Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flashback: my student review of Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die

In my wasted youth at the University of Hull, I penned the odd review for Hullfire, the student newspaper. For the sake of both completeness and comedy value, I'm adding them to this blog and then listening to the original if I can track it down to see if I agree with 20 year-old me.

First, here's my review of the acknowledged classic LP by Tortoise - it may have been a little advanced for my tender ears...
Hailing from Chicago, this Tortoise is an experimental beast; for proof you need no further than Djed, the first track from this, their new album, with its minimalist guitars, almost ambient keyboard passages and more importantly its twenty-one minute duration, it's tempting to label it 'prog rock for the nineties'. Happily Tortoise are however 100% free of hour-long guitar solos and lyrics about ice-pixies dancing around the Crimson King.
For which read: young Magpiemoth's only frame of reference for Tortoise was Pink Floyd and his dad's copy of Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds. Slint, not so much,
Unfortunately of the other five instrumentals, only the wonderfully warped easy listening of On The Banks Of Rivers actually merits repeated playing. The rest are mercifully short examples of half-ideas translated into half-songs, and almost entirely tune-free. That said, Millions... is still a challenging, fascinating and uncompromising album. (6/10)
This was the only LP I ever got from reviewing records for Hullfire which I hung onto - as I listened to it I grew to love the half-songs too. At least, my younger self had the sense to see that the synth/gamelan/guitar breakdown mid-way through Djed is mind-blowing.

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