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STANDARDS

Tortoise

Post Rock/Math rock


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Tortoise Standards album cover
3.42 | 40 ratings | 9 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Seneca (6:20)
2. Eros (4:26)
3. Benway (4:46)
4. Firefly (3:56)
5. Six Pack (3:11)
6. Eden 2 (2:08)
7. Monica (6:30)
8. Blackjack (4:07)
9. Eden 1 (2:36)
10. Speakeasy (6:18)

Total Time: 44:18

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Dan Bitney / bass, guitar, percussion, vibes, marimba, keyboards, baritone saxophone
- John McEntire / drums, modular synthesizer, ring modulator guitar, electric harpsichord, keyboards
- John Herndon / drums, vibes, keyboards, sequencing
- Doug McCombs / bass, bass 6, guitar, lap steel
- Jeff Parker / guitar, bass

Releases information

CD Thrill Jockey THRILL 089 (2001 US)
CD Warp Records WARP CD 81 (2001 UK)

Thanks to syzygy for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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TORTOISE Standards ratings distribution


3.42
(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
10%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (30%)
30%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

TORTOISE Standards reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tortoise are what I think of as 'texture rock'; they utilize rhythms, lines, sounds and ideas as a basis for music as opposed to normal structure. This sets them apart from almost any other contemporary rock band, even among those also pegged as postrock. The group allows their music to start moving on its own, carefully adding, subtracting or changing parts for atmosphere and effect as they string together strange and intriguing sounds from prog rock, industrial, psychedelic, dub/dance hall, and particularly film music. If you're craving something different but still enjoyable and still rock, Tortoise's 'Standards' is top notch nu-rock.

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#93929) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 09, 2006

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's always nice to discover a group of musicians with more than three working brain cells between them, and this semi-legendary Chicago quintet is certainly one of the smartest acts around. Since 1994 they've accomplished something truly rare in today's disposable music market: producing a small but vital body of work with a unique, evolving style that defies easy analysis.

On their fourth studio album (and first in the 21st century) the band obviously made an effort to update their equipment, and their sound alongside it. The music - as always, entirely instrumental - is still drawn around an almost geometrical grid of shifting, overlapping rhythms (three of the five members play bass guitar). But now the beats are stronger than before, and frequently exhibit more aggression than you might expect from the formally attired Post Rock professors depicted on their page here at Prog Archives.

Maybe that extra muscle accounts for the higher overall rating of this album within the greater Tortoise catalogue. By 2001 the band had already polished to a diamond-bright sheen its patented blend of ambient space jazz and Martian lounge music (as heard on the tracks "Firefly" and the second half of "Benway", respectively). But here they add an extra layer of digital trip-hop trance grooves (listen to the twin bookmarks of "Eden 1" and "Eden 2"), creating a seamless, unclassifiable composite as accessible as it is experimental.

As I said: a style that defies easy analysis. Maybe it's enough to say the music of Tortoise, and this album in particular, stands up easily on its own without the crutch of close examination.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#163181) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Standards is the fourth studio album from US ( Chicago) experimental/ post rock act Tortoise. While I wasnīt too impressed with Tortoise debut album Tortoise (1994) my respect and interest in the band grew considerably after listening to their second album Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996). Tortoise third album TNT (1998) continued the good development of the groups sound, but added more electronic elements to Tortoise lounge jazzy experimental rock style. Standars take the electronic element one step further.

The music on Standards is still lounge jazzy experimental rock but thereīs an ambient electronic element in the music that is much more prominent on Standards than on any other of the previous releases from the band.

The musisicanship is good and even though nothing is really challenging in the music itīs still well played.

The production is excellent. Warm and pleasant.

In my review of TNT I stated that the music on that album sometimes worked better as background music or sophisticated muzak than actual listening music and Standards take that concept a step further. This is the kind of music that is perfect when you read a book or do the dishes. Nice, pleasant and warm music that might not overload your brain but certainly isnīt dull either. 3 stars is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#199109) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Chicago's Tortoise was the first band labeled as "post-rock". They do not sound *anything* like GYBE, Mogwai or Explosions In The Sky. Trans Am was another band labeled "post-rock" early on but they are not on PA(don't think they belong here anyway). I don't understand why Tortoise is not more well-known. They are far more experimental and skilled than any of those bands who create moody guitar-based instrumentals with lots of crescendos. In fact, Tortoise is the only band I know of that has 3 bassists and 2 xylophone players(!) Their fourth album is my personal fav and it rawks a littler harder than any of their other albums. All instrumental, the music here is a mix of jazz, ambient, techno and avant-rock. There are some who will say that Millions... or TNT are better albums; those people are silly, don't listen to them. Granted, "Djed" on Millions... is the finest 20 miutes this group ever recorded, but the rest of the album leaves a lot to be desired.

