Pop: Coming out of their shell

A gig by instrumentalist Chicago troupe Tortoise is usually a splendid event for several reasons, but there's one in particular that they are not always given credit for. Over the last few years they have graduated from the backrooms of Camden pubs to attracting what amounts to the fathering of the tribes, the ranks of fans swollen by everyone from techno-diehards, jazz evangelists and junglists as well as your average left-field electronic-rock obsessive.

And the reason, inevitably enough, is that Tortoise utilise all these elements with a coherent passion that many another band has tried to follow, mostly with little of the same magic. Their third album, TNT, at 65 minutes long, bears witness to their vast confidence. It's a veritable shifting tide of avant-garde melodies, light drum 'n' bass and picturesque electronica fused with jazz. As for those of us listening, a stamina for an ever-changing sonic landscape and an appreciation of technical proficiency would be a bonus, but this is far from a cold, prog-rock venture.

As it combines so many dimensions, TNT is a masterclass effort to be sure, but Tortoise's sense of adventure makes it fresh and the process is well conceived throughout - sometimes a bit of chin-stroking concentration on a band's part is a good thing.

Of course, some things have not gone Tortoise's way: some reviews of TNT from previously ardent journo fans have been negative, and their last London outing was sadly the final show for guitarist David Pajo, who has departed to work on his own band Arel M and Royal Trux. Part of his reason for leaving was a need for a freer, less perfectionist environment. And the crux is, Tortoise are as much a challenge to each other as to us listening. It will be curious to see whether they attempt the heavyweight continuous flow of music which joins three tracks on TNT for a 15-minute-plus opus. During this sonic wanderlust, the band travels through many a musical subculture, laying on a style that's a little cinematic, but displaying the technique of a fevered DJ in a club. After this brain food, you feel like awarding yourself a PhD.

Support comes from isotope 217, who also feature members of Tortoise, so it's a pretty heavy night ahead. A gig for those with bigger appetites for adventure than most.

Union Chapel,Upper Street, N1 (0171-226 1686) 3 Apr

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links