LISTEN: Tortoise Announce New Album “The Catastrophist,” Share Single “Gesceap”

The experimental Chicago post-rock group returns on January 22 with their first album since 2009.

Tortoise, the long-running Chicago post-rock quintet who have worked with everyone from Bonnie “Prince” Billy to Dutch punk band The Ex, have announced The Catastrophist, their first new record since 2009’s Beacons of Ancestorship. The group has also released the album’s first single, the warm and synth-driven “Gesceap.”

The Catastrophist was conceived after the city of Chicago tapped the group to draft a handful of compositions honoring the city’s contribution to the worlds of jazz and improvised music in 2010. According to the band’s John McEntire, the next logical step was to figure out a way to turn them into a record. “It turned out that for them to work for Tortoise, they needed a bit more of a rethink in terms of structure,” he says in a statement. “They’re all pretty different in the sense that at first they were just heads and solos. Now, they’re orchestrated and complex.”

Still, if “Gesceap” is any indication, The Catastrophist retains a sense of improvisation. The song, which you can hear below, begins with a pair of modular synths criss-crossing one another, while the rest of the band gradually fills in the space behind them.

The Catastrophist track list

1. The CatastrophistTortoise-2015-The_Catastrophist-Cover
2. Ox Duke
3. Rock On
4. Gopher Island
5. Shake Hands With Danger
6. The Clearing Fills
7. Gesceap
8. Hot Coffee
9. Yonder Blue
10. Tesseract
11. At Odds With Logic

The Catastrophist is out January 22 on Thrill Jockey.


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