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3-4 Weeks
ARTIST
TITLE
Beacons Of Ancestorship
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
THR 210CD THR 210CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
6/22/2009

" Beacons Of Ancestorship is Tortoise's sixth full-length album, and their first release of new material in five years, since 2004's It's All Around You. A characteristic Tortoise album is one that traverses an encyclopedia of styles and reference points, a document of where musical intersections and dialogue are occurring at a given moment in time. Beacons Of Ancestorship is no different, with nods to techno, punk, electro, lo-fi noise, cut-up beats, heavily processed synths and mournful, elegiac dirges. We see these ideas working out in compositions like 'High Class Slim Came Floatin' In,' an eight-minute track which playfully references the world of ecstatic rave and dance culture with a curiously ambivalent, multi-part suite overlaid with robotic, machine-sounding melodies that stop and start in several different time signatures before the song's ultimate resolution; and again in 'Yinxianghechengqi,' which begins as a straightforward uptempo math-rocker before steadily accelerating into a wall of fuzzy atonal sqwonk. There are many moods, styles, and modes in the Tortoise songbook, of course -- often, in the course of a single composition. Consistent throughout, however, is what might be called a pervasive element of group play, or ensemble-mindedness, as opposed to emphasis on a virtuoso soloist or frontman. (Think Robert Altman versus Robert Plant.) In the same sense that the string quartet and all small-ensemble chamber music can be thought of as an intelligent conversation among equals -- violins, viola, and cello taking turns, expressing opinions, joining voices and then coming apart, as also occurs in elevated discourse -- so, too, the calling card of a Tortoise song is the experience of a sound being worked out as a conversation among the individual and interrelated parts -- of an ensemble thinking collectively and in group dynamics through the expression of a multi-layered musical thought."