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Standards

TortoiseAudio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Price: $15.70 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 10 Songs, 2001 $8.99  
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Standards + Beacons Of Ancestorship + It's All Around You
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 20, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B000056O2R
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,248 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Tortoise formed in Chicago in the early 1990s from a pool of musicians most of whom had spent time in bands concerned with aggressive, guitar-centric rock. From the outset their aesthetic was crafted partly in opposition to that. Relying mostly on drums, vibraphone, two basses, keyboards, sparing use of guitar, and being attuned to the many strains of electronic dance music that developed throughout the decade, the ensemble quickly established a distinctive sound that caught a lot of people's attention. But it was a couple of years before their compositional skills caught up with their sonic inventiveness. John McEntire's crucial role in shaping the sound of the last couple of Stereolab records has been mirrored on his own group's records, and by the time TNT was released, they'd put all the pieces together to create a record that lived up to their reputation. And Standards is at least as good if not better. Having made their declaration of independence from rock, the roiling drums and guitar distortion at the start of "Seneca" are as near a return to it as they've made. However, after a couple of minutes they settle into a funky groove with half a dozen short interlocking melodies, and it eventually dissolves into a percussive wash and segues into "Eros," which starts with one of Dan Bitney and John Herndon's signature Steve Reich-ian mallet instrument patterns. There's an effective compositional tension throughout in which particularly abstract electronic passages will suddenly yield to surprisingly pretty melodies before heading back out to space. Those who've followed the band this far are going to be very happy, and anyone who has been hesitant would do well to take the plunge. --Bob Bannister

