Search Results for 'Tortoise'

Tortoise Beacons Bonus Track “Ice Ice Gravy” – Why Waste Time? Import Information

Yesterday Thrill Jockey announced that they are making the Tortoise track “Ice Ice Gravy” available for download for $1.00 from Fina– their online download service. To date, “Ice Ice Gravy” was only available in the U.S. as part of the iTunes version of Beacons of Ancestorship. Outside the U.S. it is available as a bonus track on the Japanese pressing of Beacons of Ancestorship as well as what appears to be a Japanese tour EP release in May titled Why Waste Time?

According to Dan Bitney in this interview with he track “Ice Ice Gravy” is a 13-minute pastiche of some improvisational work Tortoise did to get  inspiration while starting the recordings for what would become Beacons. From the interview at popmatters:

“It was more like experimenting,” he explains, “And we really didn’t get anything out of it. We were doing a lot of improv, just kind of set up a roomful of stuff. It wasn’t focused at all. We weren’t necessarily bringing in song ideas, we were just doing what I would describe as improv experiments. So we started out doing something like that and then we’d say, ‘Oh gee, what the hell are we doing? Is this going to work?’”

According to the article, some of these sessions are in “Ice Ice Gravy.” Ultimately, these sessions were scrapped in favor of the songs that would become Beacons. But, don’t dismiss “Ice Ice Gravy” as a mere toss-away track. It is an interesting view into the creative process that Tortoise works to make their albums.

While I was looking for the interview with Bitney where he talked about “Ice Ice Gravy” I stumbled upon a new Tortoise release titled Why Waste Time?! This is a Japan-only EP released on Commmons Records, which is a label started by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Judging by the little bit of English on the website it appears that Commmons has a relationship with Thrill Jockey to do the Japanese releases of their catalog.

Why Waste Time? contributes the cover art to the download of “Ice Ice Gravy” shown above and is a pretty cool release as it has three tracks not on the U.S. Beacons release (including “Ice Ice Gravy”), one of the Remixes from the recent Beacons Remixes 12″ and has some video content as well! Here is the tracklist:

1. Ruba’iyat
2. Passerine
3. Gigantes Version – Mark Ernestus
4. Ice Ice Gravy

CD Extra Video Content:

1. Charteroak Foundation (Live in Japan, 2009)
2. Seneca (Live in Japan, 2009)
3. Prepare Your Coffin (Music Video)

Updated! Thrill Jockey is carrying the CD for Why Waste Time? for $17! Click Here to order.

Click Here to listen to and purchase “Ice Ice Gravy” for $1.00.
Click Here to see the Why Waste Time? page at Commmons

Members of Tortoise, Isotope 217 & Causa Sui to Release Chicago Odense Ensemble

AdLuna Records is a label I’ve been following for a little while due to their ties with Thrill Jockey artists. AdLuna is a boutique-ish label out of France which has a penchant for free jazz and funk (well, and one folk release). They released their first three releases in 2008. Due to the low volume of releases from the label, they are able to focus on the packaging of the releases. All three CD releases are in a unique 5.5″ x 7.75″ book style cover– printed on high-quality card stock with a matte finish. In the case of Rob Mazurek’s Abstractions on Robert D’Arbrissel (AR001CD) release, there was a 10-page full-color booklet included in the cover. In the case of Doug Scharin’s project Activities of Dust, whose sidemen included Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Bill Laswell and Bernie Worrell, in addition to the CD of their release A New Mind (AR003CDDVD), a DVD titled “Return to the Original Matrix” which was produced by Doug Scharin.

Last week AdLuna announced that their next release would be an album from Chicago Odense Ensemble. Chicago Odense Ensemble is a group made up of Rob Mazurek (Chicago Underground, Isotope 217, Exploding Star Orchestra), Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Isotope 217, Exploding Star Orchestra), Dan Bitney (Tortoise, Isotope 217), Matt Lux (Isotope 217, Exploding Star Orchestra), Brian Keigher (aka DJ Warp), Jonas Munk (Causa Sui, Manual) and Jakob Skott (Causa Sui). Evidently derives its name from the fact that Mazurek, Parker, Bitney, Lux and Keigher all call Chicago home and Causa Sui members Skott and Munk are from Odense, Denmark.

