Tortoise, 'Beacons of Ancestorship' (Thrill Jockey)

Critical Mass

by Josh Modell

After kicking against the arty, instrumental post-rock scene they inadvertently created 15 years ago, Tortoise have erased virtually all of their music's familiar signifiers, opting now for stylistic mashes that fall into anonymity as often as they reach new, exciting places. Only one track on the Chicago band's sixth album -- spaghetti western death march "Fall of Seven Diamonds Plus One" -- is instantly identifiable. But apparently that's the way these talented electro jazz-bos prefer it, as Beacons of Ancestorship restlessly shifts from frenetic, bottom-heavy fuzz-rock ("Yinxianghechengqi") to snoozy Weather Channel interludes ("Minors") to snarling, techno-tinged world music ("Northern Something").

Listen: Tortoise, "Prepare Your Coffin" (DOWNLOAD MP3)



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