Listen to the testing machine of extreme music that Test conjures on new album
Test still goes on testing new ways of exploring extreme music. On their new album called ‘Jogo Humano’ (Human Game, in a free translation) the experimental grind duo from Brazil grouped 54 songs that works in no particular order. Each one of them is titled with a word. You can combine them to compose a sentence that in the end could be the name of a song. Better: it’s a music made with the song pieces Test gave to you!
For example, one of the sequences (available here) list this first 10 tracks/words:
01. VOCÊ (YOU)
02. NÃO (DON’T)
03. ENTENDEU (UNDERSTOOD)
04. A (THE)
05. NATUREZA (NATURE)
06. CONFIDENCIAL (CONFIDENTIAL)
07. DO (OF)
08. ÓDIO (HATE)
09. INFINITO (INFINITE)
10. NÉ (RIGHT)
Doesn’t matter if it make sense. What you have to know is that the listener can subvert the package and rearanged all the songs in a sequence that you want. And if you do that, the album will as well sound as… an album.
According the band, that is João Kombi (voice and guitar) and Barata (drums): “The idea is for the album to work as an interactive game, with the listener joining words (song titles) to form phrases and come up with his/her own version of the songs, which somehow end up sounding like “real”, fully-conceived, tunes.”
It can be compared to a puzzle, given the fact that the listener have 54 pieces to put together. But unlike these type of toy there’s no right way to assemble, ’cause each part can be gathered with any of the other ones.
In an informal conversation for this interview, Kombi said that one of the inspirations to the concept of ‘Jogo Humano’, musically speaking, could be the traditional Carnival in Brazil – an annual party where, in some occasions, the drums of the ensemble in charge to do the beats never stops and the others instruments are played over the percussion.
The experience also include methodic piercing riffs and unearthly beats – sometimes really faster, others more percusive – besides some effects/noises that adds more layers to the tunes.
The lyrics are, in the most part, about human failures, and their authors are musicians in other bands, not necessarily death metal.
Fisical formats are available. The album was recorded in a home studio in São Paulo and mastered at Audio Siege (Portland) by Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise).
Buy the tracks on bandcamp to built and play your own game. Or should i say album?
Here’s what João Kombi has to say about the new album.
Is there a meaning behind the album title? Something like humans playing with humans to get their goals achieved, or life as a game/competition?
JK – There isn’t a rational reason for the album title. When our friend Carolina (who created the art) was showing us some phrases she thought as names for songs, this phrase was there. When we read it loud, it sounded nice.
From where the idea of create sound pieces that work in no particular order came from?
JK – When we were creating songs, I didn’t want to create beginning, middle and end of songs. Everything was being created quite openly. Then it came the idea of using a carnaval ball as a template, on which the drums never stop but the songs keep changing.
Is there any connecting thread between the songs? Something that guides as a musical construction regardless the sequence of songs? The guitar lines or maybe the drums, for example?
JK – No, but at the same time yes – the record is crossed by the drums.
‘Jogo Humano’ sounds as a grind album (in a reductionist definition). But there’s also many elements of other genres. In your head, when the process of creating music is getting done, how is to sew all that shit? Is there any logical thought you use?
JK – This is our grindest album so far, but we tried to find new beats, and to use drum-only parts. Some riffs were initially sambas. Absolutely no logical thought.
Test has it’s own musical identity, fact. How to maintain it and inovate at the same time, as it was done on the album?
JK – The fact that we’re two, and that we play in a really specific way ends up influencing it a lot. Everything we create will be affected by that.
Is there any special influence on this album? Any artist you can say that acts as a starting point to do music like you do? Specially on drums, at least to me, it is kind of Sepultura (from the more percussive phase) meets Nasum or old Napalm Death.
JK – I think this album is really influenced by grind bands like Deterioration, and the drums of Sepultura’s Roots.
Why choose Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise), a guy who worked with a bunch of interesting bands (such as Sleep, Full of Hell, YOB), to master ‘Jogo Humano’? Did he say something about the album, gave his impressions?
JK – Our friends from Chepang mastered our split with him, and we liked the results. Only when I searched it I found out who he was. He didn’t mention anything.
Considering that in recent records the band were already flirting with some non conventional structures for the songs, what would be the natural path for Test on the next record?
JK – On the next record we will explore old-school death metal.