Tortoise

TORTOISE

Tortoise is an American experimental rock band formed in ChicagoIllinois in 1990. The band incorporates krautrockdubminimal musicelectronica and jazz into their music, a combination sometimes termed “post-rock“. Tortoise have been consistently credited for the rise of the post-rock movement in the 1990s.

Tortoise performing in 2016
History
1990s

The group’s origins lie in the late 1980s pairing of Doug McCombs (bassist with Eleventh Dream Day) and drummer John Herndon, who initially wanted to establish themselves as a freelance rhythm section (like reggae legends Sly and Robbie). The idea did not come to fruition, but their interest in grooving rhythms, as well as their recording studio knowledge led to partnerships with drummer John McEntire and bassist Bundy K. Brown (both formerly of Bastro) joining, followed by percussionist Dan Bitney. Though songs are credited to all the musicians, McEntire became perceived as the group’s guiding force, as his contributions mainly took the form of being the recording engineer and mixer.

Their first single was issued in 1993, and their self-titled debut album followed a year later. Instrumental and mostly mid-tempo, Tortoise slowly garnered praise and attention, notably for its unusual instrumentation (two bass guitars, three percussionists switching between drums, vibraphones and marimbas). A remix album followed, Rhythms, Resolutions and Clusters.

Brown left and was replaced by David Pajo (formerly of Slint) for 1996’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die, which showed up on many year-end best of lists, and the 20 minute Djed was described by critic John Bush as proof that “Tortoise made experimental rock do double duty as evocative, beautiful music.” Also in 1996, the band contributed to the AIDS benefit album Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip produced by the Red Hot Organization.

They also released a Japanese-only compilation featuring tracks from the eponymous debut, Rhythms, singles and compilation appearances. Named A Digest Compendium of the Tortoise’s World on November 21, 1996 

In 1998, Tortoise released TNT, arguably their most jazz-inflected album. Jeff Parker had joined as a guitarist alongside Pajo, who left the band following the album’s completion.

2000s–present

2001 led to Standards, where Tortoise incorporated more electronic sounds and post-production into its music than in previous works. In 2001, the band curated an edition of the British All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. They then returned in 2004 to curate another day of the same event.

It’s All Around You was released in 2004. In 2006, Tortoise collaborated with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on an album of covers entitled The Brave and the Bold, and released A Lazarus Taxon, a box set containing two CDs of single tracks and remixes, a third CD with an expanded Rhythms, Resolutions and Clusters (out of print) and a DVD of videos and film of live performances. In 2001, the band recorded “Didjeridoo” for the Red Hot Organization‘s compilation album Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington, which raised money for various charities devoted to AIDS related causes.

Bitney and McEntire also contributed to the Bright Eyes album Cassadaga. The group has worked with multi-instrumentalist Paul Duncan of the band Warm Ghost.Tortoise performing at the Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago (2008)

Tortoise released their previous to last album Beacons of Ancestorship on June 23, 2009. The band toured the Midwestern US in September and October 2009, and then in Europe in November and December.

The band performed at the ATP New York 2010 music festival, which was held in Monticello, New York.

In 2012, Tortoise wrote and recorded the soundtrack to Eduardo Sánchez‘s Lovely Molly, a psychological horror film partly inspired by traditional folk-songs.

In July 2013, photos and short videos of the band recording new music were posted to Tortoise’s official Instagram and Facebook pages. On April 20, 2014, the band wrote on their Facebook page: “Hello, Facebook. We are heading back into the studio next week – LP VII in progress. Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan – see you soon.”

On October 6, 2015, it was announced that a new album, called The Catastrophist, would be released in early 2016 by Thrill Jockey. Additionally, a single from the new album, entitled Gesceap, was released and it is available on YouTube. Mail order pressings of the album are available through Thrill Jockey as of October 10, 2015.

The Catastrophist Tour Book intimately captures Tortoise during their 2016 west coast tour in support of The Catastrophist. The 6” x 8.5” 80 page perfect bound book features photographs shot by photographer Andrew Paynter on black and white film. In addition to live performance images, the book showcases intimate backstage moments as well as photos from the road

Packaged with the book is a download coupon for access to unreleased live recordings from the tour + a CD of Tortoise’s 2016 album The Catastrophist with new artwork exclusive to this book release.

