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Track-by-track notes by John McEntire:
1. “Gamera” / EP, Duophonic 1995
A drastic, extended reinterpretation of “His Second Story Island” from the first LP.
These are amongst Bundy K. Brown’s last recordings with the group.
2. “Source Of Uncertainty” / Headz 2, Mo’ Wax 1996
John McEntire’s alternate mix of “Why We Fight.”
3. “Blackbird” / Standards Japanese bonus track, 2001
A reworking of material that was originally used for a piece commissioned by the Centre Pompidou.
4. “Sexual For Elizabeth” / Five Deez: Sexual For Elizabeth EP 2001
An unusual endeavor in that the original piece was entirely rewritten and rerecorded.
5. “To Day Retrieval” / EP, Thrill Jockey 1998
Autechre remix of “Ten Day Interval.” Part of the remix series of 12”s that followed TNT.
6. “Whitewater” / 7”, Soul Static Sound 1995
John McEntire performing on three instruments, live-to-2-track.
7. “Didjeridoo” / Red Hot + Indigo, Red Hot Organization 1999
From a compilation of diverse artists doing Duke Ellington pieces.
8. “Autumn Sweater” / Yo La Tengo: Autumn Sweater Remixes, Matador 1997
Remixed by Bundy K. Brown, John Herndon, Douglas McCombs, and David Pajo.
9. “Wait” / Offbeat: A Red Hot Sound Trip, Red Hot Organization, 1996
A Jeff Parker composition recorded with him before he was officially in the band. (this version remixed in ‘05)
10. “A Grape Dope” Millions Now Living Will Never Die Japanese (reissue) bonus track,
A collaboration with Designer (aka Casey Rice), this track was originally recorded for a Grand Royal/Mo’ Wax compilation that never materialized.
11. “Restless Waters” / The Lounge Ax Defense & Relocation Compact Disc, Touch N Go 1996
This track is based on the same family of material that begat “Dear Grandma And Grandpa” on Millions
12. “Vaus” / Split 7”, Duophonic 1996
Our contribution to a split 7” with Stereolab (“Speedy Car”) to promote our 1996 UK tour. A David Pajo
composition that was a live staple for several years.
13. “Blue Station” / Standards Japanese bonus track, 2001
The source material is Douglas McCombs on electric bass, which was heavily processed and shaped into a piece by granular synthesis pioneer Curtis Roads.
1. “Madison Area” / 7”, Thrill Jockey 1998.
Single released to promote the TNT world tour. The B side contained an alternate version of the same material entitled “Madison Ave.”
2. “TNT (Nobukazu Takemura Remix)”
TNT Japanese bonus track 1998
3. “Why We Fight” / 7”, Soul Static Sound 1995
Another version this track also appears as a section of “Cliff Dweller Society.”
4. “Elmerson, Lincoln, and Palmieri” - It’s All Around You Japanese bonus track, 2004
5. “Peering” / Gently Cupping The Chin Of The Ape EP, Thrill Jockey 2001
Tour single released in support of Standards. Originally written on guitar and transmuted into the present
6. “Goriri” / Macro Dub Infection, Virgin 1995
Bundy K. Brown and John McEntire executed a radical remix of “Gamera” on a moment’s notice for this
compilation curated by Kevin Martin.
7. “As You Said” / A Means To An End, Virgin 1995
Our contribution to a Joy Division tribute compilation, which was initially rejected by the label. We attempted to create a simulacra of this obscure track, and then combined it with various Joy Division melodies and bass lines.
DISC 3 - Rhythms, Resolutions, And Clusters
remix of “On Noble” by John McEntire.
2. “Your New Rod”
remix of “Flyrod” by Rick Bown.
remix of “Spiderwebbed” by Casey Rice.
4. “The Match Incident”
remix of “Ry Cooder” by Steve Albini.
Radio drama “actor”: John McEntire.
5. “Tin Cans (Puerto Rican Mix)”
remix of “Tin Cans and Twine” by Brad Wood.
6. “Not Quite East of the Ryan”
remix of “Spiderwebbed” (plus elements from other tracks) by Bundy K. Brown.
7. “Initial Gesture Protraction”
remix of “His Second Story Island” by Jim O’Rourke.
8. “Cornpone Brunch Watt Remix”
Remix of “Cornpone Brunch” by Mike Watt featuring extra basses by Watt and Kira Roeseler. The DAT master was sent just days before the record went into production in a large envelope that also contained the 2” master (and no packaging materials). Consequently, the DAT arrived in an unplayable state, where it remained for 12 years. Bundy K. Brown was ultimately able to repair the tape so that it could be available here for the first time.
