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Part of the Chicago-based Tortoise's appeal and loyal following is fabricated upon its many-sided musicality, where bits and pieces of retro psychedelia, Euro space-rock, pop overtones and Pink Floyd type walls-of-sound come to fruition. Through it all, and somehow or another, the band propagates a singular identity via probing fuzz-toned guitars, deep bass grooves, streaming synth effects and cohesive thematic overtures.
With only its sixth full-length album, given the unit's twenty-year existence the tantalizing fabrics of sound, featuring a consortium of hip, modern day stylizations, are dashed with elements from the past. As the musicians generate their momentum via resonating guitar and keys motifs amid some ethereal, space-rock vamps, largely colored with quaintly melodic choruses. Hence, a near picture perfect fusion of applications that intersect and spawn a rather tenacious string of developments.
On "Yinxianghechengqi," guitarist Jeff Parker executes distortion-heavy, progressive-rock lines atop the rhythm section's punishing pulse. But a cosmic meltdown provides a mesmeric contrast, where the artists continue their plight with a smattering of simply enacted dream sequences. The band also pursues simplistic '60s pop riffing with antiquated electronics-based effects, then kick up a storm in spots due to spiraling aerial assaults. Bringing quite a bit to the table, Tortoise is masterful at conjuring up lucid imagery, sans any noticeable sense of musical complacency, while providing a perceptible visual element to the mind's always discerning eye.
Track Listing: High Class Slim Came Floatin' In; Prepare Your Coffin; Northern Something; Gigantes; Penumbra; Yinxianghechengqi; The Fall Of Seven Diamonds Plus One; Minors; Monument Six One Thousand; de Chelly; Charteroak Foundation.
Personnel: All instruments played by Dan Bitney, John Herndon, Douglas McCombs, John McEntire, Jeff Parker.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.