BOOK + CD option gives you the 80 page photo book + download card of unreleased live recordings from the tour + CD of The Catastrophist with artwork exclusive to this release.

BOOK option gives you the 80 page photo book + download card of unreleased live recordings from the tour

TOTE BAG features the set list matrix used on the tour. Each night a set list column was selected (A-J). The set list runs from top to bottom with two markers at the end for Encore 1 and Encore 2. Each song is identified by the first three letters. How many songs can you identify?

Photographer Andrew Paynter on the project : This book… came about from the long term relationship I’ve had with both this band and their label, Thrill Jockey. I first came to meet some of the members through mutual friend, Tommy Guerrero. Over the years I started to contribute occasionally as a creative collaborator. The band used several of my photographs for their A Lazarus Taxon packaging. Then, in 2010 they commissioned me to both direct a music video from Beacons of Ancestorship and to also art direct & contribute images from my ‘SF Lines’ work. The band also used other images for additional 12 inch records and then seven years went by. I did think often about the idea of going on the road with them, but was patiently awaiting a return to the stage, as they took a long break between records. So the idea to do something long form became a reality. Once it was set, I organized to jump on the road with the band to cover the entire West Coast of North America and with an addition of a trip to Arcosanti, Arizona. I brought three cameras, Leica M6, Hasselblad X-Pan and a Pentax 67. I only shot b&w film and I kept my ideas simple and did my best to not force situations, but to simply capture them from the perspective of an insider. My craving to shoot from the hip in a reportage fashion was finally fulfilled on this 10 day project. I’m proud to say, this is my very first book.

Tortoise’s Douglas McCombs on touring and the live experience: Twenty five years ago in the early days of Tortoise there was a perception that we were a recording project. This perception was probably exacerbated by the fact that we barely played any live shows in the first three years. The reality is that we were slow in getting our band up and running due to a variety of logistical circumstances, internal and external.

Performing live was always a priority and a prime motivator in forming the band in the first place. By the time opportunities arose for us to tour in a self sustaining manner we couldn’t have been happier. This is what we wanted to do, and thankfully the audience showed up.

Presenting our slightly unconventional material was occasionally a challenge. We had to lug around more equipment than your average band and often had to deal with temperamental synthesizers and samplers that would fail at inopportune moments. Still, it was exciting and very rewarding.

These days a band at our level makes most of our living by playing live shows. It’s no secret that record sales are substantially lower than they used to be. At the same time we are all maintaining families that we didn’t have twenty years ago which makes organizing a tour exponentially more difficult. Still, every time we step on a stage we are trying to invest ourselves in the performance as much as possible so that we can give the audience a unique experience. We want you to know that we consider it a privilege to play our music for you.  

Musical style

As Tortoise rose to prominence in their early career, their often instrumental music has been noted for its ambiguous categorization. The members have roots in Chicago‘s fertile music scene, playing in various indie rock and punk rock groups. Tortoise was among the first American indie rock bands to incorporate styles closer to krautrockdubminimal musicelectronica and various jazz styles, rather than the strong rock and roll roots that had dominated the genre.

Tortoise has been cited as being one of the prime forces behind the development and popularity of the post-rock movement. CMJ writer Jim Allen highlighted the influence of progressive rock on Tortoise’s post-rock style.

Other groups related to Tortoise include The Sea and CakeBrokebackSlintIsotope 217, Chicago Odense Ensemble, Tar Babies, and the Chicago Underground Duo. Tortoise records on the Thrill Jockey label.

MembersDan Bitney
Doug McCombs
Jeff Parker
John Herndon
John McEntire
Past membersBundy K. Brown
David Pajo

Discography

The Catastrophist Tour Book

BOOK + CD option gives you the 80 page photo book + download card of unreleased live recordings from the tour + CD of The Catastrophist with artwork exclusive to this released September 22, 2017

The Catastrophist

Simply put, Tortoise has spent nearly 25 years making music that defies description. While the Chicago-based instrumental quintet has nodded to dub, rock, jazz, electronica and minimalism throughout its revered and influential six-album discography, the resulting sounds have always been distinctly, even stubbornly, their own.

