- Audio CD (1 Jan. 2001)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Warp
- ASIN: B000056BJL
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,435 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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EX CD Warp, WARPCD81, Jewel Case 10 Track 2001
The fulcrum of Chicago's underground musical scene, Tortoise pretty much are the group responsible for plotting the blueprint of what's commonly--if vaguely--referred to as post-rock. Certainly, they are an outfit who, since their inception, have remained in a constant state of flux, their ever-shifting line-up reflecting a constantly mutating musical ethos. Where 1996's Millions Now Living Will Never Die largely comprised of maudlin guitar-bass-and-drums instrumentals and 1998's TNT embraced the modern electronic studio as the group's primary instrument, the lofty aim of Standards is to unite both approaches under a pioneering banner: analogue and digital technology used as complementary forces. Sounds thrilling, eh? Well, probably not, unless you puzzle over circuit boards of an evening in. But forget, just for a minute, Tortoise's pseudo-intellectual reputation and just listen to the sounds. It's somewhat appropriate that Standards is the group's debut for adventurous British techno label Warp; this is Tortoise's least categorisable album yet--a kaleidoscope of sound, where Miles Davis glides serenely past Autechre, each individual instrument melding into a hypnotic fog, and then swiftly congealing into sudden, breathtaking movements: the sudden, florid bloom of xylophone from the casual swing of "Benway", or the rumble of warm saxophone, shaking up the electronic foundations of "Monica". Still flying the flag for the experimental vanguard, this might just be Tortoise's greatest album yet. --Louis Pattison
Top customer reviews
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.
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.