Tortoise, Millions Now Living Will Never Die

Jeff Chang

By Jeff Chang

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Millions Now Living Will Never Die


Many regard this as Tortoise's classic, a cornerstone of "post-rock." After they transformed rock with their self-titled debut by stressing texture and rhythm over speed and melody, Tortoise were ready to deconstruct themselves. Moving from dub's analogue trickery to the digital cut-and-paste methods of hip-hop and electronic music, Millions sets fascinating fragments into jarring juxtapositions.

The building blocks of post-rock

The centerpiece of the album (titled after an obscure Jehovah's Witnesses book about the rapture) is the side-long, 20-minute "Djed," whose title seems a tribute to turntablism's shard-and-reassemble impulse. From King Tubby-esque crashes to a motorik groove, the track moves through four distinct sections. By the end, the entire song has imploded, and the original theme reappears, half-speed and seemingly underwater. The rest of the album surprises equally in its extremes: the delicately shuddering "Dear Grandma and Grandpa" pulls itself out of the ether, while the furious tempo and textural changes of "A Survey" point to the band's continuing experiments.