at the end of almost every bar. The problem is that nearly all of the fills are the same eight-stroke roll which is imprecisely played. It is hard to imagine that this song could keep any listener’s interest and attention for nine minutes.
“Vertical Immigrations” sounds vaguely like the late work of genre giants, Don Caballero (see Punkgasm, World Class Listening Problem). The song is actually pretty good. It is more refined, much shorter and without any clumsy transitions or key changes.
The subsequent track, “Bosch & Bosch GBH,” is the record’s best.The bulk of the song has great rhythms. Most of the guitar playing is interesting if not so intricate, but the parts themselves flow in and out of one another with a level of success not achieved on any of the other tracks. Though, again, the drumming is not so good. They aren’t in time, the fills are amateurish, executed poorly, and repeated an astonishing amount of time.
The record’s final two songs are “Shadowplay” (a Joy Division cover) and a long crescendo in “Nothing Ever Ends.” In spite of the fact that there are no vocals on this version of “Shadowplay,” there isn’t much diversion from the original. (Maybe give it a listen here though, because it’s a great song). “Nothing Ever Ends” begins with a pretty spacey part which evolves from closed picking and tight playing to something pretty open and messy. The song does this twice, and you suspect with some purpose when considering the track’s name. Though it ends, nevertheless, after a full seven minutes of climax.
On the whole, the effort demonstrates that Testet ölt knows itself and it sound. This points at maturity and is deserving of both mention and plaudits. Though the songs are a bit too long, and the musicianship can certainly improve, the group is on to something that is distinctly their own in its madness.