To be honest, I took my time reviewing Testube‘s Backwater. With 17 songs, there’s a lot here to digest. Plus, I wanted to make sure I was getting the big picture with every thing that’s going on and fully appreciating where the artist is coming from.
The backstory goes something like this: Jeff Danos sequestered himself to a cabin in the Ozarks for a VERY long time. During this time, he worked on the tracks that would become Backwater. So this is the culmination of over a decade’s worth of work.
In a way, one can tell that this has been an album long in the making. It seems like some of the musical ideas occurred to Danos at different times. Backwater covers a lot of ground. But don’t think of this as willy-nilly and directionless. Instead, consider it a stream-of-consciousness time capsule that shows how an artist can evolve and grow over time.
The songs range from accessible and radio-friendly to abstract instrumental experimentation, and sometimes both in the same song. Spoken word samples and analog synths have their time in the sun as old school industrial meets IDM meets the electronic end of Krautrock. Enjoy the smorgasbord.
In summary, Backwater is a cerebral electronic ride with interesting stops along the way, even if it’s not necessarily for short attention spans.