Test Card crafts precise, evocative ambient-electronica from minimal ingredients, allowing each drum sound, guitar arpeggio and synth pad to shine. As nostalgic as it is forward thinking, the music plays out like a subtle revelation, a gradually unfolding description of a unique, enraptured environment we are only just discovering.
Start Up Close Down
February 2018 (originally released November 2016 through Symbolic Interaction)
Start Up Close Down’s hypnotic and enveloping drift belies the level of craft and composition that makes each track so captivating. The album plays out like the soundtrack to a nocturnal drive, painting the journey’s objects as they pass by. As much slow-motion dream-pop as it is ambient-electronica, each track feels like a subtle revelation, a gradually unfolding description of a unique, enraptured environment we are only just discovering.
Test Card is the solo project of British musician Lee Nicholson, who now lives in Vancouver, Canada. He was the lead singer and guitarist in Preston indie-pop band Formula One from the mid to late 1990s. The band cultivated a strong underground following in the UK, France and Japan, and released a string of singles and an album on various indie labels. Following the demise of Formula One, four of its members, including Lee, moved to Brighton and built a small recording studio in their shared home and continued to release records as Domestic4, with a much more electronic set-up focusing on analogue synths, loops and effects. After four years, Lee left Brighton to go backpacking around Central and South America, which continued for six years. He then settled in Vancouver, Canada, where he resumed making music as a solo artist under the Electrohome moniker, and as one half of folktronica duo Future Peasants. These days Lee calls himself Test Card, and has released two acclaimed albums of ambient-electronica.
Hidden Shoal is incredibly honoured to have been selected as one of Textura’s Ten Favourite Labels of 2018. Textura is, in our opinion, the premiere new music magazine and favourite of the label team for unearthing and exposing new and exciting new music. This is the second time Hidden Shoal has been selected in Textura’s best labels list and as always we are nestled against some other very special labels, all of who you should check out.
Now for a very brief and unnecessary acceptance speech – we are nothing without our incredible roster of artists, who continually amaze, inspire and surprise us. Thank you all!
Exciting times my friends as we get to to announce the signing of the wonderful Test Card to Hidden Shoal. Test Card’s stunning 2016 album Start Up Close Down is now part of our licensing catalogue and available for use across film, tv, games, web and beyond. Listen to the album and read more about Test Card here.
Start Up Close Down’s hypnotic and enveloping drift belies the level of craft and composition that makes each track so captivating. The album plays out like the soundtrack to a nocturnal drive, painting the journey’s objects as they pass by. As much slow-motion dream-pop as it is ambient-electronica, each track feels like a subtle revelation, a gradually unfolding description of a unique, enraptured environment we are only just discovering.Continue reading →
“In our never-ending quest to find the best new music, we often stumble upon a veteran artist who somehow escaped our notice. Such is the case with Canadian musician Lee Nicholson – a.k.a. Test Card. Fortunately for us, his 2016 album Start Up Close Down is being re-released on Hidden Shoal, so others can now discover this hidden gem. The album’s opening track is such a stunning piece that it requires multiple listens before you can properly take in its myriad textures.
If you’re not a fan of ambient/lo-fi, then “Marble Index” might change that. When you imagine this song as a blank canvas, each passing minute finds Nicholson painting greater depth with each brush stroke. This evocative piece calls to mind early-’00s era Peter Gabriel. (It makes a perfect companion piece to “Sky Blue.”) As the song progresses, you become entranced by the vivid tones that flood you with feelings of calm. Music fans with synesthesia may envision hues ranging from jade green to deep indigo – colors so rich you want to dive into them. This song (like the rest of the album) is pure artistry.”
– The Revue|Continue reading →
No music videos yet, sorry.
Test Card’s music is available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.