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Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Tortoise Orchestra

Liquid Room

Chicago avant-indie rock collective Tortoise hit Japan in a tour that will touch down at Liquid Room for a six-hour marathon concert also featuring some of the leading lights of Japan's experimental scene.

Formed in Chicago in 1990 by bassist Doug McCombs and percussionist/keyboardist John Herndon, Tortoise was initially intended as a gun-for-hire rhythm section but rapidly blossomed into something more with the addition of producer/drummer/vibes-player John McEntire. Soon filled out with the addition of guitarist Bundy K. Brown and percussionist Dan Bitney, the group began to show its experimental colors with their eponymous release from Thrill Jockey in 1993.

Shunning the dominant alt-rock and indie rock sounds of the day, Tortoise instead opted for an eclectic sound that incorporated anything from Krautrock to classic, film music to electronica. An amorphous grouping that at times saw the band perform with two vibes players on stage, Tortoise were also lauded for their high level of musicianship and group interaction.

Tortoise began to make their mark on the international stage with the 1996 album Millions Now Living Will Never Die, including the monster 21-minute track, "Djed." Linking up with leading European electronica experimentalists such as Luke Vibert and U.N.K.L.E., they released their third album, TNT, in 1998, followed by Standards earlier this year.

The upcoming Tortoise Orchestra event will climax in a monster set that will join Tortoise with the offshoot Chicago Underground Trio in an eight-piece, three-drum set performance. John McEntire will also offer a solo set on Apple Powerbook, while Chicago Underground Trio member Rob Mazrek's Orton Socket unit is also slated to perform.

From Japan, founder of Kyotoís highly-regarded experimental indie label Childisc, Nobukazu Takemura will be on hand. Like Tortoise, Takemura and other Childisc artists are distributed by Thrill Jockey in the US. Also making appearances will be linchpin of the Tokyo experimental scene, abstract/hip hop DJ Kensei, and the Silicom group.

Meanwhile, another leading figure of the Chicago underground and occasional Tortoise remixer, Jim O'Rourke, will be in Japan for a tour that joins him with Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore and Mats Gustafsson. Entitled Diskaholics Anonymous, the tour will hit gritty live house 20,000 Volts in Koenji on Oct 27, and the more posh club Cay in Aoyama on Oct 28. Tortoise Orchestra play Liquid Room Nov 10.See listings for details.


CONCERT PREVIEW:
Park Tower blues Festival
LISTINGS:
Friday November 30
Saturday December 1
Sunday December 2
Monday December 3
Tuesday December 4
Wednesday December 5
Thursday December 6
Friday December 7  
COMING UP:
Pop-Rock
Jazz-Soul-World
Classical
Dance-Hip Hop
CD REVIEWS:
BLAST HEAD/Head Music
KELIS/Wanderland
JEWEL/This Way
SLOAN/Pretty Together
GERDABLANK/Mono no aware
JAPAN BEAT:
Cornelius
ARCHIVES:
Concert Previews
CD Reviews
Japan Beat
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