I was not aware of Causa Sui until I heard about this release so I checked them out. They are spacy-stoner rockish instrumental group. Kind of Doors-meets-Hawkwind, I suppose. I’ve been listening to it quite a bit in the last week, and the influence of Causa Sui should make for a really great release! From the press release is a quote from Jonas Munk, “The closest reference for this kind of music is probably early-1970’s proto-fusion jazz that strived for a similar synthesis of jazz improvisation, psychedelic rock, Eastern and African sounds and the use of the studio as a musical tool instead of merely a recording facility.”

The release, which doesn’t have a date yet, will come out in CD and 2 180g LP versions as well as digital download. AdLuna sent me some pictures of the proposed packaging which they are still formalizing. I also included the pretty cool teaser trailer for the release.

Stay tuned for more details as they come.

Click Here for AdLuna Records which will release Chicago Odense Ensemble this year.

Click Here for Chicago Odense Ensemble’s MySpace Page.

Tortoise Returns to Morning Becomes Eclectic Make Appearance at Amoeba Records

Tortoise is in L.A. and they are busy. They play a sold out show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, but they are doing a couple promotional appearances ahead of the show.  Yesterday Tortoise returned to the KCRW show “Morning Becomes Eclectic” to perform a 43 minute set and interview. The show included three songs from Beacons of Ancestorship, but also included two earlier songs that I haven’t heard on tour in a while!

Tortoise kicked things off with “High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In” followed by “Prepare Your Coffin” from Beacons, and then did “The Suspension Bridge At Iguazú Falls” from T.N.T. and “Djed” from Millions Now Living Will Never Die. The band wrapped things up with “Minors” from Beacons, which was unfortunately cut short. The interview with the band mostly surrounded how the band works together collaboratively on their music, which was cool.

Today (July 9th) Tortoise makes an in-store appearance at the Hollywood Amoeba Music location, which they will stream from their website. The show should start at 6PM Pacific Time (8 PM Central, 9 PM Eastern, etc.). Tortoise is also featured on Amoeba’s “Music We Like – Handpicked Titles for $10.98 or less” sale.

Click Here for the information on the Tortoise In-Store Live Stream (At this point the stream has been taken down, but there are pictures from the session).

Click Here to visit Tortoise’s Website

Click Here for Tortoise’s 2006 appearance on Morning Becomes Eclectic

Tortoise Announce Fall Dates in Support of Beacons of Ancestorship

Tortoise’s Beacons of Ancestorship— their sixth official studio album– arrives in stores and online on Tuesday, June 23rd.  The release was available online for pre-order as CD, LP and mp3 and a special set of packages of the CD and LP release that included a folded poster of Beacons and a very limited brass belt buckle with the “TRTS” logo with the eye that was used on the hoodies. Apparently the buckles were only available to the first 75 preorders. The LP’s– which are 180g virgin vinyl which was mastered by Ray Janos at Stirling Sound— are sold out online, but thre should be copies available at your favorite indie record stores. It sounds like there will be a future re-repressing, too. At this moment there are still some CD+buckle packages left on the site.  See the “artist’s rendering” below. I’m going to need to run to WalMart and get a belt with the snaps so I can rock this thing!

The Tortoise touring machine is getting ready to jam econo in support of the new album. They’ve been playing some sporadic shows already and are hitting some festivals, but the fall tour is already starting to shape up with some Midwestern dates starting in September and October.

Notably (for me anyway) Iowa is getting its first tour date in a very long time. The show is going to take place at the very cool Voices Warehouse Gallery in Dubuque, IA. It has a similar artsy space feel as CSPS in Cedar Rapids.  I saw Bo Ramsey there in October of 2006. I called Tim McNamara who handles setting the shows up and there will be more information coming soon about tickets and the possibility of other opening acts. 10/3 ends up being the end of the season for the gallery and last year they had a number of acts playing. I’ll post an upcoming show article when I get more details.

