Tortoise release glorious new single, announce first album since 2009

Not many people may realise this considering I run a predominantly hip hop website, but my affair with postrock has, and will continue to be epic, emotional and deeply fulfilling.

It’s been a long while since I’ve listened to Chicago-based Tortoise. It’s probably been a while since many of us have, really, as they haven’t released any new music since Beacons of Ancestorship came out back in 2009. But now, that’s all about the change, come January 22. The Catastrophist will be their seventh album since their self-titled debut in 1994. In 2013 the band announced that they were heading back into the studio, and have now released the first new track in more than three years.

The Catastrophist will feature guest vocalist Georgia Hubley from Yo La Tengo, and Todd Rittmann from Dead Rider. According to a press release, the eleven-track album has its origins in a five-year-old project, for which they were asked to write music within the boundaries of Chicago’s jazz scene:

“For The Catastrophist, the spark came in 2010 when the group was commissioned by the City of Chicago to compose a suite of music rooted in its ties to the area’s noted jazz and improvised music communities. Tortoise then performed those five loose themes at a handful of concerts, and ‘when we finally got around to talking about a new record, the obvious solution to begin with was to take those pieces and see what else we could do with them,’ says [the band’s John] McEntire. ‘It turned out that for them to work for Tortoise, they needed a bit more of a rethink in terms of structure. They’re all pretty different in the sense that at first they were just heads and solos. Now, they’re orchestrated and complex.’” (Via CoS)

Tortoise have unleashed Gesceap along with the announce. A structured, powerfully complex track led by synths and keys, it shows a strong surge forward for the experimental/jazz/rock/ambient/electronic etc group. Perhaps not the easiest listen, nearing the eight-minute mark, but it’s gorgeous, and January 22 couldn’t come soon enough.

The Catastrophist:

01 The Catastrophist
02 Ox Duke
03 Rock On
04 Gopher Island
05 Shake Hands With Danger
06 The Clearing Fills
07 Gesceap
08 Hot Coffee
09 Yonder Blue
10 Tesseract
11 At Odds With Logic