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Tortoise In the Fishtank (collaboration with The Ex) album cover
2.96 | 5 ratings | 1 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Lawn of the Lamb (4:03)
2. Pooh Song / Christopher Robin's Nightbear (4:57)
3. Central Heating (2:19)
4. Pleasure as Usual (5:03)
5. Did You Comb? (2:09)
6. Huge Hidden Spaces (4:12)

Total Time 22:43

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
- Jeff Parker / guitar, bass
- Doug McCombs / bass, bass 6, guitar, lap steel

Releases information

Collaboration between Tortoise and The Ex Released

Thanks to Prog-Brazil for the addition
and to Gordy for the last updates
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TORTOISE In the Fishtank (collaboration with The Ex) ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (60%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TORTOISE In the Fishtank (collaboration with The Ex) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This In the Fishtank EP is quite a bizarre pairing of the noise band The Ex with the excellent jazz/post- rock band Tortoise. I love the experimental fusion stylings of Tortoise, but I am not that familiar with The Ex because their music doesn't always appeal to me. This combination seems to mellow out the noisy music of The Ex, but also adds some strange elements to Tortoise's music, sometimes for the good like on the opening track "The Lawn of the Lamb" and on "Did You Comb?" which is a satirical percussion heavy track. I really think this music ventures more into the avant-prog territory than anything, especially with The Ex influenced "Central Heating" which is very noisy, but underplayed with a ambient sounding instrument that sounds like an accordion (?), and the mixing in this track is amazing that the ambient sound doesn't get buried in the noise. It's a hard track to listen to, yet it is quite a marvel that the production worked out the way it did.

As far as the rest of the EP, "Pooh Song" is definitely an interesting avant garde song, but it would have been better with either a different vocalist, or no vocals at all. The last track is the most interesting of the bunch, with no real melody, but a lot of orchestrated noises/sounds, that actually has direction.

The biggest complaint on this EP is that the 6 songs are not developed as well as they could have been. Part of the reason for that is that it only took 48 hours to record this EP, maybe the union would have been better if they took more time to flesh things out. The Ex's lead vocalist has a very sarcastic sounding voice which is quite abrasive, and that doesn't mix well with Tortoise's usually meticulous sounds. The album would have been better without vocals, I believe.

So this one is interesting enough, and actually works on most of the tracks. I think avant-garde prog lovers would definitely be interested in this one, and it may open your interest in Tortoise's music. I do like the avant garde genre when the music is done well, but there isn't enough development here in these tracks to call it an excellent EP. However, I can't really call it a poor effort either. It definitely isn't for everyone. But I can at least pull 3 stars out of the hat for this one because of the ingenuity.

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