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by Tortoise

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Alex Alexander
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Alex Alexander Each track here contains its own unique experiments and structures, but the flow from one song to the next is always flawless, and the band's explorative multitude of sounds is somehow so cohesive that it often feels like a single complex instrument, or like a living breathing animal. They also strike a lovely balance here between the organic drums/bass/guitars/vibes combo and electronics/sound experiments. Favorite track: Everglade.
John Cratchley
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John Cratchley This is when the extraordinary guitarist Jeff Parker joined (and their 'jazz' credentials came out of the closet!)...
A long album full of great ideas (with a definite nod to the possibilities of what the studio can add to the mix)...I remember this album being very popular (relatively speaking) and influential in boosting the concept that Chicago had a quite brilliant group of musicians working across different disciplines who wanted to collaborate (it's been win/win ever since,in my view).
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  • 12" Vinyl 2xLP [Clear w/ Hi-Melt Black & White]
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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


released March 10, 1998


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Tortoise Chicago, Illinois

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. ... more

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