A Lazarus Taxon by Tortoise


After 12 years of expanding the definition of rock music, Tortoise will release a highly anticipated box set. Lazarus Taxon is the paleontological term for a species that disappears, then reappears in the fossil record; its namesake is this collection including rare singles from foreign releases and tour EPs, compilation tracks, previously unreleased material and the out-of-print 1995 album Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters. The set contains three CDs and one DVD, which features most of Tortoise’s music videos and extensive and rare live performance footage.

Shortly following Tortoise’s 1994 self-titled debut, the band asked some friends to remix several tracks, resulting in RR&C, a 30-minute continuous disc. The packaging was made and assembled by hand and the limited pressing sold out in the first year of release. At the time, remixes were the tool of the DJ and found most commonly in the dance-music world. RR&C and the 12″ series that followed—some of which you will find in the set—set off a wave of remixes and remix albums in the rock community. A remix intended for this collection by Mike Watt makes its debut in A Lazarus Taxon.

The photography that appears in the album artwork is the work of Arnold Odermatt, a retired Swiss police officer-turned artist. Assigned to document auto accidents and police training, Odermatt’s photos were far more than documents. He often photographed the accident scenes again after all the officers had left and the clutter had been cleared. His photos were uncovered by the Springer and Winkler Gallery, which had Odermatt reprint them in limited editions. The photographs were an instant sensation and garnered Odermatt wide acclaim. Several books have since been published of his work. He has had solo shows at The Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and The Art Institute of Chicago. The Springer and Winkler Gallery and Odermatt graciously allowed Tortoise to use photos that they had selected for this package.

2 thoughts on “A Lazarus Taxon by Tortoise”

  1. And very good it is too. Not all the great early remixes are on it (everything Bundy K Brown touched should be on it, in my view) but a great comp anyway, with nicely full DVD of beguiling promos and excellent live performances.

  2. Yes indeed. Unfortunately I have a lot of the stuff that’s on it, having bought RR&C when it came out as well as a couple of Japanese CDs with extra tracks. But it’s good to have all this stuff in one place. Odd that they didn’t follow Gamera with Cliff Dweller Society as they’re both on the same single and CDS begins where Gamera fades out.

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