on 15 January 2009
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. (!)
on 18 April 2001
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!
on 15 March 2002
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.
on 10 December 2000
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.
on 31 January 2002
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.
on 9 March 2012
I can't get over "DJed". Tortoise doing an epic, wtf? But it's compelling. I go to sleep some nights thinking "Will I listen to DJed first?" How do they do that?
I'm aware that there are other tracks on the album.
I may review them some day.
But for now...
I've been DJed
on 16 June 2012
OK, there's no vocals and the beats are not as mentronomic (I hope I've spelled that correctly) but if you like Can, you'll like this. Side one of the LP (yes, LP) is all one track (hello Yoo Doo Right). Buy it and phase out for 40 minutes.....(the optimum length of time for any album: CDs give too space for "padding).
on 21 May 2016
Only just discovered Tortoise recently. Not sure how they missed my radar. Slowly working way through back catalogue. First album excellent. This is awesome. Looking forward to pay day so I can purchase the rest of their albums
This is another one of Tortoises majestic mighty musical extravaganzas that feature a rock band line up without ever delivering rock in the normal sense of the genre. The tracks are expansive, fond of arpeggiated statements on the guitar, supported most ably by a subterranean bass, melodic keyboards and a superb jazz influenced drummer.
No shredding or muscled ego tripping solo spots here, just mellow mood inducing clever and superbly well crafted music.
on 13 April 2015
Not as accessible as TNT but interesting all the same.