It’s a fact that remains true on “The Catastrophist,” Tortoise’s first studio album in nearly seven years. And it’s an album where moody, synth-swept jams like the opening title track cozy up next to hypnotic, bass-and-beat missives like “Shake Hands With Danger” and a downright strange cover of David Essex’s 1973 radio smash sung by U.S. Maple’s Todd Rittman. Throughout, the songs transcend expectations as often as they delight the eardrums.

Tortoise, comprised of multi-instrumentalists Dan Bitney, John Herndon, Doug McCombs, John McEntire and Jeff Parker, has always thrived on sudden bursts of inspiration. And for “The Catastrophist,” the spark came in 2010 when the group was commissioned by the City of Chicago to compose a suite of music rooted in its ties to the area’s noted jazz and improvised music communities.

Tortoise then performed those five loose themes at a handful of concerts, and “when we finally got around to talking…
 about a new record, the obvious solution to begin with was to take those pieces and see what else we could do with them,” says McEntire, at whose Soma Studios the band recorded the new album. “It turned out that for them to work for Tortoise, they needed a bit more of a rethink in terms of structure. They’re all pretty different in the sense that at first they were just heads and solos. Now, they’re orchestrated and complex.”

“All of the songs went through a pretty intensive process of restructuring,” adds Parker. “We actually had quite a lot of material that we ended up giving up on. Oftentimes, we’ll shelve ideas and come back to them years later.”

The album’s single “Gesceap” embodies the transformation of the original suite commissions, as it morphs from two gently intersecting synth lines into a pounding, frenzied full-band finish. “To a certain extent it’s more of a reflection of how we actually sound when we play live,” says McEntire of Tortoise’s heavier side. “That hasn’t always been captured as well on past albums.”

Elsewhere, “Hot Coffee” resurrects an idea abandoned from the band’s 2004 album “It’s All Around You,” gliding through only-on-a- Tortoise-album sections of funktastic bass lines, straight-up dance beats and Parker’s fusion-flecked guitar bursts. “It’s progressive experimental music with pop sensibilities,” says Parker.

“Rock On,” which McEntire says he and McCombs simultaneously had the idea to cover after having remembered hearing it on the radio all the time as kids, isn’t the only vocal moment on “The Catastrophist.” Also included is the bittersweet, honest-to-goodness soul ballad “Yonder Blue,” sung by Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley. “We’d finished the track and decided it would be good to have vocals on it,” recalls McEntire. “Robert Wyatt was our first choice, but he had just retired and politely said no. We were discussing asking Georgia to do something, but not that track in particular. Then we realized it would totally work.”

Tortoise is planning an extensive world tour in support of “The Catastrophist.” Admits McEntire, “figuring out how to reproduce these songs live will be a bit of a challenge. But I also feel like it might be time to dip into the back catalog a bit. The pool we draw from has been really consistent for quite awhile.

As ever, Tortoise has conjured sounds on “The Catastrophist” that aren’t being purveyed anywhere else in music today. There’s a deeply intuitive interplay between the group members that comes only from two decades of experimentation, revision and improvisation. And at a time when our brains are constantly bombarded by myriad distractions, “The Catastrophist” reminds us that there’s something much greater out there. All we have to do is listen. 
credits
released January 22, 2016

Beacons of Ancestorship Remixes

To follow up the release of their first new studio album in five years, Tortoise returns with a two song remix 12″ of songs from Beacons of Ancestorship. In the late 90s Tortoise released a series of highly influential remix 12″s with remixers as diverse as Stereolab, Jim O’Rourke, Oval, Autechre, Unkle and Derrick Carter. It is no surprise that their return to the remix 12″ format features other luminaries of the scene. Side A features none other than Eye from Boredoms doing a remix of the album’s opening track “High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In”. Side AA features the legendary dub/version master Mark Ernestus of Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound doing a Version of the track “Gigantes”.
credits
released September 29, 2009

