Category: Tortoise

Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die

ARTIST: Tortoise                220px-Millions_Now_Living_Will_Never_Die_-_Tortoise

TITLE: Millions Now Living Will Never Die

YEAR RELEASED: 1996

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Djed, The Taut and the Tame

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nope

LINEUP: Dan Bitney, John Herndon, Douglas McCombs, John McEntire, David Pajo

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A long excursion and some shorter tracks. The long song intrigues, but some of the shorter ones fall flat.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Djed” is the centerpiece of this second album by Tortoise, and it’s an almost 21-minute long work that turns and moves through several motifs and styles that challenges and intrigues the listener.

An on the ball listener could probably go through each of the genres referenced in “Djed”, but as a piece it’s evolution between styles make it its own. It’s fascinating and compelling.

There are five other tracks here, and they don’t reach the brilliance of “Djed”. A couple fall short and seem to be just filler or incomplete ideas, but a couple work pretty well. “Djed” though is the main attraction and the one that makes this worthwhile.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: David Pajo from Slint joined the group on bass.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE B+: “Djed” is tremendous but a couple of the other tracks fall short.

Tortoise – Tortoise

ARTIST: Tortoise                 Tortoise-Tortoise_(album_cover)

TITLE: Tortoise

YEAR RELEASED: 1994

CHART ACTION: #Nope

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None

LINEUP: John McEntire, Dan Bitney, John Herdon, Douglas McCombs, Bundy Brown

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album by slow and steady Chicago scenesters is eerily beautiful.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s probably no apt name for this band than Tortoise – where mid-tempo is breakneck speed and the music moves along methodically, steadily, and even with great beauty despite it all.

The first incarnation of the band featured two bassists and three percussionists, who play the standard drum kit along with vibraphone, marimba, and other mallet instruments. What results is a music that intrigues the listener. It sounds so different, yet at the same time the themes and motifs are familiar. And because it’s slow doesn’t mean it can’t be loud, but normally they carry along quietly (the drum kit on “Ry Cooder” is loud and joyful, though).

This is a record for those chill moments when you don’t need volume or convention to hang out. Good with wine and a book.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band was given credit for moving the Chicago scene away from the “Guyville” towards something called ‘post-rock’.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A: For those of us who don’t mind instrumentals that blur the line of many genres.