The Top 20 Steve Albini-Recorded Albums - Stereogum
The two Bastro albums, and , were released, along with a handful of EPs and singles, on Homestead (which had also put out Squirrel Bait’s records), and are fine examples of tinderbox post-hardcore. Contemporary Bastro interviews do give a sense of what was to come; it was clear that this group was above the fray of lunk-headed Big Black copyists. ‘The lyrics must go hand in hand with the composition,’ Grubbs told in 1990. ‘And, since the music is climax after climax, so the lyrics similarly are a series of peaks, a series of very strong images.’
The Top 20 Steve Albini-Recorded Albums
The funkiness of Tortoise was evident on their debut album, , released in 1994. It was indebted to all sorts of things—Can, , , Steve Reich, hip-hop, jazz, dub, the soundtrack—but it didn’t really sound like any of them. It was indeed outside the realm of rock, and perhaps this is why the still-young designation ‘post-rock’ was so readily applied to it. For it was Tortoise who first inspired journalists to broaden post-rock’s designation away from the British school and steam it across the Atlantic.
It all became even more meta with a series of three twelve-inch singles released in 1996, offering subtle-to-radical re-workings of Tortoise tracks (including two versions of ‘Djed’), often in collaboration with more electronica-identified artists whom Tortoise strongly admired: Oval, UNKLE, and Luke Vibert. This was different in itself from getting Steve Albini and Brad Wood to remix tracks. Furthermore, the twelve-inches were a strong visual proclamation. Prior to 1996, most of the Tortoise singles had been seven-inches, and the first two, especially, fit in with the US underground aesthetic of the time: coloured vinyl, wraparound poly-bagged sleeves, retro-tinged artwork.