Tortoise is a post-rock band from Chicago known for their almost entirely instrumental music that defies easy categorization. With roots in the city's fertile music scene, the group incorporates styles closer to Krautrock, dub, minimalism, electronica, and various jazz styles into their sound. Some consider Tortoise as one of the prime forces behind the development and popularity of the post-rock movement. Their music has also been described as heavily indebted to progressive rock.
Formed in the late 1980s by Doug McCombs and John Herndon, Tortoise initially envisioned themselves as a freelance rhythm section similar to reggae legends Sly and Robbie. However, their interest in grooving rhythms and recording studio trickery led them to collaborate with drummer John McEntire and bassist Bundy K. Brown (both formerly of Bastro) before adding Dan Bitney to complete the lineup. While all members contribute to songwriting, McEntire is often seen as the group's guiding force due to his role as recording engineer and mixer.
Tortoise has released records on Thrill Jockey label and is associated with other groups such as The Sea and Cake, Brokeback, Slint, Isotope 217, and the Chicago Underground Duo.