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Millions Now Living Will Never Die Import

9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Virgin Germany
  • ASIN: B00003ZA7S
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,055 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

Tortoise's sophomore release, Millions Now Living Will Never Die shows off an unlikely blossoming of talent. The Chicago instrumental band makes clear with Millions what their eponymous debut brushed in broad strokes: this is the musical legacy of the ties between experimental art music and post-punk. The sonic environments are entirely woven from percussion, basses, and occasional keyboards--all of it thrown through the blender of electronic sampling and manipulation at various points. Hypnotic, some would say, and an attempt at mirroring Steve Reich or even Can, others would note. But Tortoise demonstrate their singular vision, one that would spawn many more all-instrumental alt-rock visions. Dub bass hints, keyboard darts and dashes, strange flashes of heartbeat rhythms--it all comes together on Millions in a manner that's hard to forget and easy to dive through. --Andrew Bartlett

BBC Review

The Thrill Jockey vinyl-only reissue strategy bathes in nostalgia for a period long before this second Tortoise album’s original release in 1996. A solidly spinning LP platter artefact has become somewhat more fashionable now than back then, and this release is part of a sequence of Tortoise reissues scheduled for 2012.

This second album was responsible for turning on the majority of Tortoise followers. A sudden classic at the time, Millions… confidently holds onto its significance 16 years later. The Tortoise sound hasn’t dated significantly, and the Chicago combo’s descendants have continued to walk a similarly innovative path.

The gestation period was lengthy, as Tortoise composed and improvised for 10 days in Northern Vermont isolation. Then, they swiftly began recording once returned to Chicago, but the layering, mixing and editing process subsequently took on a diligently sprawling character.

The 21-minute epic Djed fills side one, opening with a creeping bassline, overlaid with all manner of storm-electronics, their interference source not immediately obvious. This scarred vista gives way to a developing beat, and suddenly it’s upended into an odd poppiness, chirpy and bright. Autobahn-period Kraftwerk must surely have been a key influence. Fender Rhodes electric piano is shadowed by melodica, as the experimental becomes infused with hummable content.

The dominance of particular instruments is evolving at any given time. Suddenly there’s a shimmering tambourine embellishment, and then there’s an apocalyptic break into extreme minimalist analogue rupture. This heralds phase two, a further 10 minutes of marimba and vibraphone pulsing, where the precedent has surely been set by Steve Reich. Then, the piece disintegrates once again into sparse electro-stress.

It’s inevitable that the remaining five tracks will be concise by comparison. Glass Museum revolves around a cycling twang-riff, breaking into a swift canter. This is one of the rare occasions when a vibraphone phrase can be termed "bullish". Hard edges surround The Taut and Tame, its runaway momentum supplied by a slithery bassline and determined snare drum. Subliminal synth rotor-blade effects are employed to skew any aural complacency.

The closing grooves emit a sense of calm, as Along the Banks of Rivers adopts a John Barry espionage flick feel, flooded with languid and twangy guitar licks.

--Paul Lester

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ess. on 15 Jan. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Tortoise is a strange but appealing jazz/rock noise. At times, it's a bit like the Stranglers circa 'Rattus Norvegicus' only without the leering, unsubtle sexism. It's clattering trad boogie with haunting keyboard flourishes. You've gotta move a little at least, and those who can afford strong narcotics during this stifling credit crunch can undoubtedly dance the whole oblivious night away to it.

The opening number is 'Djed' ('aaarrrgggh!!!"-Ess' long-suffering spell-checker.) which runs twenty odd (very odd - © Review Cliché . Com) minutes, but doesn't lose a second of interest and contains bossy bass soloing. 'A Survey' is calmer Wire, while 'the Taut and Tame' (nice ambiguity there lads..) whistles and whirrs all over the disc in frantic fashion - face-rippingly savage guitar and aneurism-inducing percussion clambering for prominence.

Although 'MNLWND' is descended from bizarre-but-good experimental hippy stuff like Comus and the Peach Orchard, it sounds fresh and unfamiliar - and despite utilising jazz stalwarts like xylophone and glockenspiel, you don't ever get a sense of deja-vu. It's a resolute, original music, beautifully realised and presented with wit and studied elegance.

The Amazon Tortoise page is good too. Really sardonic. Alongside this fine release is 'The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit' by Susan Lowell and another book rather condescendingly advocating 'Beginning Vivarium Systems'(sounds subversive!) by a bloke called Russ. (!) Yeah, I won't be taking his word on anything, least of all tortoises.
"Looking for tortoise products..?" it asks helpfully. I half expected to see 'ragout' come up. (!)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By P. Butler on 18 April 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is a fine piece of work showing Tortoise moving on form their raw debut into a more chilled out environment. I must admit, at first I was wary of the experimental 20-minute opener, but the more you listen to it to more you find. The other 5 tracks show a more refined band, who have clearly opened their musical horizons. 'Glass Museum' and 'Along the Banks of Rivers' seem to remind me of French cafes while the drumming on 'The Taut and Tame' just leaves you feeling breathless! This review maybe a little scatty, but this album just leaves me speechless!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Mar. 2002
Format: Audio CD
It's quite difficult to put into words just how mesmerising this record is. Millions now living... is one of those albums whose songs meld into each other and the whole thing becomes a single 40 minute passage. From the opening strains of Djed through the bass-driven throb of Glass Museum, The Survey and The Taut and Tame, Tortoise lay down an unlikely groove, upon which glockenspiel, guitar, and beats dance (sounds pompous, i know). The mood slows toward the end, but only serves to complete the picture. Dear Grandma.. and Along the banks.. display more lounge jazz tendencies than is evident on Tortoise's other records, and as a whole i think it serves to give Millions now living.. a more organic sound than the likes of TNT or standards. A veritable classic, make no mistake, and a lesson in how to make instrumental rock music without distortion and the trappings of conventional arrangements.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Jan. 2002
Format: Audio CD
This, in my view is easily Tortoise' best peice of work. The opening 20-minute track 'djed', is pretty much like nothing i've ever heard before, whilst actually being one of the best things I've ever heard. It throws up new sounds and melodies every 2 or 3 minutes without you even realising. for the first few times you listen, you will wonder what has happened. Whilst this is a bit of 'chin-stroker', and always brings accusations of being some kind of snobby elitist when you mention it, it is at the same time breath-takingly original and sweet sounding. Aside from the incredible opener, the last two tracks also stand out. One being a beautiful, glum and fragile sounding guitar number, and the other being a lovely peice of 'bleepy-bloopy' ambient nothingness. It only doesn't get the full 5, because there are a couple of tracks that whilst being nice, do meander and don't grab the attention. But 4 out of the 6 tracks here are verging on some of the best stuff i've ever heard. It is also miles better than TNT, by the way.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Dec. 2000
Format: Audio CD
Every so often, one comes across music which is so unbelievably good that ones faith in music is suddenly restored. This is the sort of music which makes you think "Wow, I always knew guitars were cool". This is the sort of music which will take you on an amazing journey into the world of Tortoise and their visionary approach to instrumental music. If you never buy another CD ever again, this should be the last thing you buy. If you don't dig "Millions..", you are obviously weird.
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