Tortoise- Tortoise

Tortoise- Tortoise

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Label: Thrill Jockey

Reissued 6/24/2022, Originally released 1994

An album that not only set the tone for the new Chicago prog rock, but also cemented the musical niche for Thrill Jockey Records. Here, multi-instrumentalists John McEntire, Dan Bitney, John Herdon, Douglas McCombs, and Bundy K. Brown share equal responsibility and trust in each other, pouring out a thick stew of meditative grooves, light production experiments, and rusty guitar-string ambience -- the likes of which have rarely sounded so approachable, but this is not to say the album is a sellout leap into commercialism. There are a couple head scratchers and murky moments that fail to make much of an impact, but the quintet have spun such a rich web of mood and personality that any fall from grace barely changes altitude. Steady frontman McEntire wades confidently through uncharted waters, and his strength as a producer keeps a few odd moments from sinking. Tortoise sounds like a dark and wonderful garage full of dusty instruments. It's like looking at Avedon photographs -- the crevices and quirky imperfections are so richly explored that they become things of beauty.

Track listing:

  1. Magnet Pulls Through 
  2. Night Air 
  3. Ry Cooder 
  4. Onions Wrapped In Rubber 
  5. Tin Cans & Twine 
  6. Spiderwebbed 
  7. His Second Story Island 
  8. On Noble 
  9. Flyrod 
  10. Cornpone Brunch