Tortoise, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Post Rock, Chicago

#tbt Tortoise / Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996)

By Randy Nieto
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Hailed as the groundbreaking album that began the post-rock movement, Millions Now Living Will Never Die cemented my love affair with music outside the standard indie realm. According to Wikipedia, the album’s title is a reference to a phrase used in the Jehovah’s Witness faith in the 1920s. I already had a keen interest in Miles Davis, and The Jesus Lizard’s Duane Denison’s avant-garde rock / jazz duo Denison Kimball Trio sparked a lil’sumpin in my brain that just had me primed for something new. After several years of being bombarded by the sick monster alternative music had morphed into, songs by bands like Puddle of Mudd and Stained repeating on a loop on radio and television left me feeling quite hopeless for the state of rock music. Enter Tortoise’s sophomore effort, which began the quietest explosion from Chicago’s Post-Rock scene. The seeds were apparent in bands like Slint, in which member Dave Pajo would later become a short lived contributor to Tortoise’s music. Recorded at Soma and Idful studios, the latter of which also recorded Chicago darling Liz Phair’s debut, MNLWND begins with it’s 20 min opus, Djed, which switches through several different musical gears and could ultimately embody an EP record within itself. The album is a sonic masterpiece, painting with soft and flowing strokes that evolve with the gentle precision of a summer breeze, this record cycles through different speeds and takes you down different valleys, providing something completely different from the world music palate it would have been pigeonholed into by the likes of commercial interests. It’s no secret my own personal biases seep into this column, and I have no problem saying that this record is one of my favorite of all time. Check out the beautifully crafted “Glass Museum” below.



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