Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996)
It cant be right to mention the burgeoning post-rock scene of the early 90's without mentioning this landmark album. Millions Now Living showed that there needn't be any template for monumental beauty and tectonic presence in an instrumental track. Breaking literally ever boundary and showing influence from all over the musical spectrum, Tortoise essentially wrote a new chapter in experimental music. Fusing Free-Jazz, Psych, Drone, Funk, Instrumental Rock, Electronic and Ambient and German bands like Can and Amon Duul, plus world rhythms from all over, Tortoise can be a hard band to pin down. John McEntire handles the production duties as well as the drumming and any programming. The rest of the band, Douglas McCombs, Dan Bitney and John Herndon also contribute multi instrumental talents and Dave Pajo from the legendary Slint played guitar on this record before being replace by Chicago Underground guitarist Jeff Parker.
The 20 minute opener Djed is a landmark song and never gets boring, shifting through so many sonic textures and motifs. It could easily be a soundtrack to life, showing the shifting dynamics of the world, sometimes soft and bubbling and other times harsh and jarring. The rest of the album continues in this transcendental style without a weak track to speak of. Along the Banks of Rivers closes the album in truly cinematic Sergio Leone styled grandeur. One can almost feel the movie credits rolling and haveing felt like they just sat through an epic film. The songs are so illustrative and feel like they have real world counterparts that make them so essential.