Search - Tortoise :: Tortoise

Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Tortoise
Title: Tortoise
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Thrill Jockey
Original Release Date: 6/22/1994
Re-Release Date: 5/23/1995
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, Experimental Music, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 036172871322

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CD Reviews

If You're new to Tortoise.....(Then Start with this, their D
fetish_2000 | U.K. | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"So the joke goes...."Jazz!!!...Is God's way of saying, that a Musician has become too proficient with their instrument". You can take a little grain of truth from that joke, in the fact that Jazz musicians (depending on the type of Jazz), can occasionally be considered a little scholarly & Precise in their studious composition. "Tortoise" are (in theory) a studious instrumental indie band, consisting of members that have previously excelled in other bands, and have come together to form a 'Indie Supergroup' (of sorts). Consisting of multi-instrumentalists: Dan Bitney, John Herdon, Douglas McCombes & Bundy K. Brown, and centre around linchpin (and drummer) John McEntire.

Their Music is primarily a combination of softly performed 'Experimental-Rock', "Indie Rock" & "Post-Rock", that manages to reference their influences of: Krautrock, dub, avant-garde jazz, classical minimalism, ambient and space music, film music & electroncia. The sound is one of music that is a reflective and cerebral blend of meditative instrumentals that does touch upon elements of their musical influences. that although to some degree are rooted in jazz structures, have a free-from almost semi-improvised jamming feel to it. The subtle use of percussion, basses, and occasional electronics are all skillfully interwoven into their tracks and create a sort of wistfully detached musical atmosphere. And although electronic sampling and manipulation at various points through their tracks is evident, it's the intertwining guitar motifs that are their strongest assets. And this is where that Jazz reference most clearly rears its head. Not in that it Jazz music, but more that it that the sensibilities of Jazz (Texturing the music, precise performances, and to a greater degree....Mood), are all skillfully worked into shimmering rhythms and distinctive taut dynamics that only years of excelling with your instrument can bring.

Tortoise's music is one, that never really breaks out of a laid-back speed, one that is in equal parts hushed gentle rhythms, and intimate precious sounding cerebral noodling. This is music that doesn't intially hit you immediately but more a sound that slowly over the course of time, works its way into your consciousness, and although there is the occasionally odd bit of production/arrangements, they (over time), actually seem to merely be part of the charm of Tortoise's music. And anyone that is fully armed with the facts regarding Tortoise's minimally atmospheric instrumentals and doesn't appreciate the sublime-ness of tracks such as: "Ry Cooder", "Flyrod", "Onions Wrapped in Rubber" & "Magnet Pulls Through" will (as much as it pains me to say this) probably never 'get' Tortoise.

Being a huge fan of instrumental music, I found that this album, was a fantastically performed and arranged minimal guitar/percussion led album that manages to be cool, ambient, rhythmically symphonic, playful and musically textured, and one that will delight those that want something a little more cerebral in their music. Sure....they'll be those that consider Tortoise's music a little too clinical and scholarly to truly embrace, with no vocals to latch onto, and that the music veers a little bit too closely too musical noodling & ((shudders)) Muzak!!!, , to give the group the kudos they deserve. And if I'm being completely honest with you, there is a little bit of truth in those claims, and those people should pass over Tortoise and look for something else. But that doesn't mean that isn't still an exceptionally performed and elegantly composed album, and although the band would learn from this release and their next album (The seminal "Millions Now Living, Will Never Die") would find them performing more as a unit, rather than a group of highly talented musicians performing together. This is still a remarkably classy and (in some cases) funky debut, that is the perfect introduction to the band."
Arrrrr, Tortoise be good, matey!
Toe Jam is Fun | somewhere stupid | 06/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In these days of the pop schlock that dominates the radio and CD store shelves (cliche, I know, but true), Tortoise is one of the few "new" bands I listen to, because they are one of the few that have incredible amounts of talent (particularly the rhythm section, wow!) and create good music. I have to say I think "Magnet Pulls Through" and "Spiderwebbed" are the best songs, mostly because of the overall groove and the wonderful bass (as a bass player, I KNOW!).
I have found that this album is much more like "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" than "Millions..." is like "TNT" in terms of overall sound, quality, production, and even case! Buy this and "Millions" and "TNT" and the two albums that are not in my possession "Standards" and "It's all around you" and see for yourself!
Thank you for reading my review, and once again, please purchase this album. You'll get looks of admiration from record store clerks and educated people, and your ears will thank you.
This is a wonderful drum lesson
M. Doyle | Beverly Hills, CA | 11/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I remember being floored by this album when it came out in the mid 90's. There is so much to take in, two bassists, intense arrangement, electronic tweaking, amp reverb taken to new heights and of course for me.....drums. This, (combined with Fugazi's In on the Kill Taker) could be considered the post Jazz drummer's album of the 90's. If you're a drummer it's a feast, playing along with these slowed down but intricate syncopations teaches you to handle complex rhythym but still stay where you belong, in the background. Like a tatoo artist that first learns how to deal with Celtic Knotwork, you need to play along and practice to really appreciate the subtleness and grooves of this album. My playing went to a new level after hammering along to this for a while....incredible cd. If you're not a drummer, fine....put it on and let your creative spirit flow....this music is the definition of moving, pulsing, breathing art."