Beacons of Ancestorship

“The great majority of artists spend their formative years (if not their entire careers) working to shake off the gravitational pull of their predecessors, and the many masters and masterpieces that came before them—what the literary critic Harold Bloom called “the anxiety of influence.” For musicians, in particular, this tendency is especially pronounced, for reasons having to do with the nature of their craft and materials. Unlike the contemporary novelist or filmmaker, say, there is presumably a finite number of choices remaining to the artist making music in the 21st century that have not yet been exhaustively mined after 500 years of popular and semi-popular song. It is for this reason that, when we are asked to describe what a piece of music sounds like, we inevitably talk not about the thing itself, but resort to the trope of metaphor or analogy—“a little Brian Wilson, a little Pink Floyd, a little bit of Kraftwerk.” Rare indeed is the artist who outgrows their early influences, and instead become one of the markers by which other groups are measured. Almost alone among bands of the last two decades, Tortoise is a group that resists easy metaphors and analogies, who can be described as sounding like only themselves and no one else. Twenty years after its founding, the band’s signature and singularly inimitable sound—a fluid…
 intersection of dub, dance, jazz, techno, rock, and classical minimalism, with no part overwhelming or dominating the whole—remains an American and international original. Even more unusually, they seem to have arrived at their sound with almost no apprenticeship to speak of; to judge from their early singles and albums alone, they seem to have come into being with their musical identity and DNA fully formed, like Athena from the forehead of Zeus. Further, while the group has spawned countless imitators, heirs, and followers—sincere, flattering, and otherwise—Tortoise remains unique in the world of contemporary music for their boundless intellectual curiosity, their unmistakable compositional voice, and their synthesis of seemingly contradictory sound worlds far from their doorstep.

Beacons of Ancestorship is Tortoise’s sixth full-length album, and their first release of new material since 2004’s It’s All Around You. In the interim, the group also released and toured behind the 2006 career retrospective box set A Lazarus Taxon, and an album of covers with vocalist Will Oldham by the likes of Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Richard Thompson, and The Minutemen, entitled The Brave and the Bold. Additionally, the individual members have kept busy with various other projects, including but not limited to Exploding Star Orchestra, Bumps, Fflashlights, and Powerhouse Sound.

A characteristic Tortoise album is one that traverses an encyclopedia of styles and reference points, a document of where musical intersections and dialogue are occurring at a given moment in time. Beacons of Ancestorship is no different, with nods to techno, punk, electro, lo-fi noise, cut-up beats, heavily processed synths, and mournful, elegiac dirges. We see these ideas working out in compositions like “High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In,” an eight-minute track which playfully references the world of ecstatic rave and dance culture with a curiously ambivalent, multi-part suite overlaid with robotic, machine-sounding melodies that stop and start in several different time signatures before the song’s ultimate resolution; and again in “Yinxianghechengqi,” which begins as a straightforward uptempo math-rocker before steadily accelerating into a wall of fuzzy atonal sqwonk.

There are many moods, styles, and modes in the Tortoise songbook, of course—often, in the course of a single composition. Consistent throughout, however, is what might be called a pervasive element of group play, or ensemble-mindedness, as opposed to emphasis on a virtuoso soloist or frontman. (Think Robert Altman versus Robert Plant.) In the same sense that the string quartet and all small-ensemble chamber music can be thought of as an intelligent conversation among equals—violins, viola, and cello taking turns, expressing opinions, joining voices and then coming apart, as also occurs in elevated discourse—so, too, the calling card of a Tortoise song is the experience of a sound being worked out as a conversation among the individual and interrelated parts—of an ensemble thinking collectively and in group dynamics through the expression of a multi-layered musical thought.”

– Ronen Givony 
credits
released June 23, 2009

A Lazarus Taxon

After 12 years of expanding the definition of rock music, Tortoise will release a highly anticipated box set. Lazarus Taxon is the paleontological term for a species that disappears, then reappears in the fossil record; its namesake is this collection including rare singles from foreign releases and tour EPs, compilation tracks, previously unreleased material and the out-of-print 1995 album Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters. The set contains three CDs and one DVD, which features most of Tortoise’s music videos and extensive and rare live performance footage.

