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For some music fans coming of age in 1994, the release of Tortoise’s debut album that year was something of a watershed moment. The Chicago instrumentalist collective’s heady blend of disjointed time signatures, atmospheric grooves and skeletal production sounded like nothing else. Being released on the then hip upstart indie label Thrill Jockey brought the music to an alternative rock audience that normally might not have been aware of such esoteric sounds.

While grey-bearded veteran music aficionados familiar with free jazz, dub and krautrock would have certainly found a lot to like, for pimply teens and 20-something Gen-Xers mired down in Mudhoney and Soundgarden, it was like an extraterrestrial transmission from some distant sonic solar system.

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