Remixes and Steve Reich sample: A Review of “Tortoise Remixed”

tortoise remixed

A Review of “Tortoise Remixed”

I first bought Tortoise Remixed shortly after it came out in 2001. Somewhere along the way, I lost it and recently re-purchased it. It isn’t available as an MP3 to my knowledge. What I missed about it was the first track, “Djed (Bruise Blood Mix),” Remixed by UNKLE. The song, “Djed,” originally appeared on the 1996 album “Millions Now Living Will Never Die, and is over 20 minutes of meandering beats, rhythms and electronic sounds. It is a really nice song with a lot of space in it, maybe a little jazz-like, a more electronic Miles Davis “In A Silent Way.” “Djed (Bruise Blood Mix)” has the original song buried in it, but the drums are much more punchy and snappy beats, a little like a funkier DJ Shadow’s drums on “The Number Song.” The vibraphone is still there, but there are vocals mixed in from Steve Reich’s “Come Out “from 1966. Reich had performed this at a benefit for the “Harlem Six” when he had recorded the voices of the young black men who had been arrested. Wikipedia has a short entry on this, that it is the voice of Daniel Hamm saying, “I had to, like, open the bruise up, and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them,” “(alluding to how Hamm had punctured a bruise on his own body to convince police that he had been beaten)” “Come Out (Reich),” Wikipedia accessed 3/1/14.

Overall, I find the album a little patchy. Some of the remixes are kind of busy and glitchy. “Reference Resistance Gate,” is a solid track, a remix of “Along the Banks of the River,” by Jim O’Rourke (Chicago musician, producer, collaborator). “Find the One,” remix of “The Taut and the Tame,” by Bundy K. Brown, is also quite nice and spacious. “Djed (Bruise Blood Mix),” alone, is worth getting the album, but these last two mentioned songs are good, too. O’Rourke and Brown also remix The Sea and Cake, released as “Two Gentlemen EP,” from 1997, another Thrill Jockey band like Tortoise, that is worth checking out, too, and stands together as an album more.

 

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