Shortly following Tortoise’s 1994 self-titled debut, the band asked some friends to remix several tracks, resulting in RR&C, a 30-minute continuous disc. The packaging was made and assembled by hand and the limited pressing sold out in the first year of release. At the time, remixes were the tool of the DJ and found most commonly in the dance-music world. RR&C and the 12” series that followed– some of which you will find in the set – set off a wave of remixes and remix albums in the rock community. A remix intended for this collection by Mike Watt makes its debut in A Lazarus Taxon.

The photography that appears in the album artwork is the work of Arnold Odermatt, a retired Swiss police officer-turned…
 artist. Assigned to document auto accidents and police training, Odermatt’s photos were far more than documents. He often photographed the accident scenes again after all the officers had left and the clutter had been cleared. His photos were uncovered by the Springer and Winkler Gallery, which had Odermatt reprint them in limited editions. The photographs were an instant sensation and garnered Odermatt wide acclaim. Several books have since been published of his work. He has had solo shows at The Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and The Art Institute of Chicago. The Springer and Winkler Gallery and Odermatt graciously allowed Tortoise to use photos that they had selected for this package. 
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released August 22, 2006

It’s All Around You

Over the past decade, Tortoise have produced some of the most innovative and influential albums in all of music. From the deep and understated rhythms and tones on their 1996 landmark, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, to the bombastic rock of 2001’s Standards, Tortoise have always been ahead of their time. It’s All Around You finds Tortoise doing what they do best; building and rebuilding upon melodies and rhythms with their own remarkable touch.

Written largely in the studio, It’s All Around You was crafted over the course of a full year, and allowed Tortoise the use of John McEntire’s Soma Electronic Music Studios (whose clients have included Wilco, Stereolab among others) in serving not just as a state-of-the-art recording facility, but as a compositional tool as well. It took months of continuous writing, recording, tinkering, mixing, and perfecting to bring It’s All Around You to it’s finalized state.

Tortoise are one of the only bands of their size and status who have always produced their own records, and it’s largely because of this that they are able to achieve and maintain such a distinct and precise sound. The band’s extensive knowledge of the studio’s equipment and their ability to feel at home without a restrictive deadline allowed them to explore a multitude of approaches in the composing…
, editing, and coloring process of their compositions. The results of this process are clear in the lush, orchestrated tones, intricate melodies, and densely elaborate rhythms that make It’s All Around You Tortoise’s most adventurous and thoughtful record to date. These songs build deliberately and consistently, amassing music of great detail; exploring their layers is both exciting and infinitely rewarding.

While the members of Tortoise are perpetually involved with multiple other musical projects-from Brokeback and the Chicago Underground Quartet/Trio to A Grape Dope and The Sea and Cake-make no mistake about it, Tortoise is and always will be the main focus of these five distinctly visionary musicians. It’s All Around You took them to places they’ve never been before and shows them synergistically united like never before, now it’s your turn. 
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released April 6, 2004

Standards

“Standards,” the fourth full-length recording from Chicago’s Tortoise, boldly announces their return following 1998’s TNT. Tortoise spent the bulk of 1998 and a portion of 1999 touring the world. Following tours of the U.S., Europe, South America, Japan, Brazil, and Australia, Tortoise members worked on other projects that occupied them until the spring of 2000 when they began to record Standards. In 1999 members of the band toured the US as the backing band for legendary Brazilian composer/singer Tom Zé’s. Tortoise-members Dan Bitney, John Herndon and Jeff Parker worked fastidiously to record and tour in support of two full-length Isotope 217 albums. Parker also contributed to two records made under the Chicago Underground moniker, appeared in the film High Fidelity and lent his talents to a variety of other records. Douglas McCombs realized a full-length album and EP (due out January 2001) as Brokeback and recorded new records with Eleventh Dream Day and Pullman. John McEntire completed construction of his Soma Electronic Music Studios, composed and recorded music to the John Hughes film Reach the Rock and was still able to record and/or produce Stereolab, The High Llamas, The For Carnation, Smog and The Sea & Cake as well as Standards.

