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55 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 10, 1998
$8.38 $0.32
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TNT + Millions Now Living Will Never Die + Beacons Of Ancestorship
Price for all three: $43.84

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Editorial Reviews

Like their moniker suggests, Tortoise wield a thick exterior of styles while the essence of their sound smoothly beats on. They brazenly titled their latest endeavor TNT as if to signal a break from their former shell. But don't be deceived by explosive associations, for the acronym is meant to stand for "Tough-N-Tender." The album displays a tenacious level of technical proficiency and creative divergence from five Chicago guys doing what they love. Tortoise avoids the experimental minimalism displayed on earlier releases in favor of a more accessible and upbeat turn of the collective dial. Rooted in jazz structures, the dripping electronic treatments on most of the tracks further distinguish the sound. Because the thematic expressions jive with unassuming clarity, no vocal or lyrical elements are needed nor occur. While darker sides of psychedelic guitar emerge, the loungy low end sections evoke intrepid fantasies of isolation on the swankiest of desert islands. --Lucas Hilbert

1. TNT
2. Swing From The Gutters
3. Ten-Day Interval
4. I Set My Face To The Hillside
5. The Equator
6. A Simple Way To Go Faster Than Light That Does Not Work
7. The Suspension Bridge At Iguazu Falls
8. Four-Day Interval
9. In Sarah, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Women And Men
10. Almost Always Is Nearly Enough
11. Jetty
12. Everglade

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 10, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B000006A97
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,502 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Where their debut had been a mixed and largely unstructured collection of leftfield soundscapes, followed by Millions Now Living's surprising love-letter to Krautrock, the third Tortoise release, the all instrumental TNT, was almost a lounge album - but lounge for thinkers. You certainly couldn't call this a rock album, any more than you could call it techno, acoustic, ambient or jazz, but Tortoise take all of those styles and more, building fabulously fat beds of bottom end, overlaid with gorgeous multi-layered guitars, vibes and sampled found sounds, and emerge with one of the last decade's most endlessly satisfying releases.

With it's frantic, sampled drum pattern, `Jetty' could almost be trip-hop, (in fact trip-hop is the lasting after-image of the album), `Swung From The Gutters' has a vague jazz structure to it, at the same time throwing in backward tape effects, `I Set My Face To The Hillside' combines - almost unbelievably - both Spaghetti Western and oriental themes¼ and so it goes, constantly bewildering, constantly enchanting. And then there's the divine beauty of the title track... (sigh)

And it gets better with every listen.

Kim Porter

Forté Magazine, Australia
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Langdon Alger on March 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The members of Tortoise spent longer composing this album than they had for the previous two and it seems to have paid off. Earlier albums work very well as sonic experimentation, but the songs sometimes drifted into the realm of the monotonous. On this album, the songwriting has gotten tighter, the electronics integrate better, the jazz aspect has become more apparent. This really seems to have become a realization of the promise of the earlier albums.
There exists a real appreciation for musical ideas that isn't found on most other "rock" albums, and this album rocks a lot more than most "jazz" albums. Tortoise draws from many rather obscure musical traditions, but they don't just borrow their sound from their predecessors, they make the sound their own; this isn't borrowing, it's grand theft.
Actually, I'd give this album 4 1/2 stars, as one or two songs at the end tend to run on without justification (for me, at least). But, I'm giving it five stars 'cause this is definitely worthy of more than four.
Standout tracks: TNT, Swung From The Gutters, Equator, and Suspension Bridge at Iguazu Falls
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This band is known for their 'post rock' sound which is basically a mix many different genre's in a strange pot. They are most widely loved for their electronic sound tampering workouts. On this album that element of their sound is definitely present,but what's also present is a very atmospheric use of the vibraphone and a brass band. On their first album, they had a sound that was pretty slow and rootsy and on 'Millions Now Living will never die' they still had that, but also had a stronger electronic current running through it, a DJ feel. On 'TNT' there are some tracks that don't even feel electric, some that feel totally electric and some that are an interesting combination of both. What's interesting is the clear electic intent of the band. If you start on track three, you'll hear an atmospheric vibraphone track and on the very next song you'll hear a song that wouldn't seem out of place in a spaghetti western movie and then if you listen to the next song it songs like a futuristic electronic tune. To me Tortoise's music has always been about two things:
1) Creating a general mood & 2) Messing around with the sound. Like I said, this album is atmospheric and creates a mood on all of the ways that Tortoise can but, they are more concerned with slowly changing landscapes on this album. So if you're looking for more DJ work, then get 'Millions Now living...' if you're looking for slower and rootsier sounding stuff go for their self titled album and if you're looking for predominant avant garde, electronic excursion, then go for their latest 'Standards.' 'TNT' is for the eclectic and moody taste.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "drumb" on April 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Tortoise's third album, TNT, is a step forward from their previous outings in the most literal sense. One of the premiere innovators of Chicago's burgeoning post-rock community, Tortoise continues to push the technological boundaries of the genre by incorporating a host of obscure electronic instruments in addition to a traditional rock lineup. Elongating their Pink Floydian drones and expanding upon their vision of Sonic Youth turned krautrock, Tortoise mutates their improvisational, instrumental noodlings into fully fleshed out, captivating soundscapes akin to Can or Kraftwerk. This dominance of ambience over edginess on TNT is really the key to its success. By removing the band's choppy rhythms and more obvious rock leanings once and for all, TNT is a point of evolution for Tortoise which brings them beyond the realm of experimental rock in order to arrive at a plateau that is far more indebted to the worlds of film music and progressive rock. Because of this, TNT is perhaps more of a background album than past Tortoise ventures, a listen which relies far more on a consistent vibe than individual songs, but despite the pointed lack of hooks or seeming inaccessibility of the CD, TNT reveals itself to be an album which operates on many levels. An entrancing experience if listened to with rapt attention with eyes closed or if simply played over the car stereo while cruising down the highway, TNT is ambient music that vastly exceeds the constraints of background noise. In a sense, TNT is the evolution of rock into realms often thought to be out of the genre's grasp as much as it is a grounding of heady ambient ideals, that actually expose a surprising number of more straightforward influences. TNT is background music for the classic rock fan and rock music for the ambient connoisseur, because while it is often associated with the vague category of "post-rock," TNT is a far more diverse collage than its nametag implies.
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