Forming in the mid 90's Tortoise is a post-rock band. I know that there are many popular post-rock bands such as Godspeed You!Black Emporer and Explosions In The Sky, Tortoise is very similar to those bands. The thing that makes Tortoise slightly unique is that all of there work is instrumental. There are no vocals, while this can be annoying for some people the music actually works better with out any instruments. Once again Tortoise is an isntrumental post-rock band that can be compared to the bands I mentioned above. I will warn you right away that this music is not for everyone and you might have a hard time getting used to it.
Millions Now Living... is Tortoise's sophomore album, and possibly there best. I prefer TNT over this, but only slightly. This album is 42 minutes long, and the albums opener Djed is an epic 21 minute masterpiece. This song obviously takes up about half of the albums length so it is the centerpiece of the album. This epic opener speaks for the rest of the album. It is comprised of mellow, atmospheric moments and then there are some slight rock influences. Millions Now Living... is soft, atmospheric, mellow, lazy, and moody. Tortoise keeps things from getting old by adding in soft gentle guitars, a nice drum and rythm section, and they manage to mix in an organ and a lot of dub effects. Tortoise is a very experimental band, they keep things from getting dull and boring by mixing a lot of instruments and moods. If you want some amazing instrumental post-rock than this is the perfect album.
This is a very atmospheric and soft album. Even though the word rock is part of post-rock this is not rock music. Post-rock is when a band uses your typical rock instruments to create a non-rock sound.
The thing that makes this album truly unique is the way the songs are crafted. Djed goes through so many mood and instrument changes, it is incredible. The track goes from quiet dub effects, to a rockish guitar riff, all the way over to a soft drum beat and bassline. The changes are very smooth and you can still tell that the song is broken up into several parts. The instruments change a lot throughout the song, but the mood remains atmospheric and lazy. The other five songs on the album are not b-sides, some are actually better than the opener. The Taut And The Tame has a very rock influenced guitar riff, backed by some jazzy dub effects. It is an awesome rock influenced track, and it is possibly the high point of the album. ASurvey is a more subtle, and atmospheric song, but it still remains from being boring by the instrument changed. None of these songs are bad, and this album is very consistent. Tortoise is a very experimental band. They add in a whole slue of instruments and make this album very cool and mellow.
Millions Now Living... is intended for headphones, and it works best when you used them. The thing that makes this album so good is that it is still a great listen without headphones. You can use this album to chill out too, it is very mellow and smooth. Even though this is still effective without headphones, to get the full effect you should probably use them. That being said this is a great post-rock gem. Mellow, smooth, experimental, lazy, reflective and soft. That basically sums up how this album sounds.
This album is very accessible. There are enough funky grooves and nice, gentle guitar lines to keep things interesting. This album will take a few listens to get into, it took me about three listens to really get into this album. Once you get into this it is very rewarding. Millions Now Living... is an inventive album, despite being as experimental and exciting as it's procedures. There are a few electronic computer effects in this music, but not as much as previous albums. Tortoise has moved away far away from there stale debut album, this album will keep you guessing and things never get old. Millions Now Living... has some groovy hooks here and there, and when you combine that with some instrumental post-rock the outcome is very good.
Overall I would say that this album is a forgotten post-rock gem. There are no bad tracks and I would put Tortoise up with bands as good as Explosions in the Sky and GY!BE. Once again all of these songs are straight forward instrumental tracks, there are no vocals so consider yourself warned. The whole load of instruments used creates an atmospheric sound without being dull and boring. Millions Now Living... is very jazzy, and experimental. Tortoise uses dub effects quite often which is very different from your typical post-rock band, creating even a more unique sound. If you enjoy experimental, instrumental post-rock music than this album is the best you can find.
Overall Rating : 4.5/5
Pros: Instruments - Song Structure - Not a bad track - Jazzy, mellow feel
Cons: No vocals
Recommened Tracks :Djed - The Taut And The Tame