Tortoise Tour Dates:
Sat. July 11 — Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
Mon. July 13 — San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
Wed. July 15 — Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
Fri. July 17 — Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival
Sun. July 19 — Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Mon. July 20 — Philadelphia, PA @ Sanctuary at First Unitarian Church
Tue. July 21 — New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Fri. July 24 — Tokyo, Japan @ Fuji Rock Festival
Fri. Aug. 14 — St. Malo, France @ La Route Du Rock
Sat. Aug. 22 — Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukkelpop
Tue. Sep. 29 — St. Louis, MO @ Firebird
Wed. Sep. 30 — Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont Club
Thu. Oct. 1 — Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room
Fri. Oct. 2 — Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
Sat. Oct. 3 — Dubuque, IA @ Voices Warehouse Gallery

Other articles at about Tortoise

Tortoise Picks Favorite Instrumental Tracks for Time Out New York

From a twitter by Thrill Jockey, I found out about this article at the New York Edition of Time Out where John McEntire, Jeff Parker and Doug McCombs of Tortoise provide a playlist of their all-time favorite instrumental tracks. The five tracks picked as you might expect provide a peek into the influences of the band. While it’s cool that Time Out collected these tracks and provide a streaming player for us to sample the tracks, it doesn’t explain who the artists are or maybe the significance of the tracks.

1. Sonny Sharrock – “Who Does She Hope to Be” from 1991’s Ask The Ages album on Axiom Records. This was picked by McEntire, and I’d never heard of Sharrock before this. The track ends up being a mini-class on post-bop jazz. The beautiful and meloncholy track is a short and sweet track featuring the guitar work of Sharrock, which at times sounds a lot like Santana. We also get some amazing horn work from Pharoah Sanders whom Sonny worked with early in his career. Charnett Moffett provides some beautiful double bass as well. Also in the combo is noted Coltrane sideman drummer Elvin Jones. The song at 4:42 is the most direct and concise track on the album, and frankly one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I’ve heard. Sharrock died in 1994 at a young 53 years old, but established himself as an influential guitarist in the free jazz space. As a side note, Sharrock was the composer for the Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast TV show. I keep playing this song over-and-over. Amazing song.

2.  Latin Playboys – “Viva la Raza” from 1994’s self-titled release on Slash/Warner. Chosen by McCombs, this is the opening track from the Los Lobos side-project Latin Playboys. An interesting choice. Latin Playboys is made up of Los Lobos members David Hidalgo and Louis Perez along with noted producer and engineer combo Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake. Froom and Blake are responsible for a bunch of amazing albums over the years, but in the context of the Latin Playboys, they produced the “experimental trilogy” of Los Lobos albums Kiko (1992), Colossal Head (1998) and This Time (1999).  So, it isn’t surprising that during this very fruitful period in the band’s history that Latin Playboys– itself a bit experimental– would form. The second and last Latin Playboys release Dose was released in 1999– also during this period. In my opinon if you listen to the Latin Playboys along with the trilogy, it doesn’t sound like anything other than part of the Los Lobos catalog. According to the Wikipedia article on Latin Playboys, Hidalgo brought some demos he recorded at home to Froom who suggested that they be used in a new band rather than their intended recipient Los Lobos.

3.  Art Ensemble of Chicago – “Rock Out” from the 1969 album Message To Our Folks. Chosen by Jeff Parker. Not really very surprising, since he spends nearly all of his non-Tortoise time gigging constantly in jazz combos. I suspect that he is very influenced by the long-standing tradition that the Art Ensemble has become in its 42-year existence in all of its variations. Early pioneers in the avante-garde jazz arena. This band’s history alone could keep me tied up for weeks digging into their catalog.

4. Link Wray – “Rumble” – Chosen by Doug McCombs, Link Wray and the Ray Men’s 1958 hit “Rumble” originally on the Cadence label is the precursor to a number of music genres– surf, punk, metal. According to the allmusic article on Link Wray, he single-handedly invented the power chord. “Rumble” continues to be a familar tune as it was used pretty prominently in Pulp Fiction. Paved the way for every instrumental band since, and I guess that would include Tortoise!

5. Ennio Morricone“A Fist Full of Dollars” Morricone more than anyone else I think influenced the Tortoise sound the most. Even on the upcoming Beacons of Ancestorship, there is a track called “The Fall of Seven Diamonds Plus One” with its arpeggiated guitar (likely the Bass VI played by Doug who picked this song) as well as the bag full of metal percussion is certainly recalls a spaghetti western soundtrack. Instead of trying to hire Morricone to score his upcoming movie Inglorious Basterds maybe Tarantino should have called up Tortoise.

