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Tortoise, The Catastrophist (Thrill Jockey Records)
CD Reviews: January 7, 2016

01/07/16
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Tortoise, The Catastrophist (Thrill Jockey Records)

After seven years without a full-length album, you’d imagine this Chicago hipster-techno outfit would have some catching up to do, at least insofar as the pervasive reach of dubstep and its offshoots, if nothing else. But, quirky and lo-fi-meets-hi-fi as they are, they’re essentially a sound unto themselves, or, if you have to compare them to something, they’re a jazz reaction to The Orb. I don’t know whether they’re making fun of the McDonald’s “bah da ba da da” signature melody on “Ox Duke,” but the whole thing is built around it, all while a lot goes on around it, like the amniotic fiddlings of an android’s limbic system. A downtempo-noise cover of David Essex’s “Rock On” is bizarre, yes, but if you’ve stuck around until that point it’s a comfort, really, like a visit from the ghost of pop culture past, beckoning you to continue on this earbud trip and just let your head flow wherever it needs to. In another genre-check, the minute-and-a-half-long “Gopher Island” is their idea of punk rock … or maybe Judas Priest. Brilliant stuff everywhere here. A+ 





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