Musically, Standards is their most concise statement of…
 purpose thus far. The tunes are direct and immediate, yet they maintain the exploratory edge that has always characterized the group’s output. The fusion of instrumental sounds (electric, acoustic, and synthesized) is subtle and subversive. Similarly, the group’s fluency within the studio environment gives the finished work a quality that alternates between artifice and reality. Whilst TNT was constructed in the studio using segments recorded, improvised or altered electronically, the “Standards” sessions began after a period of rehearsal and composition. The contrast, simply stated, is that the studio was used extensively as a compositional tool for TNT, whereas with Standards it was used predominantly as tool to realize and enhance the existing new compositions. The studio does not impose itself on the recording to the same degree we witnessed on TNT, and the resulting record is in many ways reminiscent of their unadorned self-titled debut. Sounds, notes and rhythms are manipulated (such as the drums on “Seneca”) but in general, processing is spare (with the exception of first half of “Benway,” which is entirely synthesized). From the dramatic opening of “Seneca” to the soaring melodies of “Blackjack”; from the swing of “Benway” to the motion of “Six Pack”, Standards is anything but standard. Tortoise’s highly lyrical melodies, rich and varied tonal palette and high level of musicianship were recorded in a studio designed by McEntire. The resulting record is the clearest demonstration of the band’s many skills and strengths.

In recent years Tortoise has become part of the fabric of our culture. The have inspired countless other musicians. Their music has been used in commercials, films and fashion shows. They have used each successive record and collaboration, whether it’s Autechre, Tom Ze, Steve Albini, Derrick Carter or Oval to name a few, to push their personal musical boundaries individually and collective. John Herndon once commented, “When our music works best, it can be either a backdrop to your life, or you can concentrate on it totally.” As with all their works, Standards serves both these dual functions, and does so more confidently and completely than its predecessors. Standards is a document of lessons learned and skills refined. It is clearly their finest work to date.

Tortoise are:
Dan Bitney: Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Vibes, Marimba, Keyboards, Baritone Saxophone
John Herndon: Drums, Vibes, Keyboards, Sequencing
Douglas McCombs: Bass, Bass 6, Guitar, Lap Steel
John McEntire: Drums, Modular Synthesizer, Ring Modulator Guitar, Electric Harpsichord, Keyboards
Jeff Parker: Guitar, Bass 
credits
released February 20, 2001

TNT

Tortoise’s third full-length release, TNT, was written and recorded during a 10-month interval in 1997. This longer-than-usual writing/production schedule was purposefully undertaken by the group in the hopes of crafting an expansive, diverse, yet thematically coherent offering. Clocking in at 65 minutes, TNT builds upon the spare, instrumental framework of the group’s first, self-titled album, and the extended edits, melodic adventures, and klangfarben of the subsequent full-length release, Millions Now Living Will Never Die. Further to this, Tortoise’s interest in the possibilities offered by the remixing of tracks was realized within the actual production of TNT; individual elements, sections, or sometimes whole compositions mutate within the album’s shifting framework. These techniques were suitably realized thanks in part to the use of non-linear digital recording and editing methods, the first example of such work for the group. In addition, many of the arrangements push the group’s standard instrumentation into new territories with the inclusion of strings, woodwinds, and brass. The permanent addition of guitarist Jeff Parker (New Horizons ensemble, Chicago Underground Orchestra, Isotope 217) to the group’s lineup should be noted; his unique contributions can be felt throughout…
 the album.

Tortoise’s long-standing interest in electronic and computer music is revealed during the unbroken suite of tracks beginning with “In Sarah, Mencken, Christ, and Beethoven There Were Women And Men,” and ending with “Jetty.” Yet TNT remains very much a record produced by a group of musicians who enjoy presenting their material in a live context. To this end, the axis of drums-basses-guitars-keyb oards-mallets-percussion continues to provide both the backdrop and the inspiration for points of departure in style and sound.