An entertaining mix– I just wish it had more songs on it. A comment I made on the article with the mix was that I was surprised that Doug hadn’t picked “The Lonely Surfer” by Jack Nitzsche. When I saw Tortoise in Madison last year I had a chance to talk to Doug about his favorite topic, the Fender Bass VI. He told me the greatest example of a Bass VI song was “The Lonely Surfer,” and that he’d tried to convince Tortoise to cover this song.

Click Here to visit the Time Out New York Exclusive Playlist from Tortoise. Update: The player doesn’t work anymore, sadly, so I’ve updated the above list to include YouTube Links.

Get Your Tortoise On… Beacons of Ancestorship is coming

Tortoise - Photo by Jim Newberry

Tortoise - Photo by Jim Newberry

As previously mentioned, Chicago Post Rock stalwarts Tortoise’s first new album since 2004’s It’s All Around You will be released on June 23rd on Thrill Jockey. Titled Beacons of Ancestorship, it is, in my opinion certainly very distinctively Tortoise but compared to Around You, it seems to be more straightforward and pared back from some of the layered sound of that effort.

Thrill Jockey has started the promotion of Beacons early by allowing blogs to host a couple of mp3’s for download. The entire album is currently streaming from the Tortoise website on a splash page as well. I recommend you give it a listen!

If all of that weren’t enough, there is a video for “Prepare Your Coffin” that seems rather Tortoise-like. Matching the high-tempo (for Tortoise, anyway) pace of the song we see a guy running around taking interesting pictures of architecture that seem to echo the cover art for the album.

Click Here to visit the Beacons of Ancestorship album page at Thrill Jockey which is where you will be able to pre-order the album (no date, yet).

Click Here to download “High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In”

Click Here to download “Prepare Your Coffin”

Click Here to visit the page with the stream of Beacons of Ancestorship

Click Here to visit Tortoise’s MySpace page

Watch the video for “Prepare Your Coffin”

Tortoise – Prepare Your Coffin from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

New Tortoise Album Beacons of Ancestorship Details

Contrary to the information that Pitchfork announced about an April release date in their Guide to 2009 releases listing April 21st for it, Tortoise’s new album titled Beacons of Ancestorship will be released on June 23rd! This was announced today in the Thrill Jockey forums as well as twitter.

Beacons of Ancestorship is taking Thrill 210 as its catalog number between Lithops Ye Viols! and Mountains Choral, is Tortoise’s first solo studio release since 2004’s It’s All Around You (excluding the compendium A Lazarus Taxon, and the album The Brave and the Bold which was a covers album done with Bonnie Prince Billy). Recent criticism of Tortoise is that they’ve been touring the same set since they introduced the It’s All Around You songs, and really haven’t been digging much further back in their catalog than T.N.T. Since the Thrill Jockey 15th Anniversary shows in December of 2007, Tortoise has been giving  new songs a workout on the road. Looking at the tracklist below, however, only “Prepare Your Coffin” is a recognizable title out of the working titles which included “Glowstick” and “Korg.” I guess we’ll see which of these tracks gained new titles on the record.

The release predictably will come out on CD and a limited pressing of vinyl, but according to this Pitchfork (who gets all the sweet scoops from Thrill Jockey!) there will be a series of  limited edition 5″ records following the release featuring new music!

Tracklist for Beacons of Ancestorship

01 High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In
02 Prepare Your Coffin
03 Northern Something
04 Gigantes
05 Penumbra
06 Yinxianghechengqi
07 The Fall Of Seven Diamonds Plus One
08 Minors
09 Monument Six One Thousand
10 de Chelly
11 Charteroak Foundation

New Tortoise on Record Store Day Special Release

Cover by Crosshair

Cover by Posttypography

Cover by Posttypography

In celebration of National Record Store Day, Thrill Jockey is getting in on the action by releasing a very limited edition (900 copies) LP (really more of an EP) called Records Toreism which will be blessed with catalog number Thrill 12.30. [Note: Thrill 12.29 was the Thrill Jockey 15th Anniversary Trey Told ‘Em MegaMix]

Thrill Jockey is using the occasion to showcase some of their newest acts as well as include a new track from Tortoise’s upcoming release (now pushed to June) and a Trans Am track. Here are the tracks as Thrill Jockey calls them:

1. Mountains “Windows”
This is a new song that does not appear any place else. It was recorded with love for the record store.