Product Description

The tunes on Standards are direct and immediate, yet they maintain the exploratory edge that has always characterized the group's output. The fusion of instrumental sounds (electric, acoustic, and synthesized) is subtle and subversive. Similarly, the group's fluency within the studio environment gives the finished work a quality that alternates between artifice and reality. Whilst TNT was constructed in the studio using segments recorded, improvised or altered electronically, the Standards sessions began after a period of rehearsal and composition. The contrast, simply stated, is that the studio was used extensively as a compositional tool for TNT, whereas with Standards it was used predominantly as tool to realize and enhance the existing new compositions. The studio does not impose itself on the recording to the same degree we witnessed on TNT, and the resulting record is in many ways reminiscent of their unadorned self-titled debut.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spank me, this is good music! November 5, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Now I get to trot out my indie rock snob identity card and say that I have enjoyed Tortoise since they first appeared in record stores with their Gamera EP, and their self-titled first lp and a masterpiece by any realm of the imagination.
Their first album, maybe out of some kind of nostalgia of mine, is still my favourite record. It's so pure and simple and unadorned. It's like Kind of Blue for me--I can listen to it over and over and I'm always impressed.
That said, this is my 2nd favourite of their records. Something about it is just fantastic, just really fantastic. The rockin' beginning is so great. It's a great album. It's really super great. I loved it a lot. They have deftly avoided becoming a Neu! tribute band. (Here's where I have to hand in my snob badge: I hadn't even heard of Neu! until Astralwerks rereleased their albums--and I'm a Kraftwerk fan from way back in the day! so bully for me.)
I think it's cool that Tortoise are on Warp in the UK. I like Warp music a lot.
A really great thing to look for if you've been enjoying Tortoise but don't just want to fall into the old trip of just buying their many side projects (Pullman, Sea & Cake, etc.) would be to check out FREEFORM's new album Audiotourist, which is just amazing, mixing classical Chinese and Vietnamese instruments and field recordings with a Tortoise-stye syncopation and sort of gentle, Mouse on Mars style electronics. Really good, and a bit less well-known. (I'm thinking why just go on and plug Stereolab and whoever else, when it's pretty obvious you've heard of them if you're looking at reviews of Tortoise albums...)
The strange democratic thing that makes these reviews kind of fun is that it's a good place to connect sounds, like amateur musicology. That's my take at least.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Modern White Kid Loves Fake Genius February 26, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Yo, a couple of people obviously don't really have a problem so much with this record itself, but the "demographic" who listen to it. Well, my friends, the question is not about who listens to this, but about what kind of music the musicians themselves are making.
Actually, I was very disappointed with this album when it first came out. Being an enthusiastic fan of "Millions Now Living..." and "TNT", I believed that Tortoise had lost their epic and experimental flair. Well, give it a little while to find its way into your happy place - I'm a believer now. The virtue of Tortoise's past records was all of the divergent paths that the band tried on for size. Whether it was the pastoral sonic poetry of "I Set My Face to the Hillside" or the floating "Glass Museum", Tortoise seemed to have a real flair for a sort of meditative instrumental rock.
Well, "Standards" is a vastly different affair. On the whole, the sound is extremely focused, as close to a truly conventional album as Tortoise has ever come. Also, I'd say there's a bit more emphasis on American music styles, a la free-form Jazz, Funk, R&B, etc. However, the songs also tell a clearer story this time around. I know that sounds pretentious, but it wasn't until I realized that that I was able to relish this album.
On the whole, it's hilarious that some people hate this music (the people who listen to this music) so much that they have to completely trash it because of the people who listen to it. I personally bought this because of my love for Tortoise's back catalogue. I suspect Tortoise is just a group of guys who enjoy making music, just like any other hard-working band. So judge them based on their records...that being said, given time, this stands strong with the rest of their work.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A five star album December 11, 2002
Format:Audio CD
O.K., I know it is not going to happen anytime soon, but labeling a band like Tortoise is just never going to give them justice. Like another band Porcupine Tree, who are continually labeled as a monster they are not, Tortoises' influences, like that of Porcupine Tree come from all forms of popular and "about as left of center as you can get in music" from the last 40 years. Tortoise envelopes these sounds into something that IS original. They are not blatently ripping off a riff from anyone. I think people would wish there was some form of mimicking from "jazz rock", "prog rock", "alt rock", and dare I say "post rock". And then they would proceed to bash the originality of Tortoise. And yet, they are still bashing Tortoise for sounding like something they are obviously NOT. This is original. You cannot say one COMPLETE track, or one COMPLETE album sounds like somebody else.
Standards has all of Tortoises' quickiness and dilusion of past albums, with some organic textures almost making this sound more like a non-electric sounding band yet incorporating electronic sounds. You dig. If you listen closely, there are beautiful melodies here, interspersed with a rhythm section that just keeps getting better.
If this was 1976, this would've been praised as a "masterpiece". Now it is 2002 and it should be regarded as one. It is ashame that punk rock with all of its honesty and heart took the rock field 25 years before a band like Tortoise realized that there is heart and honesty in any rock music you do, and have it carry over in what should've been another great scene in the mid 1970's. Instead what you had was electronica doing its own thing, rock music doing its own thing. Why?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, yes, yes!
This is Tortoise's most adventurous album. It is also perhaps the first of theirs to have distilled a cohesive sound from their array of influences. Read more
Published on December 10, 2011 by R. Perkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Aged Well
Life was different for me 10 years ago. Funny, I had no idea I was rediscovering Standards on its 10-year anniversary. Going out was new. Pussy on a regular basis was new. Read more
Published on June 7, 2011 by Harold Valentine overheardintampa.blogspot
4.0 out of 5 stars One higher standard
Though not as emotionally resonant as their masterwork TNT, this live-electro sounds easily like the most impressive experimenting the group had ever gotten into.
Published on May 17, 2009 by IRate
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone and their Standards...
After buying this album and then reading some of the reviews, I felt compelled to write something.

Some people are so over-analytical and so worried/obsessed with... Read more
Published on December 9, 2007 by Ryan Hunt
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow And Steady Does Not Always Win The Race
Tortoise, that post-rock (prog rock) minimalist, electro-jazz fusion crew who defy all labelling (I'm certain many fans would object to some of the labels I just used, some of them... Read more
Published on April 11, 2007 by Mark Eremite
4.0 out of 5 stars Cold but addicting
I don't really write a lot of reviews on here. I just don't feel the need to give people my takes on what makes something good and what doesn't. Read more
Published on April 1, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen with an open mind
This was the first Tortoise album I was introduced to. Right away, it was catchy and different. It took about 3 full listens, but the album truly grows on you and I highly... Read more
Published on March 8, 2003 by steve
5.0 out of 5 stars cant wait for the next one!
this band is phenomenal.... i have no idea why this album is getting such bad reviews. if you liked any of the other tortoise albums you should definately check this one out. Read more
Published on June 8, 2002 by Admiral Poop
5.0 out of 5 stars Won't stand out until you listen to it all the way through
When I got this CD I did what I usually do with the CDs I get: I listened to one track for a little while, then went to another, and then another. Read more
Published on May 18, 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Tortoise Rocks
Tortoise's music has a very surreal quality for me. Just as dreams reconstitute my waking experience in a non-linear and often frightening manner, Tortoise mangles my expectations... Read more
Published on May 14, 2002 by next
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