When I first listened to Tortoises’ It’s All Around You
I was extremely disappointed. After obsessing over albums such as TNT
and Standards It’s All Around You
just didn’t compare to any other albums in the Tortoise catalog.
I finally realized that comparing It’s All Around You
to previous Tortoise releases was a little unfair. Once I realized that the album was obviously inferior to prior releases I started treating it like its own separate album. Tortoise mix together dub, funk, trip-hop, post-rock, ambience, and electronic all into one. In result you get a very calm, relaxing, and ethereal type of feel. This “ethereal” type of atmosphere is captured perfectly by the smooth production, every instrument and electronic effect is crystal clear. If Tortoise did one thing right with this release it’s that they were able to create an organic and lush sound without boring the listener.
It’s All Around You
has a ton of range and different ideas. The soothing backing vocals and trippy beats found on Lithium Sticks
instantly reminded me of an old Massive Attack b-side. Tortoise touch up on funk with the xylophone driven Five to Many
and the chilled out, funky bassline found on Stretch
. You’ve also got your ambient tracks such as the mysterious By the Dawn
and the creepy synth bleeps found on Unkown
. The music is calm and relaxing while being funky and jazz oriented, it’s a sound that few bands can capture.
The big problem with It’s All Around You
is that nothing stands out. While the music is great to put on in the background nothing is really their to keep you interested. Aside from the epic arrangements found on the title track almost all of these songs have next to no replay value. Tortoise succeed when it comes to creating unique sounds and organic production but they didn’t really do anything interesting on this release.
If you’re a Tortoise n00b then you’ll probably enjoy this. Musically It’s All Around You
is very poignant and lush, but there’s nothing there to keep the listener coming back for more. There are no sprawling epics or new ideas presented and that’s the most disappointing thing about album. I can’t exactly say that I dislike the album because the production perfectly accompanies the chilled out music but that doesn’t save the album from being a snooze. Any Tortoise fan will enjoy It’s All Around You
, just don’t make a purchase expecting a TNT