2. Tortoise “High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In”
This is a new song. It will also appear on their new album in June. Released early with love for the record store.

1. Double Dagger “Stagger Lee”
This is a new song that does not appear any place else. It was recorded with love for the record store.

2. White Hills “Eye to Eye”
“Eye To Eye” was previously released on Abstractions & Mutations, a limited edition CD-R release put together for a tour in September of 2007. Released for the first time on LP with love for the record store.

3. Trans Am Featuring Tim Soete “Wounded Monkey”
This is an unreleased song recorded and mixed March 28, 2005 at MAINZ in Auckland, New Zealand. Tim Soete (from The Fucking Champs) on lead guitar and lead vocals. Released with love for the record store.

The covers (shown above) are meant to portray the alternate possible futures of record stores– one is if we don’t continue to shop the local indie store, and the other is the optimistic future afforded us from spending money not at Best Buy, but at our favorite Indie store. The covers will be handmade, and hand printed by Crosshair.

Of course, yours truly is drooling over this release. The trick is going to be to figure out which stores will carry this. Neither indie store in Iowa City is participating in Record Store Day on April 18th. However, two stores in Dubuque are, so maybe a trip to my old stomping grounds and the store that I spent many a Tuesday over lunch Moondog Records (known as Co-Op Records back then…)

Click Here for Record Store Day Information

Click Here for the post on the Thrill Jockey boards about Records Toreism

Tortoise to Release 6th Album on 4/21/09; Langerado ’09


Per Stereogum in an article interviewing Doug McCombs, Tortoise is in the studio working on their follow-up to 2004’s It’s All Around You. Well, I guess you could say they are still in the studio working on the follow-up.  Tortoise has been working on the follow-up for three years in “fits and starts” at McEntire’s Soma Studios in Chicago.

The band has been playing at least three of the tracks from the new album on tour since their unannounced appearance at the Thrill Jockey 15th anniversary shows in December of 2007. The article makes references to the temporary song titles that have shown up on setlists like “Korg” and “Prepare Your Coffin” which we’ve seen called “Coffin.” We’ve also heard a track variously known as “Glowstick” or “Glow.”

According to McCombs, although the album to him sounds sonically a bit like Standards, the band has implemented smaller arrangements than the last two albums. Apparently there are only a couple of sessions left to record including adding some string arrangements (!!). The album may also include vocals. Following the release of April 21st the band will kick off a “proper tour.” This April 21st date is corroborated at Pitchfork’s Guide to 2009 Releases.

Tortoise was recently announced as part of the Langerado Festival lineup on 3/7/09. Set in Miami, Langerado promises to be a really good festival based on this year’s lineup which includes Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, Umphrey’s McGee, Dashboard Confessional, the Pogues, Snoop Dogg, and Death Cab among it’s current list of 58 musical acts to play over three days. With the wealth of tapers at Langerado, I’m hoping we get a good recording of that set.

More Tortoise Vinyl Back in Print!

While I was in Madison, WI yesterday for the Snake on the Lake Festival at UW Madison I stopped at a couple of record stores– Mad City Music and B-Side Records. I’ll be providing a B-Sides in the Bins article soon, but while I was in these stores I was shocked to find NEW, SEALED copies of Tortoise’s TNT and It’s All Around You! Notably they had the new red sticker that says that there is a coupon for free mp3 downloads inside– which wouldn’t have been on them originally. They also had copies of the new red-vinyl version of Standards previously reported on here as well.

TNT was $16.99 for a 2-LP at Mad City, and It’s All Around You was $12.99 at B-Side. If you go to Thrill Jockey’s page for It’s All Around You, sure enough there are copies of it on vinyl available for purchase for $11.00. On the TNT page, they mention that there are a limited supply of these back in print, however at this moment, there isn’t a working link to order one.

I’m happy to see that these are available, I’m hoping that it will help lend some sanity to the current used pricing for OOP Tortoise vinyl. It will be interesting to see if Millions Now Living and the first album get re-pressed.

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