Some bands never put a foot wrong. Whether it's a perfectly pitched new album, a superb accompanying book, or a zeitgeist-defining DVD they get everything right.
Tortoise might well be one of those bands. With this 3 CD+DVD box set, the Chicago band collect together 12 years of rarities, b-sides, remixes and live material - as well as numerous promo videos and some live footage - all superbly presented in this box set with artwork by retired Swiss policeman Arnold Odermatt.
Where oddities and rarities often make for a patchy album at best, Tortoise manage to hold steady over three CDs without ever feeling like we're being fed scraps and left-overs.
The first two discs compile 25 tracks from Japanese issues, compilations, promotional 7" singles and more. The opening 12 minute Gamera is superb - a drastic reworking His Second Story Island from the debut Tortoise album. Gamera is then re-worked itself later on - now called Goiriri. David Pajo's composition Vaus also stands out, as does promo 7" track Madison Area - all using sublime instrumentals to creat a moody, atmospheric landscape.
For disc three this compilation manages to avoid the pitfalls of some compilations and keep even the remixes on-message. Following the release of their debut album, the band asked some friends to provide remixes - which became long-out-of-print album Rhythms, Resolutions & Clusters - included here in it's entirety. Generally avoiding the "Blah Blah (Ho Hum Remix)" path, most of these are re-built as completely new tracks - often with new titles. Steve Albini, Jim O'Rourke and Mike Watt are amongst the chefs - with Watt and Kira Roeseler adding some Dos bass to extra bonus track Cornpone Brunch.
Like the 4 sided double album ("let's play disc 2, side 1") before it, even a 3CD set is condensed into one, long digital playlist these days. Although 33 songs, 3CDs or 2.9 hours is certainly a lot to cover there's barely a moment to rest and like Fugazi, Wilco, Radiohead no record collection is complete without some Tortoise - and this might well be the place to start.