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A Lazarus Taxon [3-CDs + 1 DVD] Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, August 22, 2006
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$92.95 $22.86

Editorial Reviews

After twelve years of expanding the definition of rock music, Tortoise will release a highly anticipated box set, including the long out of print 1995 album "Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters", rare singles from foreign releases and tour EPs, compilation tracks, and previously unreleased material such as remixes by band members and other artists, including Jim O'Rourke, Brad Wood, Rick Brown, Steve Albini, and Mike Watt. The set's title comes from the paleontological term for a reappearing species, and the release is comprised of three CDs and one DVD, the latter of which contains two hours of footage, several extended live performances, and videos and short films. Packaging is a hard card stock box containing four sleeves and a 20-page booklet with archival photos and liner notes about each track's origins.

Disc: 1
1. Gamera
2. The Source of Uncertainty
3. Blackbird
4. Sexual For Elizabeth
5. To Day Retreival
6. Whitewater
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Madison Area
2. TNT (Takemura Remix)
3. Why We Fight
4. Elmerson, Lincoln, and Palmieri
5. Peering
6. Goriri
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Alcohall
2. Your New Rod
3. Cobwebbed
4. The Match Incident
5. Tin Can (Puerto Rican Mix)
6. Not Quite East of Ryan
See all 8 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 22, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B000GG4KFE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,584 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By 0=0 on August 31, 2006
Format: Audio CD
First off, if you're a Tortoise fan and are expecting some kind of comprehensive, best of overview, well think again. I do want to say however that the music included in this compilation is indeed awesome. You have some very early, more rare material, all the long deleted remix collaborations, all so well done, and a very artful, visually pleasing dvd showing some excellent concert footage, music videos, and more. All this for under twenty dollars, plus some beautiful packaging. Again, it seems the first reviewer here thought this to be some sort of greatest hits box set or something, and thus his opinion soured. Don't listen to him--listen to the music and simply enjoy.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By P. Hall on September 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This has to be the best bargain since I found a Harry Partch record for 50 cents in a public library sale. The first CD alone in "A Lazarus Taxon" is worth the cover price. In the liner notes, Alan Licht quotes Brian Eno's "Unfinished" essay: "It used to be the case that a record was expected to contain the definitive and perhaps only version of a song, and that the job of the band and the producer was to create this "ideal" object." This collection does a great job of dispelling that old notion forever, as some of the tracks are so much developed from the originals that they resemble a house built around 300 year old foundations. To hear how "Gamera" evolved out of "His Second Story Island" is intriguing--maybe it should be the subject of a documentary in itself. This is now my favorite Tortoise CD; I thought "Millions Now Living" would never be bettered, but this one makes this band's music more like the living, open source language it should be. The production is so good that I decided to buy better earphones, and better speakers. (Maybe it wasn't so much of a bargain, after all.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Morgan on November 10, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I bought this a few months ago and have listened to it many times since then, so I think my opinion is pretty "cooled off" or objective. But I guess that doesn't matter anyways, because I still think just as highly of it as when I first popped it in. Basically, if you are a Tortoise fan, this is a no-brainer (3 CDs! A DVD! Startlingly good price!). It gives you a really broad look at their "earlier" sound, which put me off when I first listened to some of their older stuff at 16, but as my taste developed, my appreciation grew to the point where I actually like this style more than their newest stuff(like Standards, It's All Around You). Some of the tracks are definately more experimental, but you just have to appreciate them for what they are. Of the tracks of that variety, I especially like "Whitewater" and "Cobwebbed." They are kind of melodic and could compare them to some Aphex Twin....but they have their own "cool" to it. The remixes are also great. Nobukazu Takemura's remix of TNT is really sweet...the way he manipulates the droning windchimes at the end of it to give the sound such depth and space evokes an epic and withdrawn mood, where you just kind of melt away. I think of some ancient Japanese ritual when I hear it, but that's just me. I won't even begin to describe the unreal energy of the opener, "Gamera." And then there is the DVD. Some of the music videos are kind of weak in my opinion, but others are fantastic, and another is kind of funny and bizarre. It's rad to see them play Gamera live, when it was a new song in the mid-90s. All in all, this is a great collection. I recently had the chance to see them at the Troubador in LA, which further solidified them in my mind as a remarkable band. I wouldn't miss out on this one.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Demetrius A. Armstrong on October 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Tortoise's expansive 2006 box set A Lazarus Taxon collects various rarities and remixes over the course of 3 CD's and 1 DVD. A nicely priced and packaged collection makes Taxon an absolute necessity for fans of Tortoise that want a definitive assortment of important off album things to hear. The fact that this is not a "best of" retrospect of Tortoise's highlights from the wealth of material on their excellent proper albums may catch some off guard. This is due mainly to the surprising surplus of remix and extra material this band has collected over the years, all of which combines to produce very interesting music. That being said, A Lazarus Taxon (taken all at once) can be a very taxing listening session. A listener has to let the music soak in deeply to appreciate these songs, which offer a priceless education to Tortoise's approach to music but can be a little self indulgent at times. As the treasures of this set reveal themselves (which includes a reinterpretation of Yo La Tengo's "Autumn Sweater", a pleasant surprise), the less awe-inspiring songs can be put into the context of exercises that strengthened the experimental and ambitious reach of one of popular music's greatest bodies of work. All of these songs collected (and sequenced as well as they are) makes this a Tortoise set to buy, but the patience required to appreciate this fully, makes this a less effective starting point than their highlighted albums for casual comers.

(the included DVD is excellent, containing videos (more like visual art collages) for songs like "Seneca" and "A Glass Museum" as well as a selection of live performances)
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