Tortoise

Sold Out: Tortoise

Mind Over Mirrors, Man Forever

Thu, March 17, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$20.00 - $25.00

This event is 21 and over

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Tortoise - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Tortoise
Simply put, Tortoise has spent nearly 25 years making music that defies description. While the Chicago-based instrumental quintet has nodded to dub, rock, jazz, electronica and minimalism throughout its revered and influential six-album discography, the resulting sounds have always been distinctly, even stubbornly, their own.

It’s a fact that remains true on “The Catastrophist,” Tortoise’s first studio album in nearly seven years. And it’s an album where moody, synth-swept jams like the opening title track cozy up next to hypnotic, bass-and-beat missives like “Shake Hands With Danger” and a downright strange cover of David Essex’s 1973 radio smash sung by U.S. Maple’s Todd Rittmann. Throughout, the songs transcend expectations as often as they delight the eardrums.

Tortoise, comprised of multi-instrumentalists Dan Bitney, John Herndon, Doug McCombs, John McEntire and Jeff Parker, has always thrived on sudden bursts of inspiration. And 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 McEntire, at whose Soma Studios the band recorded the new album. “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.”

“All of the songs went through a pretty intensive process of restructuring,” adds Parker. “We actually had quite a lot of material that we ended up giving up on. Oftentimes, we’ll shelve ideas and come back to them years later.”

The album’s single “Gesceap” embodies the transformation of the original suite commissions, as it morphs from two gently intersecting synth lines into a pounding, frenzied full-band finish. “To a certain extent it’s more of a reflection of how we actually sound when we play live,” says McEntire of Tortoise’s heavier side. “That hasn’t always been captured as well on past albums.”

Elsewhere, “Hot Coffee” resurrects an idea abandoned from the band’s 2004 album “It’s All Around You,” gliding through only-on-aTortoise-album sections of funktastic bass lines, straight-up dance beats and Parker’s fusion-flecked guitar bursts. “It’s progressive experimental music with pop sensibilities,” says Parker.

“Rock On,” which McEntire says he and McCombs simultaneously had the idea to cover after having remembered hearing it on the radio all the time as kids, isn’t the only vocal moment on “The Catastrophist.” Also included is the bittersweet, honest-to-goodness soul ballad “Yonder Blue,” sung by Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley. “We’d finished the track and decided it would be good to have vocals on it,” recalls McEntire. “Robert Wyatt was our first choice, but he had just retired and politely said no. We were discussing asking Georgia to do something, but not that track in particular. Then we realized it would totally work.”

Tortoise is planning an extensive world tour in support of “The Catastrophist.” Admits McEntire, “figuring out how to reproduce these songs live will be a bit of a challenge. But I also feel like it might be time to dip into the back catalog a bit. The pool we draw from has been really consistent for quite awhile.

As ever, Tortoise has conjured sounds on “The Catastrophist” that aren’t being purveyed anywhere else in music today. There’s a deeply intuitive interplay between the group members that comes only from two decades of experimentation, revision and improvisation. And at a time when our brains are constantly bombarded by myriad distractions, “The Catastrophist” reminds us that there’s something much greater out there. All we have to do is listen.
Mind Over Mirrors - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Mind Over Mirrors
Mind Over Mirrors, the evolving project of Jaime Fennelly, deploys modest acoustic constituent materials—an
Indian pedal harmonium and the human voice—to produce roiling, meditative music that both simulates the
swells and troughs of synthesized electronics and conjures the ceaseless rhythms of tidal surges. While we can
point out referential sonic compass points—G.I. Gurdjieff’s harmonium improvisations; certain particularly
harmonically viscous recordings of Sacred Harp singers; Edward Artemiev’s soundtracks to Tarkovsky film
—in its prayerful patience, its simultaneously formal and folk aspects, and its unabashed (if intermittently
anxious) beauty, it doesn’t sound much like anything else being made today. There is an easy, and unusual,
confluence of praise and play at work in Jaime’s music that catalyzes heady reverie. This sense of simultaneity,
of braided traditions, recalls Henry Flynt’s fusion of Appalachian traditions with avant-garde tactics, an
acknowledged influence.

Fennelly buttresses his simple harmonium foundation with an assortment of oscillators, tape delays, and
synthesizing processors that belong to the world of classic analog electronic composition. The choice of the
harmonium—a 19th-century pump and pedal-operated reed keyboard instrument that once featured prominently
in North Indian and European classical and religious canons as well as the vernacular music of Scandinavia, the
American South, and seagoing vessels—is significant for its historical, cultural, and folkloric associations as
much the self-imposed compositional or technological limitations. But make no mistake—despite the academic
and abstract valences, Mind Over Mirrors is body music. In live performance, Jaime’s feet are constantly
pumping the harmonium’s pedals, and the music’s essential corporeality (in the sense of Harry Partch’s
designation of “corporeal music”) has fostered a close collaborative relationship with acclaimed choreographer
and dancer Miguel Gutierrez since 2001.

Though Fennelly now resides in Chicago, Mind Over Mirrors emerged during a three-year period during 2007
2010 while he was living on a remote island in the Salish Sea of Washington State. Since then, he has released
recordings on Immune as well as Digitalis, Hands In the Dark, and Aguirre/Gift Tapes. In the early 2000’s,
Fennelly co-founded the iconoclastic group Peeesseye (with guitarist and fellow PoB artist Chris Forsyth and
drummer/visual artist Fritz Welch) in Brooklyn. While Mind Over Mirrors emerged along a decidedly solo axis,
in 2014 Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux began accompanying him on select recordings and performances,
supplementing his solitary reeling and gorgeous, woozy speechlessness with her incantatory singing and
contributing a new textual dimension with her occasional, elliptical lyrics.

Working together, Fennelly and Fohr created The Voice Calling (2015), another masterful and singular Mind
Over Mirrors album—as challenging and enveloping as ever, but achieving a more immediate emotional and
psychological register—that garnered new audiences and earned rapturous praise from the likes of Pitchfork,
SPIN, Impose, BOMB, and NPR, who described it as “an out-of-body experience.” The music of Mind Over
Music has always been humane, but now it is also resolutely human—seeking, speaking.

In 2017, Paradise of Bachelors will release a new album by Mind Over Mirrors.

Fennelly will be touring in his solo Mind Over Mirrors incarnation this March, supporting legendary fellow
Chicagoans Tortoise.
Man Forever - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
Man Forever
MAN FOREVER is an exploratory percussion project helmed by John Colpitts (aka Kid Millions), one of New York's most versatile and critically-lauded musical collaborators, and a founding member of Oneida. Since its inception in 2010, MAN FOREVER has hosted an impressive list of guest performers, but few have been as specially qualified to perform Colpitts' technically challenging meditative workouts. Colpitts continues to be one of the most in-demand drummers in New York. Throughout 2013 he toured as a member of Spiritualized, performed in duos with Greg Fox and Jim Sauter, recorded a record with Akron/Family, released an album with People of the North on Thrill Jockey, and performed with Rhys Chatham as a member of Oneida. So far in 2014 he has recorded an album with Rick Moody and has performed with William Basinski at the Ecstatic Music Festival in March.

In his only Florida performance, his percussion septet will feature:

Thad Anderson
Kaylee Bonatakis
Jeremy Katalenic
Ian McLeod
Matt Peters
Matt Roberts

Thad Anderson will premiere a new solo piece!

Matt and Kaylee will perform:
Lines-Mechanization by Thad Anderson
Thank You (_____) by Jason Treuting
Observations by Tristan Perich