Full Live Set from the Jazzy and Progressive... Tortoise

Some bands go above and beyond in terms of creativity and develop a sound and style that is completely unique. Tortoise is a band like that. A band that's been floating around in my radar for a number of years now, usually in reference to having influenced other artists, I've only recently come to start to take a closer look at their catalog. There unique blend of styles, with a sort of jazzy, progressive twist is unlike anything I've ever heard of before and I'm thoroughly impressed by their artistic style and creative depth.

During my time investigating Tortoise further I found this video on YouTube of a complete half hour set the band played back in 2004 and I was so struck by it that I thought I'd share it.

Thanks to Theorem for uploading it, the set list according to the post is :

-Strech (you are all right)
-Ten Day Interval
-Swung From the Gutters
-The Lithium Stiffs

So what impressed me about this clip?

Well, there is the obvious musicianship involved as this bad definitely has both creative and technical talents more along the lines of a true jazz band than some rock bands. Also, dueling drum sets are always fun as is the way everyone seems to play multiple instruments song to song.

Those things aren't really what the music is about though... Tortoise is definitely one of those bands that is all about atmosphere and developing sonic landscapes, more headphones in the dark music, and they're very good at it. Unlike some other bands though, they are not nearly as symphonic though. This music is very organic and continuously evolving with elements if acid jazz, noise rock, electronica, driving percussion and experimentalism all sort of fused together into something completely unique, but extremely compelling. I can't really do them justice in trying to describe exactly what is going on. it's so steeped in the progressive, the avant garde and artistic expression, but never extremely over the top... similar to Radiohead, but without as strong a rock base... maybe. Even elements that seemed out of place at first seemed to blend in perfectly creating this blend of styles, but making for a completely new sound unique to them.

Lets just say that this little 6 song set was more than enough to make me extremely interested in Tortoise. They were around in my head for a long time but it took a clip like this to really make me sit up and say... "wow, what was that?" Hopefully by showing it here a few other people will be as intrigued as well and check out Tortoise as well.


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