By • Jul 1st, 2009 • Category: Band Bios

tortoiseThere’s nothing Chicago-specific about Tortoise, except Tortoise itself. The June release of Beacons of Ancestorship marked the ensemble’s sixth studio LP for Chicago-based label Thrill Jockey and, throughout the years, band members have popped up in all things Windy City — from appearing in the film adaptation of Hi Fidelity to collaborating with local bands like Zwan, The Sea & Cake and others. But Tortoise’s brand of mostly instrumental genre-fusion music sounds anything but akin to the working class, Midwestern conservatism that surrounds their city. Instead, it’s a hybrid of jazz, Krautrock, and post-punk with an almost revolutionary take on Americana/indie structures. Yet even with all their avant garde leanings and continual deconstruction of traditional music, Tortoise has remained consistently innovative. The band’s seemingly free form, try-anything-once approach to songwriting makes it easier for them to stumble upon the expansive sounds that later populate their albums. Not having the ability (or seeing the need) to self-edit can be a blessing. For Tortoise, it’s both the band’s biggest strength as well as its biggest weakness.

Chicago Innerview, July 2009

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