For TNT Tortoise is:
Douglas McCombs
John Herndon
Dan Bitney
John McEntire
David Pajo
Jeff Parker 
credits
released March 10, 1998

Millions Now Living Will Never Die

Millions Now Living Will Never Die is the second full-length offering from Tortoise. The majority of the material was first conceived during an idyllic 10-day retreat in Northern Vermont, where the group were able to explore their ideas in a setting that fostered introspection and inspiration: the results are clearly evident in the washes of Klangfärben (tone color) and rhythm that permeate the album. The sounds and ideas contained therein can be viewed as a logical extension of those found their first (eponymous) LP on Thrill Jockey where the group outlined an agenda exploring texture, space, and mood. MNLWND, however, offers not only an expansion of those ideas but also the introduction of several new elements into the musical equation. New instrumental textures (marimbas and other mallet percussion on “Djed” (pronounced “jed”); conventional electric guitar on “Glass Museum”; analog synthesis/sequencing and found sound on “Dear Grandma and Grandpa”) and structural ideas (the extended formal procedures of “Djed”; the non-narrative song “Along the Banks of Rivers”) represent clear developments and redefinition’s of the group’s sound.

Recording commenced immediately upon returning to Chicago, though due to a variety of reasons, the entire recording and mixing process became elongated. This less hurried approach to album…
 making allowed the group to explore more of the possibilities inherent in the material; the 21-minute “Djed” is ample proof of this. The final version of the track went through approximately 15 different stages of mixing and editing. Like their debut, MNLWND was recorded and mixed by John McEntire (also at that time had produced material by Stereolab, Run On, The Sea and Cake, Trans Am, and Come). The majority of the album was recorded and mixed at Idful Music Corporation in Chicago, with the remainder being realized at the newly established SOMA Electronic Music Studios. MNLWND is the first studio recording to feature the talents of David Pajo, who joined to fill the position vacated by Bundy K. Brown in late 1994.

For MNLWD Toroise is
Douglas McCombs
John Herndon
Dan Bitney
John McEntire
Dave Pajo 
credits
released January 30, 1996

Tortoise

Tortoise’s self-titled debut incorporates many musical styles and influences and combines them into one very distince sound. So distinct that sometime after the release of this record they became recognized as the leaders of a new musical movement. Tortoise exploits the recording studio, in that they utilize the recording process as a compostional tool or “sixth member”, thus creating a boundless parameter in which to create music. Recorded at Idful Studios by John McEntire.

For this record Tortoise is
Douglas McCombs
John Herndon
Dan Bitney
John McEntire
Bundy K. Brown
credits
released September 1, 1994

Tortoise – TNT

By: Lucas Gabriel

Tortoise owns a very particular sound that mixes various styles such as krautrock, ambient, jazz and rhythm blues, which, in a modern and creative way, generate an authentic identity for the band and which results in different records like TNT, the his main studio album. The classic Tortoise album is not for everyone! Even being laborious to absorb it in the first ears. In it, experimentalism is taken seriously, without simple melodies or “friendly” instrumentation, full of broken rhythms, guitars that come out of nowhere and unusual movements. However, this is what makes TNT a unique and different album from the others, because instead of taking only flat bases and background textures, as is usual in “ambient” and / or post-rock albums, here we have a different thing on drums and guitars. At TNT, we go from a relaxing pace, as is the case with I Set My Face to the Hillside, to something extremely experimental like Almost Always is Nearly Enought. In all cases, we note that beats and percussion are the most evident points in their tracks. Its instrumental structure is built by the roots of jazz and rhythm blues that are exposed in percussion and bass, being the most explored elements on the disc. The guitars are played with arpeggios / fingerings and punctual riffs – as if they were sound minutiae that decorate the melodies and make them more “palatable”. The “strange” background sounds (random voices, slides, xylophones, synthesizers) give the final touch to the songs that, together with the organic instruments, generate the eccentric atmosphere of Tortoise. TNT is a creative album that requires a dedicated ear to taste it, as its instrumental line is so well worked and out of the box that to absorb it you must be willing to a new musical sensation. With this, its aspects such as the jazz rhythm, the experimentalism of the krautrock and its sound environment, create a wonderful artistic experience – something psychedelic, sedative and vibrant. Main songs: TNT, Swung from the Gutters, I Set My Face to the Hillside Favorite music: I Set My Face to the Hillside, Four-Day Interval

https://musicasemtitulo.com.br/resenhas/tortoise-tnt

https://tortoise.bandcamp.com/music

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortoise_(band)

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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4p81SffxAyf_EqpPU1zBaA

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Publicado por Aryon Maiden

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