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 popmatters.com 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:
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.