Tortoise, Beacon of Ancestorship

Brendan McGowan

Tortoise, Beacon of Ancestorship [Thrill Jockey]

By Brendan McGowan

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I recently heard that John McEntire tracks his drum parts in the control room so he can stay at the knobs, as well. Thought that was funny.

McEntire and Tortoise are back with their sixth album in 15 years, and, yes, it’s another Tortoise record: never quite jazz, never quite funk, never quite electronica, never completely rock, either, but always touching those and other bases. The first song, “High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In” sounds like three different Parliament songs you’ve never heard then ends like somebody played a Neu! record through an overdrive pedal; “Prepare Your Coffin” is what you might hear if Daft Punk suddenly developed a deep love for Steely Dan; “Gigantes” is an Africanized Boards of Canada (Boards of Africa, I suppose); and “The Fall of Seven Diamonds Plus One” is pure David Lynch.

I mean, there’s a reason some lazy writer back when developed the term “post-rock.” Though some viciously squelching keyboard seems to tie most of the songs together, Beacons of Ancestorship is largely what you’d expect if you know what you expect, because really all we can ask of Tortoise these days is that they let us in on their world once every three years. This is, at the very least, miles better than previous transmission It’s All Around You.

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