Friday, January 22, 2016

Tortoise "The Catastrophist"

Country: USA
Genre(s): Electronica, Post Rock, Experimental
Label: Thrill Jockey Records
Format: CD, vinyl, digital
Release date: January 22, 2016
1. The Catastrophist (3:52)
2. Ox Duke (4:49)
3. Rock On (3:13)
4. Gopher Island (1:13)
5. Shake Hands With Danger (4:10)
6. The Clearing Fills (4:22)
7. Gesceap (7:37)
8. Hot Coffee (3:53)
9. Yonder Blue (3:18)
10. Tesseract (3:54)
11. At Odds With Logic (3:15)
12. The Mystery Won't Reveal Itself (To You) [Bonus Track] (4:01)

Total time 47:37
Dan Bitney
John Herndon
Doug McCombs
John McEntire
Jeff Parker
Todd Rittmann: vocals (3)
Georgia Hubley: vocals (9)

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.
This fact remains true on The Catastrophist, Tortoise’s first studio album in nearly seven years. It’s an album where moody, synth-swept jams like the opening title track cozy up next to hypnotic, bass-and-beat missives like “Shake Hands With Danger,” a downright strange cover of David Essex’s 1973 radio smash, “Rock On,” sung by U.S. Maple/Dead Rider’s Todd Rittmann, and the bittersweet, honest-to-goodness soul ballad “Yonder Blue,” sung by Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley. Throughout, the songs transcend expectations as often as they delight the eardrums.
The album’s debut single “Gesceap” embodies the transformation of the original suite commissions, as it morphs from two gently intersecting synth lines into a pounding, frenzied full-band finish.
As ever, Tortoise has conjured sounds on The Catastrophist that aren’t being purveyed anywhere else in music today. There’s a deeply intuitive interplay between the group members that comes only from two decades of experimentation, revision and improvisation. And at a time when our brains are constantly bombarded by myriad distractions, The Catastrophist reminds us that there’s something much greater out there. All we have to do is listen.


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