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Trion - Tortoise CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.70 | 73 ratings

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4 stars This is a ridiculous album and just plain revolting! Why did we have to wait so damn long for a mellotron orgy? Retro-this and retro-that but let it be known that this storied contraption that made many a musician green with envy at getting their fingers on one, red-faced with anger when the damn Mark IVs would go haywire (which was often) and outright ashen when everything would go right (which also was often). But by God, when it decided to evoke majesty, splendor and emotion, it was a mind blowing experience that left one breathless and trembling with glee. Anyone out there who had the privilege (I was lucky to be a teen then) of witnessing "Watchers of the Skies" opening a Genesis show in 1973 and being floored by the sheer aural assault, knows exactly what I mean. There are modern samplers that can reproduce a 40 piece symphony orchestra or a male/female mass choir PERFECTLY but in the every early 70s, the 'tron was still teething and it possessed this metallic gritty sound (as the metal 7 second tapes would grind to a premature halt) that just can't be reproduced (just like the Mini-Moog & the VCS3 synths, the Hammond 3c or the Lowry organs). When the acoustic guitar interacts with choir or string mellotron, something approaching revelation occurs; when the lead electric kicks in, it becomes genius (ex Genesis' "Hairless Heart") . So it's up to our Dutch friends to lovingly and reverently assemble this sultry homage to the big white (most of the time) monster. Starting out as an accident of circumstance , Edo Spanninga asked his Flamborough Head bandmate Eddie Mulder in guitar and bass as well as Odyssice's Memmo Boosma on drums to help him with this project. We now know that what started as this one -off recording has evolved into a parallel band with the day gig, as "Pilgrim" has just been released (On my acquire at all costs list). "Tortoise" is a slick affair with a masterful cover and artwork from obvious Roger Dean inspired Jasper Joppe Goers. As the liner notes very clearly inform, there is a lot of love and respect for this instrument (making a comeback as new production models have allegedly resumed!!!) This is a stellar all-instrumental album with no piano and no synths that starts of with choir samples and massive doses of various acoustic/electric guitars and rock steady drumming. The 11 tracks form various chapters in the saga of a turtle's tale, offering up different textural scenarios for all the various incarnations: flute, cello, oboe, strings, organ, vibe and choir. That there are outright winks at Camel (the supremely splendid "The New Moon" in particular), Genesis (the booming "Tortoise"), early King Crimson (the brief "Radiation" 1 & 2 and the sultry guitar- guided "The Seagulls"), Anthony Phillips (the short but fragile "Hurt"), Focus (the slow burn fiery 7 minute "Tribulation" with its multi facetted guitar promenades) is entirely par for the course but the added little gems are also scintillating: the pristine ultra orchestral cello-tron driven "Hindsight", the playful opulence of "Jemetrion" that shimmers with unabashed charm, the baroque slow pace luxury of "Spectrum of Colours" and the pastoral aural landscape of "Endgame" each bullied along by tremendous Mulder guitar solos that shake, tremble and shine . Way beyond my or anyone else's expectations. Knowing that a follow up is on the way just makes my day! 4.5 rabbit eared trons.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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