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Tortoise - Why Waste Time? CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

4.00 | 2 ratings

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4 stars This is a 4-track EP that was released in 2010, the year following the release of the album "Beacons of Ancestorship". This is a decent EP with just enough rare cuts on it to make any Tortoise fan happy.

The first track is "Ruba'iyat" and is exclusive to this release. It is totally improvised and is recorded during the very first pass- thru in the studio. It's hard to believe it is a one-time pass-thru, since it sounds so perfect. It is made up mostly of percussive instruments and sounds with drone-like tones. It is all performed on two different synthesizers, a modified Suzuki Omnichord and the Folktet "Luminist Garden". There is very little editing involved in the final track. It is a very interesting and syncopated track with a lot of depth.

The next track is "Passerine" and it is also exclusive to this EP. It is made up of samples used by the band in their live shows from various songs. The samples include all pieces from all instruments involved in the band (including vocal samples) and they are all in their original form, but what makes them interesting on this track is that they are all used in different ways and in different pairings from normal, which creates a completely different sound and feeling than from their original sources. They are completely unrecognizable in this form. The resulting sound is very experimental, yet dynamic and interesting. The tone is dark and forboding, and in the end, it is a fascinating piece. It gets rather loud towards the middle, then almost drops off completely before the layers rebuild and deconstruct again. There is no melody here, just sounds, noise and even ambience at times.

"Gigantes" appears next. You might recognize it as a track from the previous album, but this is a remix of the original. There is a nice rhythm here, with a lot more of the percussive sounds and louder hand claps than on the original. There is the sound of a sitar (or something similar) during the first part but it is more of a looped sound than the original, but this gives way eventually to some descending synth sounds. Synths continue to give texture in different tones and feelings through the rest of the track, while the percussion continues giving a constant beat all the way through the track. The distorted guitar solo is missing on this remix though, and that brings it down a bit. Also missing is the processed synth start/stop sound from the original. This remix loses the personality of the original in that it is more repetitive. But it's still not bad.

The last audio track is "Ice Ice Gravy" which was only previously available as an iTunes download. This is a 13 minute track of outtakes from the "Beacons of Ancestorship" sessions. The track fades out and in between ideas the band was working with during the recording of the album. The individual snippets are interesting enough, and actually make this track a fun peek at the "Tortoise" composition process. There are several mini tracks here that definitely sound like something that could have developed into some great pieces if they were fully realized. They range from jazzy to rock and boogie, and any of them could have easily been expanded on. Strangely enough, the track is very enjoyable and intriguing. Think of them as mini-tracks, each lasting around a minute or so.

The entire EP lasts about 30 minutes, but in addition to the 4 tracks, there are 3 videos, 2 of which are live performances, and a music video of "Prepare Your Coffin". Overall, this is loaded for an EP. It is also a worthwhile find, because there is a lot of rare and exclusive material here. Tortoise fans will love this one, especially the insight into the band's inspiration process that is given in the track "Ice Ice Gravy". This is also a good introduction to this ingenious band and would be an excellent addition to any collection.

TCat | 4/5 |


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