Artist of the week: Tortoise
Heralded as being one of the primal forces behind the development and popularity of the post-rock movement, Tortoise is also the most important American band to have renegaded in the 90s standard rock’n’roll and punk in favor of a minimalist approach that incorporates Krautrock, dub, electronica a several jazz styles. Another characteristic that separates Tortoise to their contemporaries is the fact that all their members are multi-instrumentalists, gravitating around the driving force of John McEntire. Though heavily indebted to progressive rock, the band developed a very idiosyncratic sound (defined by groovy ambiences, angular guitar phrasings and production experiments) that has been many times copied but never surpassed. Their discography includes two absolute classics that have managed to old gracefully: Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996) and TNT (1998). Tortoise also spawned several other musical projects throughout the years such as The Sea and Cake, Brokeback, Isotope 217 and Chicago Odense Ensemble.
After a long hiatus of seven years, Tortoise are finally back with The Catastrophist, an album that is a definitive departure from the rubbed, hard-bop crunch oft their LP, 2009’s Beacons of Ancestorship. Their clinical craftiness may be again in full display, but this time it showcases a cohesiveness that, along with the addition of vocals, are welcomed novelties in their loose and instrumental discography.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.