8. “CTA” / Urban Renewal Program, Chocolate Industries, 2001
John Herndon’s reworking of “Blackbird.”
9. “Deltitnu” / It’s All Around You Japanese bonus track, 2004
A long, slowly developing improvisation which did not make the final cut for the LP proper due to time
10. “Adverse Camber” / EP, Thrill Jockey 1998
Another Autechre remix of “Ten Day Interval.”
11. “Cliff Dweller Society” EP, Duophonic 1995
A sequence of short, discrete pieces that are tightly edited and presented as one long composition, following the tradition of DAF’s “Produkt” and This Heat’s “Tago Mago.” Almost all improvised, they were recorded over the course of one evening, with the exception of the long centerpiece which was composed by Dan Fliegel and features an expanded lineup of 3 basses, 2 drummers, 4 horns and pre-Tortoise JP on guitar.
12. “Waihopai” / Gently Cupping The Chin Of The Ape EP, Thrill Jockey 2001
Encompasses Dan Bitney’s concept of disaster striking a talk show.
Disc 4 (DVD)
1. Salt the Skies: This is the first video made for Tortoise that
actually features the band. They were intrigued by director Adam
Levite’s use of a bleeding edge digital camera, which could capture
3000 frames per second, thus very nearly stopping time. 5 seconds
could be stretched to minutes and with remarkable clarity. This
video gave them and a few friends the excuse to spend the whole
day throwing things at each other... Doug McCombs was definitely
the best sport of the crew; he stood absolutely still while large
chairs were hurled in his direction.
2. Dear Grandma, Glass Museum and Four Day Interval:
Short clips made by filmmaker David Ellsworth. The found footage
melds with his own socially charged material to make a subtle
comment on the architecture of landscape and society. The band
gave him music and he returned the favor with these short films
whose textures complimented the music very well.
3. Seneca: A short film by Braden King. King is a filmmaker known for films such as “Dutch Harbor” wherein music plays a pivotal role. Not merely a tool for soliciting emotions, his pictures are paced and infused with music that he has composed for specific scenes. In the case of this video however, King turned the tables and assembled the footage around a song that he loved.
4. The Suspension Bridge and Iguazu Falls: Britons Paul and Ben Romans started doing live video for
Tortoise performances in 1997. They were using innovative custom software that allowed the visual images to actually be moved or triggered by the music, in a sense creating a live collaborative video performance. After a year of traveling with the band and spending some time in Chicago they made this video, which features a plethora of footage shot in the city.
5 Monica / Live @ Primavera Sound: This was a filmed at a large annual music festival in Barcelona in
2005, and filmmaker Aram Garriga traveled to the festival specifically to capture the Tortoise performance and to interview the band for a documentary he is making on instrumental music. This is a multi camera shoot, and this track was edited from his footage specifically for this DVD.
6 7 songs / Live in Toronto, 1996: Filmed by a young Chris Mills, who is now known for his advanced
and unique effects in videos for high-profile bands like Modest Mouse. He sent this to the band as a document for their archives, back when it was filmed. Happily, when contacted a decade later he was able to locate the masters and allowed us to use a large amount of his footage for this box set. Mills wanted to be sure we thanked Amy Hersenhoren, a promoter in Toronto who has supported the band with shows in that city since their inception.
7 Ten Day Interval, Othello / Deutches Jazz Festival, 1999: Fred Anderson, Chad Taylor, Noel
Kupersmith, and Rob Mazurek are each well known in free music and jazz circles for their instrumental
prowess and unique musical voices. Anderson, a founder of the AACM and proprietor of a well-loved venue
(“The Velvet Lounge”) remains a pillar of the Chicago jazz community. For this event, Tortoise were asked to choose some artists to collaborate with, and it took them no time to name these four. This was the only time they all have shared a stage.
8 Seneca / “Live” on Chic-a-Go-Go: Roctober magazine editor and all-around Chicago musical historian
Jake Austin has tirelessly run this cable access kids dance show for over a decade. In the tradition of “Soul Train,” Austin gets kids (and the young at heart) to dance for the camera to a variety of soul music, much of it from Chicago or Chicago labels. There is always a special guest, and Austin is incredibly eclectic in his choices.
Too bad John McEntire’s legendary dance move, “the crustacean,” did not make it to film!
9 Salt The Skies / Burn To Shine: An ongoing film project conceived and executed by Fugazi’s Brendan
Canty, who started the series by documenting bands in his hometown of Washington, DC. He films
performances of local groups in houses that are slated for demolition. Some of these structures have been
donated to fire departments for training, hence the “burn” in the title. This performance is taken from the second film in the series, which documented bands from