About ten years ago, I discovered the band Tortoise by accident while looking for new records (or rather CDs) in the (I dare say) legendary Amsterdam music store Boudisque. For the Dutch speaking, the recordstore is prominently and frequently on display on the YouTube channel ‘OndergrondsTV’ (Underground TV), a channel dedicated to “sub-culture in Amsterdam”. Anyway, during that particular visit on that particular day of 1996, ‘Djed’ blared over the soundsystem and since then, it became part of my (then) extensive CD collection.
Before I wade into personal anecdotes: I uploaded a fragment of ‘Djed’ (in you know how many seconds+) for your listening pleasure. The original piece is exactly 20 minutes long and can be described as ‘experimental music': the band’s website and its Wikipedia entry list their music as ‘Post-Rock Instrumental’, which is about correct too. The band itself has gone through several line-ups, but over time, their music has stayed pretty consistent. Let me say it this way: you can either sit through the band’s music or it cringes your toes. I see that someone uploaded a concert of them on Google Video, so, here’s your chance to sit through it, that is, for 30 minutes long. It will probably come to no surprise that their music was quite popular with mixers and DJs, as you can witness in this Djed video/remix (warning: noise ahead).
Yeah, so, one of the reasons to attend Roskilde Fest’96 was this band. To anyone I ran into during the pre-concert days, I proudly mentioned I was going to see this band, which generally was answered with ‘Who are they?’ or ‘What?’. In one case, a British punker thought I had called her a ‘turt-ass’. After explaining I was talking about the turtle-like animal, she quickly corrected my pronunciation (I obviously pronounced Tortoise the French way). The concert itself was held late at night (probably around 9 or 10 PM, on the second day of the Fest) and as expected, there was hardly anyone attending: which was good, because at least it allowed everybody, fans and accidental bystanders, to sit down on the grass and listen to music.
And maybe, that’s why I remember the band these days: after all, there was nothing remarkable about the band’s performance itself, except for that they were playing good music, and most importantly, I guess, it was music you had to sit through.