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6 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tortoise Using Instruments Foremost
Abandoning tonal purity and stuctural simplicity as seen in previous works, Tortoise here appear freer in form and sound - more rawkus, raw, noisy and chaotic. learning from jazz again, they have tuned into the feel of live playing, the squelches and rips of rock. if you like tortoise, good jazz, fridge, if your tastes are beginning to change like Warp's obviosly have,...
Published on 17 Feb. 2001

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Business as usual from Tortoise
Don't believe the reviewers that tell you this is a more raucous, looser Tortoise, that these are "songs", played in a more "live" way. It isn't, they ain't. Maybe they turned up the volume from 5 to 6, maybe there's a few more drums. But apart from that it's business as usual. Which means high-quality, slightly bloodless stuff, with a a few very...
Published on 16 Mar. 2001


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tortoise Using Instruments Foremost, 17 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Standards (Audio CD)
Abandoning tonal purity and stuctural simplicity as seen in previous works, Tortoise here appear freer in form and sound - more rawkus, raw, noisy and chaotic. learning from jazz again, they have tuned into the feel of live playing, the squelches and rips of rock. if you like tortoise, good jazz, fridge, if your tastes are beginning to change like Warp's obviosly have, you will find alot here to satisfy. it isn't the clenched melodic electronic perfection of TNT but it is the adventurism and instrumental exploration.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an immediate album, but one which really sinks in...., 27 Feb. 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Standards (Audio CD)
The two minute long intro to the Seneca, the first track, is an overloaded freeform jam, somehow redolent of the Velvet Underground, but it breaks into a chilled reggae clunk, filled with Cuban clapping, scratches and glitchery. Giant powerchords slip into feedback over synthesized harpsichord almost giving the track the air of a late 80's sci-fi cartoon, just inspired by Manga or Tron but with cinematic space instead of ridiculous urgency. Next is Eros, building up out of electronics and cutups, almost introducing the classic Tortoise vibes, but easing into a fat tight groove littered with dark bloops and rasps. Almost like something you'd find on a Ninja Tunes Future Sound of Jazz compilation, a slinky groove peels back, revealing two harmonizing basses getting it on just under the surface. With its title the third track (Benway) put me in mind of the ubiquitous shapeshifting Burrough's character, but with its completely electronic feel it sounds more like Gary Numan than "post-rock". It breaks down into clicks and edgy static beats until the vibes arrive, backed up by the shuffling swing of live drums, in a lounge/avant garde jazz dovetail. Firefly touches around freejazz, almost monotonal sixteenths on guitar and bass flick like insects in front of the yawning synth pad until a latin drum pattern commences Six Pack, sounding like a direct reference to previous albums' tracks like Ry Cooder or Along the Banks of Rivers. A brief swish of synth and Eden 2 kicks in. A fat, intentional beat sharing the driver's seat with a low bass beast, suddenly subverted by an almost baroque clavinet. The album's longest track, Monica, throws me right back into 80's chart pop territory with it synthesized, pitch-bent harmonica and close harmony guitar but the recorded-to-tape-in-the-red offkilter drums skew the stereotype and a Tortoise mellow lounge head-nodder groove rolls out twisting the ears all the way. With a deceptively ballad-like intro, Blackjack shows itself to be a stomper, almost in the style of Mina, (who supported [and blew away] Trans Am in Auntie Annie's last year), kicking down into a driven melody line then, from nowhere, comes guitar sludge, heavily effected thick dirt glistening moistly from side to side only to fade, stabbed with digi-strings and brass. Eden 1 tries to fool you into dancing, but it's in 5/4 and it's apparent that the earlier Eden 2 is a cunning deception, surgically redirected into 4/4. Just as some noise experimentation creeps around the edges of the song, the song becomes the last track, Speakeasy: mellow and dark by turns, vibes and bass, drums accentuating the slowly freewheeling atmosphere, ragged guitar rising up like faces under streetlights in the fog or cars passing on empty streets, then a change (hey, it's Tortoise) and it's cool melody like Flyrod or Cornprone Brunch, easing by like a drive in the country, until the car drives through the industrial estates, divided by greenbelt parkland: calm ripples punctuated with tortured feedback and metal.
The album cover is a distorted newspaper cutting of the American flag, folded behind red bars, the inner sleeve empty and the back of the sleeve filled with what initially looks like cut-up typos and random words. Look closely: the track list and other details are secreted within.
I've listened to this album twice today, and probably will another couple of times before bedtime, it's pretty much everything you'd expect from Tortoise, whilst still capitalizing on everything they've done on their three previous albums. An improvement of increments rather than giant leaps.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A leaner and meaner album than TNT, 2 Sept. 2001
This review is from: Standards (Audio CD)
On this album Tortoise seem to have refined their sound and the overall impression is of a more disciplined and more muscular ensemble than on their previous release. The relatively short length (44 minutes) is a clue to this, and some of the self-indulgent streak they exhibited has been curbed. On the whole it also seems less like background music than some of TNT, for example '...iguazu falls'.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new standard for the art of music-making?, 10 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Standards (Audio CD)
I'd never heard of Tortoise. I just bought this album at random from a second-hand store several years ago, put it on the shelf and forgot about it.

BIG mistake!

Recently, while exploring the joys of my CD collection through a new set of headphones (Denon AH-D2000), I noticed "Standards" on the shelf. "I don't recall ever listening to that." I thought, "I wonder what it sounds like?"

People who know this album know what happened next. I'm not talking to them. I'm talking to you other folks. Who knows why you're on this page? Maybe someone sent you here, or maybe, like me several years ago in that record shop, you've just noticed this album at random and are thinking "Well...?"

Well, simply put, "Standards" is a transcendent expression of the art of modern music-making. It is sound shaped in ways you've never heard. It is music (oh MY is it music!) but reminiscent of nothing, not even Tortoise. Most of all, it is an aural experience well worth trying. If you don't enjoy it, fair enough, one more CD for the shelf. But if you do enjoy it, it's likely to blow you away and put you back together differently. It's THAT good.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Business as usual from Tortoise, 16 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Standards (Audio CD)
Don't believe the reviewers that tell you this is a more raucous, looser Tortoise, that these are "songs", played in a more "live" way. It isn't, they ain't. Maybe they turned up the volume from 5 to 6, maybe there's a few more drums. But apart from that it's business as usual. Which means high-quality, slightly bloodless stuff, with a a few very affecting moments and a bit too much of the old xylophone for my money. Don't get me wrong - I like it a lot. So far, though, I think I prefer TNT.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I like it, 22 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Standards (Audio CD)
I like it. It kinda grows on you. I need to explore more of what they do. It helps that I like the sound of vibes.
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Standards
Standards by Tortoise (Audio CD - 2001)
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