The amount of instruments and effects they use on this album is impressive. One minute you will hear something that sounds like 70s RIO, the next some kind of early 80s R&B, the next like something you would hear at a rave in the 90s. Most if not all the members are multi- instrumentalists. Bass seems to be the most dominant instrument and there is little guitar, but more on this album than others. You hear influence from all kinds of genres ranging from dub reggae to Krautrock. Actually the only genres they wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole it seems would be punk and metal. You get the idea: very diverse music but generally not loud and heavy. I have never heard anyone who even comes close to sounding like these guys.

I could never do a track-by-track analysis for these guys because their music is just too hard to describe. If you listen to the PA stream of the song "TNT" then you will have absolutely no idea what this album sounds like. Generally no two songs, let alone albums, sound alike in the world of Tortoise. If you are even slightly interested in this album I would suggest looking on YouBoob for some of the songs to see what they sound like. Of course I have no idea if anything from this album is currently uploaded to YouTube...why would I, I have the CD, geez. A solid 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#303917) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars This is the group's more controversial album with that American flag and its obtuse liner and info notes. I'm not quite sure why it took the band around four years (aside the replacement of Pajo with Parker, the other fours remaining from day 1) to release Standards after that mediocre Millions album, but it's only a minor improvement to these ears in musical terms. Indeed we're still quite far away from the debut's excellence or the future albums to come. Indeed the electro-pop (already all-too present on the previous album) is again taking the lion's share of this album, but it's definitely less soporific; although I'm not sure we're better of in terms of ear-friendliness. Actually it's pretty hard to call Standards a post-rock album, because very few moments on the disc can pretend to be called so. There are still some trip- hop moods (but the usual Krautrock ones are gone) which saves the album from being an experimental techno music. Not exactly my cup of Earl Grey, for the mix is definitely awry and even stale. Best avoided, just like MLNWND, despite this one keeping you awake.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#321678) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A heady mix of electronic noise, post-rock textures, and free jazz and fusion outbreaks, Standards finds Tortoise in a somewhat more abrasive mood than on TNT or Millions Now Living Will Never Die. I'm inclined to agree with zravkapt's assessment that there's something about the sound of Standards which might put listeners in mind of RIO material - not that it sounds anything particularly close to the sound of Henry Cow, Samla Mammas Manna, Univers Zero or other RIO founders, but there's the same inspiration that Henry Cow sometimes showed to take a leaf out of the free jazz playbook and see just how far rock music can be exploded.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#643379) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars What starts as a monumental processed drum barrage with twangy, ringing notes on a majestic guitar soon settles down into a more album-typical groove on Standards.

Deftly interlocking rhythmic structures come together in an electronica-infused instrumental clockwork, where buzzy or electronically clean trip-hop-ish percussion snap and pop beneath this well-defined algorithm of simple but countless little melody lines and effects. It's punchy, clinical and occasionally busy or mechanical, but given a certain level of fluidity by removing and adding new parameters in a model only known to the band members themselves.

I would hardly call it properly atmospheric, since all the sounds are so very clearly delineated. There is room for a certain warm and suave lounge ambience to seep into the arrangements, especially during the jazzier bits that represent the other side of the album, but it's more of a slick, cerebral nature than something that touches me emotionally. At time it's a bit more ambiguous and coldly space-like in what it radiates, but still safely kept away from any kind of excess. Disciplined and moderate.

Regardless of all the little chimes, buzzes, twirls and prattle and an objectively rather rich instrumentation, the majority of the compositions feel a bit vacuous, a bit too deflated and sparse, to really live up to the potential. It's the feeling of a vast and pure white canvas with just enough paint to cover it in dots here and there. Decently colourful patterns occasionally emerge, but most of them struggle to convey a proper image. And just as things actually do come together and send some experimental sparks flying, away we glide on a nondescript and airy slippery slope into anonymous jazzy smoothness. But perhaps that slight minimalistic streak, the abstract lightness and fleeting nature of it all is what so speaks to people. To me it's only the busiest arrangements that really work, and they are occasionally a joy to listen to.

Clever, professional, but ultimately disappointing.

2 stars.

//LinusW

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Send comments to LinusW (BETA) | Report this review (#1131327) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 13, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars I am very surprised that Tortoise gets so little love from Progarchives. They are extremely unique and always willing to experiment- though post-rock often lacks diversity, Tortoise is one of the most varied and interesting bands I know- throughout the course of even one six-minute song, there ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#276504) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Monday, April 05, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This band is a very progressive neoprog band with heavy overtones of fusion included for good measure.No vocal tracks are included.The disc (record) itself has little or no info about the band,its members or even the tracks included.So you play one side and then the other,with little idea of w ... (read more)

Report this review (#68784) | Posted by bob x | Wednesday, February 08, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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