Tortoise (Band)

Tortoise [ tɔ təs ː ] (English: Tortoise ) is a Chicago instrumental band in the mid- 1990s, the term post-rock helped to shape. Your plates will appear on the label Thrill Jockey.


Tortoise was one of the first American indie rock bands, krautrock, dub, minimalism, electronic music and various jazz styles have incorporated into their music, rather than the then more common styles of rock music - rock and roll and punk - to put. Typical of the sound of the band is often the collagen-like dealing with various stylistic elements and their alienation in the studio. The almost entirely instrumental music of Tortoise thus escapes due to their diverse influences easy categorization.

Tortoise is often cited as one of the Wegbegründer for the success and development of post-rock, often they are also criticized for their music owe a lot to the progressive rock.

The band members have roots in Chicago's multifarious music scene and have played in several indie rock and punk bands.

Band History

The origin of the band in the late 1980s, the duo Douglas McCombs and John Herndon, who would have liked to have seen as a rhythm duo as reggae legends Sly and Robbie. This idea, however, was never put into action, but their interest in rhythmic music and recording technology as a stylistic device finally caught the attention of John McEntire and Bundy K. Brown, and a little later Dan Bitney, who joined all three of the band since 1992 - after a few name changes - eventually called Tortoise. The musicians developed a purely instrumental low-frequency sound in the common style. Although all the band members are given as the author of the song, McEntire quickly became the leading force within the band, even if he is not the recognized leader is ( so at least the view of the media). In fact, his additional artistic influences were to perceive primarily as a sound engineer and mixer.

The first single of the band was released in 1993 and their debut album was followed a year later. Due to the instrumental style, the moderate pace and the unusual instruments - two bass guitars, three drums, vibraphone and marimbas - got the album slowly attention and praise. A remix album - Rhythms, Resolutions and Clusters - followed.

After Brown left the band and was replaced by Dave Pajo, especially the bass, but also previously played with Tortoise was the first recorded guitar with Slint. With him Tortoise published 1996 more alektronisch aligned recordings Millions Now Living Will Never Die, a breakthrough in quality as well as in public appeal.

Published in 1998 Tortoise TNT, the album that probably most shows jazz influences. For the album Pajo was replaced by Jeff Parker, who is a prolific jazz guitarist. Joint performances of the band with Fred Anderson, Tom Zé or The Ex followed.

In 2001 the standard was published; it contains more electronic elements and was reworked more than the previous albums. Standards is the only album from Tortoise on the electronica label Warp Records 2004 album It's All Around You was released. In 2006 she published The Brave and The Bold, which was created through a collaboration with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and only contained cover versions of other bands. In August 2006 appeared A Lazarus taxon, a set of three CDs and a DVD, the B-sides, singles and remixes from 1995 to 2001 and is out of print EP Rhythms, Resolutions and Clusters contains.

The complexity in the overall sound has remained all previous publications the same, although in some of the pieces quite pop and electronic dance music are cited - a change in the sound, comparing it even with the songs on the self-titled debut album.


Studio albums



  • 2006: A Lazarus Taxon ( Thrill Jockey )

Single Documents