A Digest Compendium of Tortoise's World includes selections from the band's self-titled Thrill Jockey debut, some early singles and a host of remixes. Recruited for mixing duties are Jim O'Rourke, Steve Albini, Casey Rice, the band themselves and a host of others. The result is a comprehensive account of Tortoise's initial efforts, and some rather unique reinterpretations. There is a sprawling remix of "Ry Cooder," dubbed "Ry Cooder (The Beer Incident)." It is the audible account of a man returning home, cracking open a beer and tuning in to "Ry Cooder" on the radio. Another great track is Casey Rice's interpretation of "Spiderwebbed," called "Cobnebbed." It is a two-minute exploration into the far reaches of space, and the most interesting remix on the album. Bundy K. Brown tweaks "Spiderwebbed" as well, but the result is astonishingly different than Rice's. Brown's mix, titled "Not Quite East of the Ryan," begins with a 50-second ambient trance similar to Rice's mix, but abruptly shifts directions with the inclusion of a hip-hop backbeat and a Tribe Called Quest sample. Along with these remixes are some of Tortoise's earliest material; their first single "Reservoir" is included, as is "Whitewater." This album lives up to its title, and provides a comprehensive collection of Tortoise's early work. Although at times the album seems a bit disjointed in switching so quickly from song to remix to song, it is a great introduction to the band and contains some hidden treasures for fanatics.
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AllMusic Review by Marc Gilman