Thrill Jockey

Tortoise - The Catastrophist Tour Book (BOOK )

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The Catastrophist Tour Book intimately captures Tortoise during their 2016 west coast tour in support of The Catastrophist.  The 6” x 8.5” 80 page perfect bound book features photographs shot by photographer Andrew Paynter on black and white film. In addition to live performance images, the book showcases intimate backstage moments as well as photos from the road

Packaged with the book is a download coupon for access to unreleased live recordings from the tour + a CD of Tortoise’s 2016 album The Catastrophist with new artwork exclusive to this book release.  

Photographer Andrew Paynter on the project : This book came about from the long term relationship I’ve had with both this band and their label, Thrill Jockey. I first came to meet some of the members through mutual friend, Tommy Guerrero. Over the years I started to contribute occasionally as a creative collaborator. The band used several of my photographs for their A Lazarus Taxon packaging. Then, in 2010 they commissioned me to both direct a music video from Beacons of Ancestorship and to also art direct & contribute images from my ‘SF Lines’ work. The band also used other images for additional 12 inch records and then seven years went by. I did think often about the idea of going on the road with them, but was patiently awaiting a return to the stage, as they took a long break between records. So the idea to do something long form became a reality. Once it was set, I organized to jump on the road with the band to cover the entire West Coast of North America and with an addition of a trip to Arcosanti, Arizona. I brought three cameras, Leica M6, Hasselblad X-Pan and a Pentax 67. I only shot b&w film and I kept my ideas simple and did my best to not force situations, but to simply capture them from the perspective of an insider. My craving to shoot from the hip in a reportage fashion was finally fulfilled on this 10 day project. I’m proud to say, this is my very first book.

Tortoise’s Douglas McCombs on touring and the live experience: Twenty five years ago in the early days of Tortoise there was a perception that we were a recording project. This perception was probably exacerbated by the fact that we barely played any live shows in the first three years. The reality is that we were slow in getting our band up and running due to a variety of logistical circumstances, internal and external.

Performing live was always a priority and a prime motivator in forming the band in the first place. By the time opportunities arose for us to tour in a self sustaining manner we couldn’t have been happier. This is what we wanted to do, and thankfully the audience showed up.

Presenting our slightly unconventional material was occasionally a challenge. We had to lug around more equipment than your average band and often had to deal with temperamental synthesizers and samplers that would fail at inopportune moments. Still, it was exciting and very rewarding.

These days a band at our level makes most of our living by playing live shows. It’s no secret that record sales are substantially lower than they used to be. At the same time we are all maintaining families that we didn’t have twenty years ago which makes organizing a tour exponentially more difficult. Still, every time we step on a stage we are trying to invest ourselves in the performance as much as possible so that we can give the audience a unique experience. We want you to know that we consider it a privilege to play our music for you.